I had heard of smashed burgers in the past. I’ve eaten at a fast-food chain called “Smashburger” but didn’t think much of it. When I was a teenager, I worked the grill at Wendy’s and part of the process was to smash the burgers on the flat-top using a trowel-like spatula. And yes, I am aware that the venerable Steak ‘n Shake has been smashing Steakburgers on the flat-top since 1934.
But it wasn’t until The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board member BFletcher started asking about sturdy spatulas for making smashed burgers that I started to investigate these flattened meat marvels. What caught my attention was an article by J. Kenji López-Alt on Serious Eats about making ultra-smashed cheeseburgers. Armed with this info, I successfully made delicious smashed burgers using my Weber gas grill. Let me show you how.
Buy The Ground Beef
Purchase ground beef that’s in the range of 80% lean/20% fat to 75% lean/25% fat. You’ll need the extra fat content for a juicy smashed burger.
Each burger consists of two patties weighing 2 ounces each, so buy 1/4 pound of ground beef for each burger you want to make.
You’ll Need American Cheese Slices, Too
Yes, a smashed burger needs a slice of ooey, gooey American cheese. Nothing fancy. Cook’s Country recommends Kraft Deli Deluxe American Cheese slices and that’s what I used here.
Decide On Your Smashing Implement
You’ll need a tool to smash the burgers ultra-thin. I used a flexible stainless steel spatula (with no holes or slots) plus a potato masher to press down for extra smashing force. Most ordinary grill spatulas aren’t rigid enough to smash burgers by themselves, but using a potato masher or another spatula or even a big can of soup as a “helper” to press down on the spatula will work just fine. Of course, if you have a rigid restaurant-grade spatula, you’re all set.
Form Ground Beef Into 2 Ounce Balls
Use a kitchen scale to weigh-out 2-ounce portions of ground beef. Squeeze and roll the meat into neat, round balls.
One pound of 80% lean/20% fat ground beef yielding the eight 2-ounce balls shown here, enough for four burgers.
Prepare Buns & Condiments
Smashed burgers cook quickly, literally in just 1 minute. So have buns toasted, tomatoes sliced, lettuce leafed, and other condiments laid out and ready to go. But remember, the smashed burger is the star of the show, so keep things simple in the condiment department.
Preheat The Grill & Cast Iron Griddle Or Skillet
If you’ve got a cast iron griddle, use it. Otherwise, a 12″ cast iron skillet will do. In a pinch, you can use a 12″ stainless steel skillet. Do not use a non-stick skillet. The high cooking temps used here will destroy the non-stick coating, and besides, the non-stick surface prevents the formation of the dark crust we’re looking for in a smashed burger.
Place the griddle or skillet on the gas grill and turn all burners to HIGH. Do not oil the griddle or skillet as we want the meat to stick to the surface to promote crustification.
Preheat until ripping hot. For cast iron, you really can’t get the surface too hot. For a stainless steel skillet, you’re looking for 600-700°F, according to López-Alt; use your judgment so as not to warp the skillet.
I let the Lodge griddle shown here preheat for 15 minutes in my Weber Summit 450 with all burners on HIGH.
Time To Smash Some Burgers—Don’t Blink, They Cook Quickly
In the following steps, exercise caution when working around the grill. All surfaces will be very hot and you’ll be working close to the grill surface with the lid open. Consider wearing grill gloves to protect your hands.
With the cast iron screaming hot and leaving all burners on HIGH, place two ground beef balls onto the surface, far enough apart to allow room for smashing.
Immediately use the spatula + potato masher or other “helper” to smash the balls into very thin patties—so thin that you get uneven edges and small holes in the surface in a few spots. You want to achieve maximum surface area for maximum crust formation.
Immediately season the smashed patties lightly with salt and ground black pepper.
Cook the patties for just 1 minute from the time you placed them on the griddle or in the skillet. Use the spatula to scrape the burgers from the surface—remember, we wanted them to stick for maximum crustification—and flip them over.
Immediately place a slice of American cheese on one patty and place the other patty on top of the cheese.
Enjoy Your Smashed Burgers!
Move the smashed cheeseburger to a prepared bun with condiments and enjoy!
You didn’t blink, did you? See, I told you this process goes quickly!
These burgers are as fun to make as they are tasty to eat. Just make sure you’re well organized, have a good smashing tool, and a blazing hot griddle or skillet and you’ll be enjoying smashed burgers from your Weber gas grill in no time flat!