Smash Burgers

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Plan Z Phase: This is a Z3 (ZReboot) recipe

Smash burgers are all the rage. Step into a brew pub and you’ll likely find a smash burger on the food menu.

These are NOT the huge, 8oz burgers we’ve been fed in the past. These are a thinner burger that’s usually six ounces or even less. You can always make your burger with two patties and bring it back to huge but more popular is to just make your burger with one patty.

The meat is important to a fabulous smash burger. A mix of ground meats is the secret. Whatever mix you choose at the store it’s likely to contain some regular ground chuck. You want that for the fat content. It’s usually 80/20. But then you look to see what else is in the mix. They will have some combination of ground chuck mixed with maybe brisket or sirloin or other high-end meat. You want to try to find grass fed too.

Another secret to a great smash burger is high temperature. You heat the pan in advance. I make mine in a cast iron pan but a griddle or other sturdy sauté pan can work. When you put the meat in the pan it will sear it. A chemical reaction takes place called maillard. That’s the caramelization. The meat gets a little bit of a crispy crust on the surface and around the edges.

So here’s the recipe for a smash burger.

Servings: Serves 3.  Can be easily doubled.


  • 1 lb of ground chuck mixed with other top-line meats.
  • Avocado oil or peanut oil (you need an oil that can handle high heat without burning)
  • Grated sea salt


Heat your cast iron skillet on high heat for about 2 minutes.

While that’s heating, divide your meat into 3 patties.  Don’t make them uniform.  One reason it’s called a smash burger is you literally smash it with your spatula.  The point is not to make a perfectly shaped burger.  These can be a little wild.  Misshapen is good.  That means there will be nooks and crannies that also get browned and caramelized so the edges of the burger taste a bit crispy but you have a juicy burger on the inside.  The burgers will be pressed down so they are fairly thin.  You’re not going for a fat burger.  You want the patties to be about 5” in diameter.  That way they will stick out beyond the edges of the bun when they are finished.

When the pan is ready, quickly and lightly brush it with the oil.

Then place your smashed patties in the pan.  Smash them down with your spatula and then leave them alone.  Cook on high heat for 2 – 3 minutes.  Dust on grated sea salt and then carefully turn the burgers over to cook the other side.  Medium rare will take about 2 minutes more.  Dust that side of the patty with sea salt too and you’re ready to serve.


There are traditional garnishes for a smash burger but I’m not going to dictate.  Most smash burgers have American cheese on them.  They also have a sauce made from mayo, ketchup and bits of pickles. I dispense with that and just have 1000 island dressing on mine. Stay away from the bun until you are in ZReboot 3.5 and your weight is stabilized. If you are including a bun, the buns do not need to be fancy.  A big, fluffy bakery bun can even detract from the smash burger.  When I make smash burgers I buy the usual, mass-produced burger buns.