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Smashed vs. Grilled Burgers

Two ways to make an excellent burger.

Who doesn’t love a delicious, juicy burger? Luckily, there’s more than one way to make a great burger and here I’ll take you through two of my favorite ways – a basic burger on the grill and a smashed burger, which is something I’ve been making a lot lately.

While a basic grilled burger is great, the benefit of a smashed burger is that since you’re literally smashing the burger down, you end up with a greater surface area and more opportunity for a Maillard reaction, which means more flavor. It also doesn’t hurt that when you go the smashed burger route, you’ll need two patties for your burger.

For the grilled burger, about six ounces is ideal for the patties, and for the smashed burger, I prefer closer to five ounces.

For the smashed patties, you can use wax paper, aluminum foil, or plastic bags to smash the patties out thin and even and the grilled burger patties you can just shape by hand.

Particularly for the smashed burgers, you’ll want to toast your buns before beginning to cook your burgers. Go ahead and top with your condiments and have them standing by so you can get the burger straight from the flat top onto the bun. I like to have the items on the bottom, and the thin sliced onion on top, so when I put the hot meat on top it steams and cooks out some of the raw flavor. It takes the edge off the raw onion but doesn’t fully cook them.

For the grilled burger, it’s best if it rests for a few minutes before eating. You have time here to take them indoors and prepare your bun the way you’d like, but it’s still easy to have the buns on standby and ready to top. Smashed or grilled – either way you do it, you’ll end up with a delicious burger!

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  • 80/20 ground beef - 5oz/smashed burger, 6oz/traditional
  • hamburger buns
  • mayonnaise
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • tomato, sliced very thin
  • onion, sliced very thin
  • pickles
  • lettuce, shredded
  • American cheese, sliced
  • cheddar cheese, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the grilled burgers:
  1. Form the patties, 6 oz each. Mold them into a shape that’s a bit larger than the bun you’re using, and that has a dimple in the center.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill on med-high/high heat until desired internal temp is met. A couple minutes before the burger is done, top with cheddar cheese to let melt.
For the smashed burgers:
  1. Separate 5 oz of ground beef into two 2.5 oz balls.
  2. Using wax paper burger sheets, aluminum foil, or plastic bags, pre-smash your burgers into a very thin patty. If using a large sheet of foil or plastic, cut the perimeter into smaller sheets to make transferring them easier.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pre-heat a flat top to high, ideally 500-600°F in temp.
  5. Carefully place patties on the flat top and remove the liners.
  6. After 45 seconds to a minute, when the bottom side is good and golden brown, flip. You might need to scrape under the patties to un-stick them before flipping.
  7. Flip the patties and top one side with the American cheese. Top the patty with cheese with the other, and remove.
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