This recipe appears in:The Food Lab: Maximize Flavor by Ultra-Smashing Your Burger
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? Is 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 this recipe works:
- Smashing ground beef firmly into a non-greased 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.
Note: These burgers cook very fast, so it's best to make them one at a time. If making multiple burgers, keep them warm under a tent of foil while preparing subsequent burgers.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.
- 1 soft hamburger roll, buttered and toasted
- Condiments and toppings as desired, such as mayonnaise, mustard, shredded lettuce, onions, tomatoes, or pickles
- 4 ounces freshly ground beef chuck, divided into two 2-ounce balls
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 slice good melting cheese, such as American or homemade melting cheese slices
Prepare burger bun by laying toppings on the bottom bun. Have it nearby and ready for when your burger is cooked.
Preheat a large stainless steel sauté pan or skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Place balls of beef in the pan, and smash down with a stiff metal spatula, using a second spatula to add pressure. Smashed patties should be slightly wider than the burger bun.
Season generously with salt and pepper and allow to cook until well-browned and top is 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 burger patties from pan, making sure to get all of the browned bits.
Flip patties and immediately place a slice of cheese over one patty and stack the second directly on top. Immediately remove from pan and transfer to waiting burger bun. Serve.