Searing Some Simple Smash Burgers

My birthday is in October, and this year, I asked for a Blackstone Griddle.

Don’t let the notion that I’m some trained culinary expert take residence in your mind. I’m neither trained nor an expert. I’m simply someone who likes food. I can’t cook many things, but what I can cook, I imagine I cook well.

Photo © Robert Chapman

Other than food tasting wonderful, I love the aesthetics a quality dish provides. The color is generally there. I like to take pictures of my food, and much to the chagrin of my wife, I tend to be that guy in a restaurant. I know it gets on people’s nerves, but I’ve learned to get over that quickly.

I saw a post from a guy in Madison who made smash burgers, and I thought, “Hmmm. I could do that.” However, I only had a charcoal grill at the time, and smashing a ball of 80/20 on a grill just didn’t seem feasible.

Enter the Blackstone.

I heard once that smash burgers got their name because kitchens would take leftover pieces of top quality beef and “smash” the bits together in a meat grinder. I guess the action of flattening out the ball of meat gives way to the moniker as well. Not sure either is true, but a rose by any other name…

I stole his loose recipe a couple of months ago and tweaked it a little for my own taste. Again, it’s simple and it’s good.

Ingredients & Instructions

I make each burger around 5 ounces. Allows for them to get flatter and still stay the same general size as a typical 6oz or 8oz burger. But instead of getting a thick, traditional hamburger, these are literally smashed fairly thin to allow for whatever toppings and cheeses you want.

The patty and sauce ingredients and instructions are below. You’ll also need a red onion and cheese of your choice. We’ve gone with sharp cheddar and Colby jack.

The Patty

  • 5 oz. 80/20 ground beef made into a ball (Whatever quality beef you want to use is up to you.)
  • Salt & pepper the top of the beef ball (This side will go grill side down first.)

The Sauce

These burgers don’t call for tomatoes and lettuce and ketchup and such on top. These have a sauce that goes on the bun. The sauce is as follows:

  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbl Sp dijon mustard (I tend to do a “heaping” table spoon)
  • Chopped pickles (I get 2-3 “pickle chips” and chop them up really fine. I also get 2-3 Wickles and chop them up fine as well.)
  • 1/2 Tbl Sp of dill pickle juice
  • 1/2 Tbl Sp of Wickle juice.
  • 1/2 Tbl Sp of Worcestershire sauce (extra points for pronouncing it correctly)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Light it up

On the Blackstone, I have 2 zones going: On the right are the patties and on the left is the onion. Both zones are medium-high to high heat.

The guy I got this recipe from chops his red onions up, sautés them where his patties will go and moves on from there. We’ve altered this in order to keep the onions from burning.

Photo © Robert Chapman

On the left side of the grill, I put my slices of onion on oil and let them cook away. I salt and pepper them and place a lid over them to trap the heat.

On the right, I oil up each spot for the burgers before I smash them. Get the oil hot (doesn’t take long) then put a beef ball on the oil spot. If you salted and peppered the beef ball prior to this, the top of the beef ball should go grill side down first. The wife gave me a smash burger smasher thing (technical terms only, please). This allowed for the patty to be consistent, allowing for it to be cooked better.

Salt and pepper the new top side and leave it on the grill for about 3-5 minutes. You’ll know it’s time to flip when you start to see the juices collecting on top.

Check on your onions during this time, flipping them so they don’t burn.

Once you flip the patties, let them cook for a minute and ready your cheese. I put a slice and a half on the burger—the full slice just goes on top as usual and the half slice gets halved again and I stack them in the middle so the cheese that melts off on the sides gets replenishes. I have no clue if that actually works like I’m describing it, but whatever.

After I flip the patties, I move the onions to the center of the flat top and grab the buns and toast them in the spot where the onions were. I turn off the left burner and let the heat take care of the bread.

I put the same cover I had over the onions over the patties for maybe a minute. That will melt the cheese quickly and cook the patty through.

Photo © Robert Chapman

Remove the cover and put your onions on top of the cheese.

Check your buns. If they are to your liking, get the bottom buns and put them on a plate. With a spoon, put a dollop of your sauce you made on the bottom. Then, grab the top buns off the grill and get ready to get your patties.

With a spatula, put each patty on the it’s corresponding bottom bun.

With your spoon, put a larger dollop of sauce on top of the patty. Then, add the top bun.

It’s that simple. Pair it with your favorite side and enjoy.

And remember, if my talentless self can do it, it’s foolproof.

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