By Sam | Updated 30 September, 2023
Burgers. What a smashing creation (yes, there will be puns). With so much hype surrounding brioche buns, secret sauces and gourmet beef blends it’s easy to sometimes overlook the importance of the burger itself. Simplicity is so often best and that’s why we feel there is one burger that smashes all others out of contention.


For the uninitiated amongst you, a Smash Burger does not involve hurling your brioche-bunned-bundle-of-joy at the nearest hard surface until well and truly flattened.
Smash Burgers are not a thick, exquisitely grilled, medium-rare burger. They are not a lovingly crafted, perfectly symmetrical patty made with the most expensive cuts of beef and a heavily guarded spice mix.

They’re minced beef and salt, smashed flat over a searingly hot flat-grill until you get a crispy, craggy-edged, asymmetric, cooked-through patty that’s juicy, caramelised, beefy and, frankly, the best burger you’re ever going eat.


So why are they SO good? Where’s the science?

When you're cooking beef there are two golden rules when it comes to flavour - Colour and Fat.
What makes toast taste malty and delicious? And the char-marks on a piece of grilled chicken so appetising? The Maillard Reaction - The Holy Grail of cooking science whereby heat causes sugars and amino acids in proteins to react and form a dark, caramelised, rich crust that makes food taste and look so mouthwatering.
And then there’s the fat. It’s really very simple. Fat-Means-Flavour. It’s no secret.

So how does that translate to our Smash Burger?

Firstly. You have to use minced beef with a good 20% fat content. That’s where your flavour is and that’s what is going to make your Smash Burger sing. Minced chuck steak is gold for Smash Burger.

Secondly, it’s the smash that really makes it. When you smash the burgers down on a super-hot grill, the fat has nowhere to go but back up into the burger patty meaning you’re essentially cooking your burger in its own beefy juices. If that concept alone doesn’t bring a dripping-glazed tear to your eye then I don’t know what will.

Furthermore, the extreme heat and pressure supercharge the Maillard reaction, yielding the amazingly dark, crisp-crusted, flavour-packed patty that are the hallmarks of a true Smash Burger.


The basic principle of Smash Burgers is to take a big handful of minced beef, loosely packed lest you’ll end up with a beef-puck, and then slam it down onto a very hot, flat surface (cast iron pans work perfectly).

Then - and this part is key - smash the mound of beef as flat as you dare with a spatula or burger press (recommended). I like to aim for roughly 1cm in depth.

Once flattened, heavily salt the top of the patty and leave to sizzle and cook for a couple of minutes. Under no circumstance try to move or disturb your patty - what is happening underneath is culinary magic and should not be disturbed. When your patty has been cooking for a couple of minutes and you can start to see colour creeping up the side take a metal spatula and pry your way under the patty - there may be a little resistance from the crust built up underneath but you want to get as much of that crust as possible so work quickly and precisely.

Flip the burger and marvel at the magnificent Maillard-made crust that has formed. Salt again and then hit with a few slices of cheese of your choice if desired. Cover the pan, this will aid in cheese melting, and leave to cook for a few more minutes. Once cooked, place into a toasted bun, toasting is non-negotiable, top with bacon, again non-negotiable, a dollop of your favourite burger condiment and you are good to go. In all of a few minutes to boot!


As you may have gathered by this point - I really love a Smash Burger. Hopefully, my ramblings as to their clear superiority over any-and-all other burger craft will have convinced you to try your hand at building your own homemade SmashBurger.

With that in mind, we have 3 variations of our beloved Smash Burger to get your teeth into and provide a little inspiration for your next burger indulgence.

We’ve looked to cover the 3 classic burgers - a classic burger, a cheese burger and a cheese and bacon burger. There’s a little twist to each of them which, in my slightly biassed opinion, elevates each of these into the very best incarnation of themselves.

It should be noted that in order to comply with my exacting burger requirements, I’ve laid a few ground rules for consistency.

All burger patties are made from 150g minced chuck steak. Smashed to perfection.
All burgers are housed within a toasted bun, I can’t stress the necessity of toasting highly enough.

Toasted Brioche Bun, 150g Smashburger, Bearnaise Sauce, Diced Shallot, Shredded Little Gem, Pickles, Ketchup, American Mustard
A standard setter. A benchmark for your Smash Burgers. Were this a burger menu - this would be the first. The twist? No special sauce on this burger - we’ve gone high-brow with Bearnaise.
Toasted Brioche Bun, 150g Smashburger, Emmental Cheese, Parmesan Tuile, Onion Jam, Ketchup, American Mustard
A delightfully crisp parmesan tuile brings big flavour and texture to elevate the humble cheeseburger to new heights, whilst onion jam brings sweetness. (Special thanks to Binging with Babbish and Parks and Rec for the cheese crisp idea. Pure gold.) 
Toasted Brioche Bun, 150g Smashburger, Gruyere, Crispy Pancetta, Pickled Shallot, Cornichon, Ketchup, American Mustard
We’ve swapped out the classic ingredients here for some lavish European counterparts for what is truly my favourite burger. Smoked garlic aioli, gruyere cheese and an excess of crispy pancetta.
Smashed it, right? Let us know how you get on with your very own SmashBurger creations. We definitely want to see them.
Do you have a favourite combo you think we're missing out on? Leave your suggestion in the comments below! 


  • Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope they will like it.
    • Thank you Ashok for your kind comment. We're so glad you and your family enjoyed our recipe!
  • Rich Johnson
    Trying this tonight! Thank you!
    • Amazing Rich, do let us know how it turned out!
  • Jen
    Just smashed my first ever burger, and I'll never be making a burger a different way again! I didn't have beef mince with a high enough fat content, so I made it up with grated cheese through the meat, and it was indeed the best burger I've ever had! Thank you for the directions.
  • Vicki
    I typically like my burgers still mooing......rare for me thank you....but this....this is special! Made my first smash burger and that crust is magical! Thanks for sharing the method!
    • Carmen
      Thank you so much for your comment Vicky, it's great to hear that you enjoyed your first smash burger! Getting that perfect crust is one of the most satisfying parts of making smash burgers, so I'm glad the method worked well for you. Happy cooking!
  • Sherry
    I want to try this. Can ground beef be used or do you need to ask the butcher to ground up a chuck?
    • Carmen
      Hello Sherry, yes ground beef will work - just try and find some with a fairly high fat content (at least 10%). Happy smashing!
      • steve edwards
        I was a butcher 50 years ago, and in our shop (in California) all minced meats came from the same place -- trimmings from other cuts of beef. The percentage of fat was adjusted either by adding frozen bull meat (very lean) or fat during the grinding process. The label did not indicate the cut of beef that was run through the grinder, it indicated the fat content: ground sirloin - 10% fat ground chuck - 20% fat ground beef - 30% fat The fat content was occasionally confirmed by cremating a sample in a special machine and measuring the fat extracted. If that deception concerns you, you may want to clarify the source with your local butcher and observe the process.

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