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Technique

Every Smash Burger Should Be Griddled

However you end up serving them, a Griddle is the best way to achieve crispy, juicy, and flavorful smash burgers.

By Team Made In
Jun 5, 2023
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Because burgers are relatively easy to make, they often don’t receive the attention they deserve during the cooking process. Unfortunately, this often leads to a surfeit of subpar burgers that are either underseasoned, underseared, and/or underwhelming in general.

For best results, we’re partial to cooking smash burgers on a Carbon Steel Griddle —bonus points if you’ve got a Grill Press—but below we’re sharing some tips that’ll take your burgers to new heights regardless of whether you're cooking them on a grill or not. Regardless of where you fall on the Smash vs. Pub Style Burger Debate, if you have a griddle, you can cook them just about anywhere and they'll come out perfectly.

How to Cook Smash Burgers on the Griddle

Smash burgers are not only delicious (and perfect for those who prefer thinner patties), but they come together incredibly quickly. Here’s how to get a lacy-edged, crispy patty on your bun in less than 10 minutes.

  1. One of the best things about smash burgers is there’s no need to preshape the patties—simply form loose balls of ground chuck.
  2. Preheat your griddle (on the grill or stovetop) and apply a light layer of oil.
  3. Place the patties on the hot griddle, making sure to leave sufficient space when placing the patties to account for post-smash spread, and don’t worry about imperfectly shaped patties—those edges will become extra crispy and browned during cooking.
  4. Oil your Grill Press and use it to smash your patties into discs between ¼” and ½”-thick.
  5. Once sufficiently smashed, season the patties generously with salt, cover (if cooking on a grill), and cook for 2 minutes, until edges are brown and juices start to accumulate on top.
  6. Flip them with a large heatproof spatula and season lightly with salt. Do not smash them again on the opposite side. Cook for about 1 minute more.
  7. For cheeseburgers, place a slice of cheese on top of each patty, cover, and cook until the cheese starts to melt, approximately 1–2 minutes more. At this point, burgers should be about medium and ready to serve.

How to Know When Your Burger Is Done

All told, making a smash burger should take only around 3-5 minutes, not including the time it takes to preheat the grill or stovetop. Because they’re so thin and cooked at a relatively high temperature on an incredibly conductive heat source, the cooking process is much faster than if you were simply grilling, cooking on the stove, or using an indoor electric grill marketed by a certain former professional boxer.

However, there are a few other ways to know when your burger is done. For extra accuracy, run a few of them rather than just relying on one.

Thermometer

The easiest and most surefire way to know your burger is done is by temping it. From 120-125F, it’s rare. Medium-rare spans 130-135F, medium-well is about 150-155F, and 160-165F is considered well done. Generally, we aim for a medium burger for food safety reasons—but you do you.

The Press Test

Using a spatula or your grill press, apply pressure to the patty. If the juices run clear, you’re good to go. This won’t necessarily provide the full picture of how done your burger actually is, but it will demonstrate generally whether you’ve cooked your burgers enough for safe consumption.

The Test Burger

Sometimes visual and tactile cues won’t be enough—or maybe you don’t feel like getting out a thermometer. The good news is you can always use one patty as a tester by simply cutting into it and inspecting the interiors. This should let you know whether you’ve achieved the desired level of doneness.

What Makes Griddles So Great for Burgers?

Constructed from our award-winning French carbon steel, we designed the Carbon Steel Griddle to transform your kitchen (or grill, or campsite) into an impromptu diner. Here are the three science-backed reasons proving why a griddle yields burgers that are more delicious, easier to make, and safer to cook.

1. Carbon Steel’s Conductivity Makes for Deeper Sears

While griddles are commonly made from cast iron, we chose to build ours from carbon steel. If you’ve never cooked with it before, consider carbon steel a happy medium between Stainless Clad and cast iron. Like stainless, carbon steel has impressive heat control and speed, but like cast iron it’s heat retentive and naturally non stick. Its conductivity also allows for deeper sears and better caramelization.

2. Durable Construction Means Indoor-Outdoor Cooking

The griddle is durable up to 1200F and virtually indestructible. Outdoors, it sits comfortably on a grill grate or directly over the flame. It allows burgers to be cooked in their own grease, further ensuring they sear adequately and stay juicy. Yet if you were to look inside a restaurant kitchen, line cooks rely on massive flat tops—these are the inspiration for our griddle. Stovetop burgers tend to be mediocre, but the griddle changes that.

3. Sloping Sides and Raised Handles Are Safer

The griddle’s sloped, tall edges protect you from unnecessary cleanup duties and the more real danger of potential flare ups and grease fires. It maximizes cooking surface area and heat contact, but is shallow enough that burgers are seared rather than steamed.

The raised handles and leather grips make lifting, transporting, and adjusting the griddle much easier and much safer.

Ready to Cook?

By now, you should have a firm understanding of the benefits and nonexistent drawbacks to cooking smash burgers over a griddle. While our Griddle does so much more than just cook burgers, it’s the perfect place to start exploring its potential.

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