It is officially summer which means all I want to do is cook outside for my friends! I love making burgers for a crowd, but it’s always a bit challenging to get the timing right, and to make sure each guest’s burger is cooked the way they want. Luckily, the smash burger method solves all of these problems at once! The meat (I use plant-based) is smashed into super thin patties before it’s placed on a ripping hot grill pan or cast iron skillet.
The burgers cook up in just a few minutes since they’re so thin, and I like to stack American cheese between my patties right on the grill so that everything melts together before they hit the bun. The garnishes are simple, but they really make a difference, and you CAN’T skip the burger sauce! Make sure you’ve got lots of napkins handy before you dig in, and prepare for everyone at your party to ask for seconds.
1. Why is the burger smashed?
For a few very good reasons! 1. The patties get an incredible sear and crust (which means more flavor!), and the thin, lacey edges get extra crispy for a little bit of crunch and texture. 2.The burgers cook so quickly, so they’re great for entertaining! 3. The thinner patty makes it easy to layer, so you can serve up double or even triple burgers that won’t fall apart.
The potato bun is ideal here because it’s very soft and squishy, so it acts like a sponge for all the burger juices. Also, shredding the lettuce and mincing the onion is crucial to the eating experience because it means each bite has a little of each ingredient, and you’re not stuck with long pieces of stringy vegetable sliding off your burger before you can even finish eating it!
3. Burger Sauce
Also known as fry sauce or special sauce, it’s a super versatile and adaptable condiment that’s mostly made of other sauces. I definitely encourage you to play with the ratios of the different ingredients, maybe add diced pickles or jalapenos, and really have fun with it! Burger sauce is so easily customizable, and is great on sandwiches, or as a dip for fries or chicken tenders, too!
All American Smash Burger
For the Burger Patties
- 12 ounces plant based protein, or 20 ounces ground beef
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 slices American cheese
- 4 brioche or potato buns
- ½ head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
- ½ small yellow onion, minced
- Pickle chips
For the Burger Sauce
- ⅓ cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 dashes hot sauce
- Line 2 sheet trays with parchment and set aside.
- Make burger patties by equally dividing protein of choice into 8 balls, 1 ½ ounces each for plant based protein and 2 ½ ounces each for ground beef. Then, fold a piece of parchment paper in half and place ball in between folded parchment. Using a large spatula or bench scraper, press down firmly to flatten ball into a patty, about 1/4-inch thick. If using plant based protein, make patties a bit thicker, to ensure they hold together during cooking. Transfer each patty to parchment lined baking sheet and repeat until all patties are formed, layering with additional parchment if needed. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Next, make burger sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Once combined, transfer to resealable container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat a large cast iron skillet or large griddle over medium high heat. While skillet is preheating, season 2-4 patties with salt and pepper. Add oil and once shimmering, add patties, seasoned side down. Add salt and pepper to top of patties and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until deeply golden brown. Flip patties and cook for additional 1-2 minutes, adding a slice of American cheese to each patty. Once cheese is added, stack one burger on top of another patty and then transfer to sheet tray. Repeat until all burgers have been cooked.
- Next, steam the hamburger buns. Place buns onto microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 30 seconds. As an alternative method, preheat oven to 300°F. Wrap buns in tinfoil and bake for 5 minutes, or until soft and steamed.
- To assemble, add 1-2 tablespoons burger sauce to bottom bun. Add lettuce, then top with burger, onions, pickles and top bun. Serve immediately.