You Can Smash Burgers on the Grill . . .

. . . if you use a griddle, of course.

I hope you haven’t tried it right on the grill grate, but I’d like to see the pictures if you did. 😉

It means my husband won’t be getting his beloved thick rare burgers, but maybe he’ll like the crispy bits on all the edges of the burgers—and smashed burgers are pretty much all surface and no middle. I’m having good old American cheese slices melted all over mine. If you’re confused about the authenticity of American cheese and have time for a long read, see this article on Serious Eats: “What is American Cheese, Anyway?

I divided a pound of 80% lean beef into 8 slightly flattened balls, figuring two thin patties per sandwich—both with cheese (just on mine). I have a large stainless spatula, but it has slots in it, so trying to smash with that would be like smashing on the grate. I thought about wrapping it in non-stick foil, and I still think that would work, but I’m concerned that all the little crinkles in the foil would cause something to go wrong in the smashing. So I’m using a flat-bottomed bowl that is about the size of the buns to do the pressing. I think I can safely get two patties on the griddle at a time. My griddle is cast iron, so it should hold the heat pretty well through the four servings, after it sits over hot coals in a 400° grill for at least ten minutes.

Don’t forget to scrape up all the bits of burger and cheese that stick to the griddle—I ate most of those by hand, but added the rest to the sandwiches. That’s why you need a spatula with a fine, almost knife-like edge. I thought about using my metal dough scraper, but the spatula worked, with a little elbow grease.

Smashed Burgers on the Grill

  • Servings: allow two patties per sandwich
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Be ready to work quickly! It looks like a lot of steps, but you really need to memorize them and have your assembly line ready to go, because there’s no time to read and smash.

Ingredients

Ground beef, 80/20% lean to fat—allow 2 oz per burger, 2 burgers per sandwich

Salt and pepper mixture in a small bowl, ready to season burgers

American cheese slices—allow one slice per burger

Buns (obviously)

Preparation
  1. Divide ground beef into 2 oz servings. Shape into balls, lightly flattened with straight sides. This is a good shape to ensure a round shape (if you care) after pressing.
  2. Have the burgers, cheese, seasoning, pressing device, and spatula lined up and ready to go next to the grill.
  3. Set up grill for direct heat at about 400°
  4. Place griddle on grill grate over direct heat at least 10 minutes before cooking burgers.
  5. Place two burger balls on hot grill (it better sizzle). Immediately press down evenly on each burger to flatten—or smash—to a paper thin patty. Season with your salt and pepper mixture
  6. It will only take a minute to char. It’s probably ready to turn after you season it.
  7. Scrape up the burger as well as you can and flip. You want to get all the crispy bits, but if you miss some, just keep going and get the rest later.
  8. Add cheese right after flipping. If using American cheese, it will melt incredibly fast.
  9. Scoop up the burgers and all the cheese that melted onto the griddle. Stack them in twos on a serving plate.
  10. Before you put the next two burgers down, scrape up any bits of burger and cheese and toss onto your serving plate to go into the sandwiches (unless someone eats them).
  11. On my square griddle, I alternated between opposite corners with each pair of burgers.

This is my favorite kind of burger, all surface crispness and very little middle. Although my husband likes a thick rare burger, he enjoyed these very much, because the resulting beef is full of flavor, even without cheese (lactose intolerance). I made a quick burger sauce with mayo, lime juice, chili garlic sauce, cumin, maple syrup, and salt.

Author: Barbara

I have a PhD in American Literature and taught in higher education for over twenty years and directed two Centers for Instructional Technology before retiring.

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