What is a Smash Burger?

The fast-food world is constantly changing, with new additions to the menu designed to leave your tastebuds tingling and your salivary glands working overtime. Smash burgers are one of the new additions to the growing menu list, and they have quickly gained popularity, and for good reason. But you might be left asking yourself what smash burgers are and what makes them so good.

What is a Smash Burger?

Although relatively new, smash burgers have been around for several decades. One restaurant owner named Bill Culvertson discovered them when his employee smashed a burger patty on the grill using a can of beans and realised how much better it tasted.

Over time, smash burgers have been featured on more fast-food menus. The smash burger is made by smashing a small ball of ground beef into a hot griddle or skillet. The technique creates a thin patty with crispy caramelised edges and a juicy interior. Unlike traditional burgers, which are thicker, smash burgers are thinner and have a crispy texture and intense beefy flavour.

The Appeal of Smash Burgers

Several reasons make Smash burgers more appealing than their regular burger counterparts. Some of the reasons why smash burgers have gained such a cult-like following include:

Crispy Texture

Pressing the smash burger against the hot griddle creates a crispy exterior that creates a satisfying crunch when sinking your teeth into the burger. Because the burger is thin, it is easy to create that crispy caramelised finish that creates a quick, satisfying meal.

Shorter Cooking Time

Smash burgers appeal to both consumers and chefs. Because they are thinner, heat can penetrate the burger more quickly and take a shorter time to cook, making them an excellent choice in fast-paced fast-food kitchens.

Intense Flavour

The crispy and caramelised texture of the burger has several advantages. Besides that crunchy texture, it also locks in the juices and the flavours of the burger during cooking and prevents them from spilling out on the griddle, making the final burger succulent and loaded with flavour.

Versatility

Typically, a classic smash burger recipe contains beef, cheese and condiments. But you can adapt the technique to create an endless list of burger recipes and combinations to create endless flavour variations.

Factors that Influence Burger Flavour

To understand the uniqueness of smash burgers, you must know the factors influencing burger flavour. There are several of them, but the most crucial is the type of meat used.

The most preferred ground beef is 80/20 (80% lean and 20% fat). This combination results in a juicier burger than if the meat were leaner or had less fat.

The grind of the meat is also essential. A coarser grind produces more flavour but is more likely to fall apart on the grill or griddle. Consider a finer grind to ensure everything holds together if leaner meat is used than the recommended ratio.

The source of the beef is also another critical factor that influences the flavour of the burger. Store-bought patties are usually from commercial beef that is mass-produced from cows fed on a diet designed to fatten them up quickly, but it doesn’t do much for the flavour of the meat. Cows allowed to graze on grassy pastures produce more flavourful and nutritious beef, making grass-fed beef perfect for more nutritious burgers.

Finally, how you cook your burger also impacts its flavour. Juicy burgers with a slight char are the best. The burger is grilled over high heat for the best flavour and char. For a mild-tasting burger, it can be cooked at a low temperature. This is where the art of smash burgers comes in. Pressing the burger against the grill or the griddle helps with the char and penetration of heat.

Our beef smash burgers are made from the highest-quality beef with a high-fat content. We use Aberdeen Angus beef for our burgers. Aberdeen Angus beef is known for being more muscular than beef from other breeds, and the cuts have a high amount of marbling, making for a juicier, more tender burger. This blend has the perfect amount of lean meat and fat to give the burger flavour and juiciness without making it too greasy.

After choosing the right type of beef, we also used proven cooking methods to ensure our smashed burgers had a brown colour that indicated a perfect sear and flavour.

Smash Burgers Vs. Regular Burgers

Smash burgers are quite different from regular burgers in appearance and flavour. A classic burger is made with a thicker patty that is usually seasoned before shaping or simply with salt and pepper.

The burger is cooked to medium-rare or medium, resulting in a friendly, pink, super juicy centre with an excellent rounded shape.

Smashed burgers don’t have that smooth, rounded shape. They are loosely packed balls of ground beef placed on a hot pan or grill and then pressed firmly into a thin patty with a spatula or cast iron press.

The burger is pressed don’t on the hot cooking surface for about 10 seconds to get a proper sear. In the smashed burger world, there’s nothing like a medium-rare, but when the burger is done, it has a nice brown crust on both sides.

Although classic burgers are grilled, they’re not pressed down and flattened like smash burgers. Besides the difference in the cooking of the burger, almost everything else, from the bun to the toppings, sides, and sauces, is the same for both burgers. But the smashed patty makes all the difference!

The Basic Principles of Making a Smash Burger

The basic principle of smash burgers is to take a small handful of minced beef, loosely packed, then slam it on a hot surface. You then smash the mound of beef as flat as possible with a spatula or a burger press to make it flatter and thinner. From this, you can see where the burger gets its name.

Once flattened, you can salt the top of the patty, leave it to sizzle, and cook for a couple of minutes. You shouldn’t move or disturb the patty as the magic is happening.

After cooking for a couple of minutes, you will notice the change in colour creeping up the side. Flip the burger to the other side and marvel at the Maillard-made crust that has formed. Salt the second side and then hit it with a few cheese slices. Leave it for a few more minutes to cook, and it will be ready.

The Evolution of Smash Burgers

Smash burgers aren’t done disrupting the fast-food industry. While you can still enjoy traditional smash burgers consisting of American cheese, pickles, onions and a soft bun, there are more ingredients you can add to the burger to make it tastier, including our secret family Phat sauce and multiple types of buns and condiments for the ultimate flavour experience.

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