Ultra-Smashed Cheeseburgers

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Ultra-Smashed Cheeseburgers

Ultra-smashed burgers pile on crisp, browned flavors while staying juicy. [Photographs and video: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Classic smashed burgers are all about maximizing that deep, brown crust. But I found myself wondering: What if I were to take this to the extreme? Was there a way I could pack even more flavor into a burger? And thus, the ultra-smashed burger was born. Same burger size, but twice the amount of crisp, browned crust.


Why It Works

  • Smashing ground beef firmly into an ungreased pan increases contact points, delivering maximum crust and maximum flavor.
  • We use a stiff spatula or a bench scraper to scrape the burger up from the pan, making sure to get every last bit of tasty brown crust.
  • By cooking two 2-ounce patties instead of one 4-ounce patty, we get double the amount of crust, while a slice of cheese in between the patties keeps things moist.
  • Yield:Makes 1 burger
  • Active time: 5 minutes
  • Total time:5 minutes
  • Rated:

Ingredients

  • 1 soft hamburger roll, buttered and toasted
  • Condiments and toppings as desired, such as mayonnaise, mustard, shredded lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and pickles
  • 4 ounces (110g) freshly ground beef chuck, divided into two 2-ounce (55g) balls
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice good melting cheese, such as American or homemade melting cheese

Directions

  1. 1.

    Prepare burger bun by laying toppings on bottom half of bun. Have it nearby and ready for when your burger is cooked.

  2. 2.

    Preheat a large stainless steel sauté pan or skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Place balls of beef in pan and smash down with a stiff metal spatula, using a second spatula to add pressure. Smashed patties should be slightly wider than burger bun.

  3. 3.

    Season generously with salt and pepper and allow to cook until patties are well browned and tops are beginning to turn pale pink/gray in spots, about 45 seconds. Using a bench scraper or the back side of a stiff metal spatula, carefully scrape patties from pan, making sure to get all of the browned bits.

  4. 4.

    Flip patties and immediately place a slice of cheese over 1 patty, then stack the second directly on top. Immediately remove from pan and transfer to waiting burger bun. Serve.