Smash Burger Basics

This “recipe” post is not just a list of ingredients and the steps to make a burger… it’s more of a “tutorial” for smash burgers. We hope you’ll learn some tips on crafting better burgers!

A “smash burger” is a style of burger where a griddle or flat cooking surface is used to cook the burger and it’s ingredients. However, instead of forming patties prior to cooking, the shaping is done on the surface of the griddle. This post shows the steps to cook a smash burger along with cooking tips from BBQ Brian, two-time best burger in Canada recipient at the Canadian National BBQ Festival in Whistler, BC.

1-mis-en-place

Pro Burger Tip 1 – Gather and Prepare to Cook

Get all your ingredients together and ready to use. Wash and cut up any vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, lettuce or tomatoes. Shred the cheese, gather sauces and seasonings and simply put, get your act together! A simple “oh no, I forgot that” moment can make a great burger into a meh! one especially if you run away from your grill and leave your burger cooking unattended.

2 cook onion

Pro Burger Tip 2 – Determine the Cooking Order

If using a griddle like a Blackstone Grill, add some oil or butter and start cooking the onions. The tip here is to think through what items take longest to cook and to start those ones first. In this instance for this burger, the onions will take the longest. Super-Pro Tip: have a vision as to what texture you want from the ingredient or have a goal in mind how it will contribute to the overall burger experience. Do you want some bite to the onion in your assembled burger or super-soft? Should the onions be more raw or almost indistinguishably soft from caramelizing as they cook? Either way, it changes the burger experience.

Pro Burger Tip 3 – Layer Upon Layer – Think Through the Flavours

Think through all of the layers of flavour. If you have only one layer seasoned, will the other ingredients pull their weight in the final burger. Separately season the buns, season the vegetables, season the tomatoes or at least think this through. Each layer of flavour contributes to the end result. This also is very appropriate for texture in addition to flavour. Super-Pro Tip: Break apart the raw meat in a bowl and add the seasoning. Mix, keeping the meat LOOSE rather than smushing it together. This will season all of the meat rather than having some seasoned parts and some not.

So far the onions are cooking and the burger has been added to the griddle… perfect. Season the onions and stir them about on the griddle. This is a perfect time to do a Japanese grill chef impression – you know you want to!

It’s time to start the buns after a few minutes as the burger and onions cook. Part of the task here is to make sure the onions got started at the right time in comparison to the burger patty and then, the buns get on the griddle just at the right time so it toasts to when the burger AND the onions are all done. It’s a delicate dance!

For this burger, the smash burger, we want to griddle-toast the buns so they are moist, toasted and help add a layer of flavour and texture to our burger. This burger will be a share-able burger as we cook one patty and use a smaller dinner roll for the bun. These are attached together and when we finish assembling the burger, we can easily cut apart the four pieces so there are portions to eat.

Make room for the buns in between the onions and the burger and start toasting the buns.

Super-Pro Tip: do some homework and discover different types of “burger buns” to use. Think beyond the round, bread-like bun… here are a few ideas to get you started. We hope you see some ideas so you can discover what type of “carrier” you want: breakfast waffles, English muffins, pita bread, tortillas, baguette portions, and one that BBQ Brian likes – hotdog buns! Just shape the burger patty differently!

12 sauce onions

Pro Burger Tip 4 – Add BBQ Sauce to the Onions

Add sauce to the onions and allow them to caramelize. This is a fantastic way to get both more flavour AND texture. The Blackstone Grill allows you to cook foods that have a really nice texture. (Want to learn more about this onion dish? See Apple Butter Onions)

Super-Duper Pro Tip: When cooking on a flat surface like the Blackstone Grill, you will need to have control of the cooking surface. This means making sure it is well-maintained, clean and seasoned or lubricated. Then the most important part is to make sure you are cooking at the right temperature. For most of the items BBQ Brian is cooking on this type of grill, it is at the LOWEST TEMPERATURE SETTING! Time and time again, new cooks want to crank up the heat, cook everything on maximum heat and without a doubt, get out of control in a short amount of time. There is a difference between being a master of flavour, texture and being in control to a cook who just wants to cook in the shortest amount of time and burn everything. We know you can do it! Turn the heat down!

Turn the burger patty over using your long handled grill spatula and add your choice of cheese. Don’t be shy on how much cheese you use… it helps pull all the ingredients together such as the onions in this instance. Then check if your buns are toasted to the character you want. It’s time to start assembling your burger right on the griddle once you burger patty is almost finished.

Super-Pro Tip: Always use a thermometer to check whatever you are cooking. The reference to “how long do you cook that?” is one of the worst ways to know if something is cooked. However using a thermometer is a habit every cook should have in their skill set. For any ground meat, such as our burgers, the patty needs to reach above 160 F.

Again, a super important tip for anything that you cook is to make sure it cooked to a safe level. Meats need to cook to a temperature that minimizes bacteria growth and exposing the eater to nasty health concerns.

Turn the bottom part of the bun over and transfer the burger patty to the bun. Top with plenty of onions and add the top bun. Somehow, magically, a pressed sandwich seems to be more tasty compared to a sandwich that isn’t squished. We don’t know why, but it just appears to be a culinary fact. Press your burger and allow the buns to soak up the burger and onions and “come together”. Then it’s time to remove from the grill, cut into portions in this instance and enjoy!

Ingredients in this Smash Burger

225-250 gr Ground pork (8 oz)
2-3 ts House of Q Gusto D’Italia Premium Seasoning
1 small Onion – sliced
1 TB Butter
2-3 ts House of Q Grandma’s Garden Premium Seasoning
3-5 TB House of Q Five Star BBQ Sauce
Shredded cheese – in the pictures is a mix of Jack, Cheddar and Mozzarella
Buns

Steps to make a Smash Burger are all detailed above. Step by step… just follow along!

Products in This Burger

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