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Smashed burger with succulent crust: what it is and how to make it

Smashed burger

Famous all over the world, here's what a smashed burger is and the precise technique needed to prepare it.

The term smashed burger does not only indicate a precise recipe, in this way we indicate the known technique for making the meat used in the creation of the sandwich even more succulent . This consists of placing a meatball in the center of a pan and crushing it with a spatula, to obtain the good patty (the disc of meat as called by Americans).

Through this operation, the meat juices escape and, thanks to the heat, form that delicious crust that covers the entire hamburger. We are talking about the very thin, crunchy layer full of flavour, which makes everything more succulent. To enrich the burger, we can accompany the meat between slices of bread with a variety of ingredients. Red onions, lettuce, gherkins and much more, to make an irresistible sandwich .

Smashed burger
Smashed burger

Preparing the recipe for the smashed burger

  1. Before you begin, get a stainless steel , iron or cast iron pan. Oil it completely and then wipe with a paper towel to remove the excess quantity.
  2. Turn the stove to medium heat and place the pan on top to heat for 5 minutes .
  3. In the meantime, arrange the minced meat , forming four equal portions (and of equal weight) in the shape of a meatball or, in jargon, patty.
  4. Season them on all sides with lots of salt and pepper .
  5. Switch to high heat , causing smoke on the pan. Place the first two meatballs.
  6. Take a metal spatula (or a meat tenderizer) and a small sheet of baking paper, then place the paper between the meat and the utensil and press the patty for a maximum of 10 seconds, in order to flatten the meat considerably. The result is very thin burgers.
  7. After the first and only smashing, let the meat cook until you see the classic crust that reaches the edges, at this point you can turn it, keeping it cooking for a maximum of 1 minute/1 minute and a half more to maintain the juiciness of the meat (which does not it will absolutely be a shoe sole).
  8. As soon as they are cooked, take a sandwich and cut it in half, then transfer the meat onto one of the two slices of bread .
  9. Stuff with your chosen topping, such as a slice of cheese and crispy bacon. You can also place the cheese on the burgers as soon as you have turned them, so that it melts slightly .
  10. Clean the pan with absorbent paper and cook the other two meatballs in the same way and at the same time.

And here is a video recipe that can help you prepare:

Primo Chef's advice

To make an excellent Smashed burger it is essential to follow some guidelines. The fundamental rule is to use fresh meat , just purchased meat and not frozen meat . Remember to keep it in the fridge and take it only a few minutes before starting to cook the smashed, to ensure that the fats remain compact.

The best thing is to use a sort of meat "meatball" , with a round shape. If you use a disc that has already been flattened, the result may not meet your expectations. You need to flatten this meatball with the spatula within the first 30 seconds the meat is on the pan. Beyond this time, the juices may melt inside and therefore not come out.

The dark crust on both sides is essential for the good result of the smashed meat medallion: it is, in fact, the result of a successful Maillard reaction, very important in cooking. The reaction causes the amino acids of the meat proteins to react at high temperatures with the sugars (for this reason the pan must be red-hot) forming the typical crust.

Finally, we advise you to use a chosen ground meat, which has a fat percentage of around 15 or 20% , in this way the cooking will be perfect and the Maillard reaction will take place perfectly.


The smashed burger is excellent if eaten freshly cooked. Hot and seasoned, the meat is succulent immediately after cooking. If you store it, the meat may become cold and no longer as appetizing as it was at first.

Alternatively, satisfy your hunger with a tasty chicken burger !

History of the smashed burger

The smashed burger represents one of the oldest techniques for preparing hamburgers. The practice of mashing meat began to spread in the 1920s in the American Midwest , gaining excellent fame thanks to the flavor it manages to release from the crust.

However, the main “flaw” of the smashed burger is its incompatibility with frozen meat , which has gradually led to a decline in its popularity in favor of “unsmashed” methods that allow the use of frozen meat.

After a period of oblivion, this technique experienced a rebirth in the first decade of the 2000s , favored by slow but effective changes in the fast food industry.

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