How To Cook Smash Burgers On A Griddle

If you own a flat top grill and haven’t tried making smash burgers, you miss out. One of the great advantages of using a griddle versus a grill is making a smash burger.

These are by far some of the most popular things gas griddle owners like to cook on their Blackstone or other flat top grill brands. We’ll review what a smash burger is, what makes them so good and how to cook them correctly. Let’s get started.

What is a Smash Burger?

There are many ways to cook a burger, but what sets this method apart from the others? When making smash burgers, you don’t pre-make the burger patty in advance and place it on the cooktop.

When making smash burgers, you shape the ground beef into a ball, and then you “smash” the burger down on the hot griddle using a griddle press or griddle spatula to form the patty.

Smashing your burger into a patty on hot griddle results in maximum surface area between the burger and the cooktop, and take advantage of the Maillard reaction. This chemical reaction gives foods an amazing flavor. Another example of this would be when you sear the outside of a steak.

After you press the meat onto the griddle, a crisp brown crust forms, and all the flavorful juices get locked in. If you’ve ever eaten at Shake Shack, Steak ‘N Shake, or Smashburger and wondered why their burgers are so good, this is why.

Luckily, you can cook these amazing burgers right in your backyard, just the way you like them. Now that you know what a smash burger is let us look at some tips and see how to make them.

Tips for Making Smash Burgers

  • Take your hamburger meat out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before cooking and allow it to warm up a bit. This will help with the cooking process.
  • Use parchment paper between your burger ball and griddle press when smashing the patty down. The parchment paper is non-stick, and it’ll create less mess.
  • For tasty toasted buns, spread some butter on your buns using a butter wheel and place them face down on the griddle. Remove once lightly browned/toasted.
  • Smash burgers cook quick so prepare any cooked toppings like bacon or sautéed onions on the griddle before cooking the burgers.
  • On a keto or low carb diet? Prepare your smash burger with your desired toppings and skip the bun or wrap it in lettuce like In-N-Out’s Protein Style option.

Griddle Temperature for Smash Burgers

A common question is what the ideal griddle temperature for making smash burgers. You need a higher heat to get the crust you’re looking for on the outside of the patty.

You want to get your griddle surface up to approximately 400 degrees. If the temperature is too low, you’ll have difficulty getting the crust to form properly.

Smash Burger Recipe

Here’s a standard smash burger recipe to start with a blank canvas. Feel free to add toppings and condiments as desired for your ideal burger creation.

What You’ll Need:

Ingredients:

  • 80/20 ground beef
  • Buns (recommend brioche)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooking oil

Topping Recommendations:

Here are some suggested burger additions you can choose from to craft the perfect smash burger!

  • Make it double with 2 patties!
  • Cheese (American, cheddar, pepper jack, swiss, blue cheese)
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Pickles
  • Avocado
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayo
  • Bacon
  • Fried egg
  • Sautéed onions
  • Sautéed jalapenos
  • Sautéed mushrooms

How to Cook Smash Burgers

Step 1:

Remove your ground beef from the fridge 20-30 minutes before cooking and allow it to warm up. Measure 3 oz to 4 oz portions of ground beef per burger and roll them into a ball. Use a kitchen scale if possible; otherwise, just eyeball it. If you have 1lb of meat, split it into 4-5 equal portions.
Smash Burger Balls

Preheat your gas griddle to medium-high heat. Aim for between 385 degrees and 400 degrees if using an infrared thermometer to verify the cooktop’s temperature.

Step 2:

Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the griddle and place down your balls of ground beef on the oiled cooktop. Take a piece of parchment paper (approximately 8″x 8″) and carefully place it on top of the first ball.
Griddle Press Smash Burgers

Using your griddle press, firmly “smash” the ball down into a thin patty on the griddle. Hold your griddle press down for 10 seconds before lifting it to allow the crust to form and lock in the juices.

Repeat this step for each burger and then season them with salt and pepper as they cook.

Step 3:

The burgers should cook fairly quickly, taking only about 2-3 minutes in total. Allow the burgers to cook undisturbed for approximately a minute and a half. You’ll know it’s time to flip the burgers when you see juices bubbling up, just like when cooking pancakes.

Step 4:

When it’s time to flip the patties, you have to be careful to lift them without leaving any of the delicious crust that has formed stuck on the griddle top.

Griddle Press Smashed Burgers

To do this, hold your spatula at a 45-degree angle and carefully begin to push the spatula underneath the burger. Carefully move your spatula back and forth as needed to loosen it without causing the patty to break apart..

Once you’ve gotten your spatula fully underneath the patty, flip it and move on to the next burger. Repeat this for each burger patty.

Note: Do not press the burgers down a second time. This is only done at the beginning and not after flipping them.

Step 5:

Once you flip the burgers, you should see the dark brown crust that has formed. The burgers only take about another minute to a minute and a half to finish cooking.

Griddle Smash Burger

If you are making cheeseburgers, place a slice of cheese on the burger immediately after flipping, so it has enough time to melt without overcooking the burger.

Smash Burgers Basting Cover

If using a thicker slice of cheese, it may take longer to melt, so your best bet is to place a basting cover on top to speed up the melting process.

Step 6:

After 1 minute or when the cheese is melted, remove the burgers from the griddle with your spatula. They should lift much more easily now, unlike when you flipped them the first time. Assemble your burger with any toppings or condiments you like and enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Smash burgers cooked on a gas griddle are a magical thing. The taste and texture are amazing, and now you can cook them at home on your flat top grill.

There’s an unlimited amount of ways you can craft your smash burger, so feel free to try all kinds of different toppings and condiments.

Bacon Egg and Cheese Smash Burger

One of the best parts of cooking smash burgers on a griddle is cooking toppings like sautéed onions, a fried egg, or bacon all on the same cooktop!

Once you make smash burgers on your gas griddle, you may never cook a burger on your traditional grill again.

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