If you’ve never had a good smash burger you really are missing out! They are crusty, juicy, and delicious. The kind of burger that requires multiple napkins because the juice runs down your arm with each bite.
Plus there is something therapeutic about the whole process. Smashing some burgers may just be the stress reliever you never knew you needed!
These bad boys are easy and super quick to make. Using the right blend of beef, along with a special Big Mac inspired sauce and some crispy bacon, these are smashingly good!
Why smash burgers?
There are a few reasons to like a smash burger. They are thin when smashed down so they cook really fast. They take about 90 seconds on each side and that’s about it.
When you are at a get-together and need to crank out a bunch of burgers for your guests these will do the trick. No waiting too long, they cook up in no time and are virtually impossible to mess up!
Smashing them down also helps to get a nice crust!
Thin and crispy is so underrated.
The flat patty creates a nice surface area so you can pile on the toppings or double up on them and still get the perfect bite.
If you prefer a thicker burger, check out my recipe for reverse seared smoked hamburgers.
What kind of beef can you use for smash burgers?
There are a lot of different routes you could go when choosing a beef burger blend.
In my opinion, the best ground beef to buy for burgers is 80/20 ground chuck – 80% lean meat and 20% fat. Ground chuck is ground from the shoulder and has that ideal lean-to-fat ratio of 80/20. The extra fat helps keep the burger juicy and flavorful.
You could also get ground round which comes from the back of the cow. At 85/15 it’s considered an extra lean ground beef and this is also a good option.
Ground beef from Porter Road has a perfect meat-to-fat ratio paired with their signature dry-aging process for enhanced flavors.
Ground sirloin is cut from the back section of the cow and it is labeled 90/10 and is a more expensive cut of beef than round or chuck. It has a full beefy flavor but it does not have enough fat content for good burgers. The meat will dry out too quickly and will not be as easy to smash down.
You could always take ground sirloin and add some more fat to it and that would make a great burger.
Another option of course would be to create your own blend. A lot of times BBQ guys save the trimmings from their brisket and add that in with some other cuts of meat to come up with their own unique blend that can be quite delicious.
Taking the extra step to grind your own beef to make burgers can really take them to the next level.
What you will need to make smash burgers
There are a few important things you will need to make these Big Mac inspired smash burgers.
The first thing is finding the proper surface to press the burgers on. Obviously, you don’t want to smash your burgers directly onto grill grates as that would end in disaster.
If you have one, the best option would be a propane griddle or flat top which is what I used here.
If you don’t have that option you can also use a cast iron griddle and lay them right on top of your grill grates and heat them up.
Before I had a griddle, I would take a 12-inch cast-iron pan and heat it up to smash burgers on that. The only drawback to that is you can only smash a few at a time.
Once you find the proper surface to cook and smash your burgers on you will also need something to smash the burgers with. Many places sell an actual burger smasher tool. Essentially it’s a flat weighted round surface with a handle on top. All you do is press down until the burgers are nice and flat.
Some people just smash them with the palm of their hands with latex gloves on with cotton liners underneath. I’ve also seen people use the bottom of a bowl and some take a metal spatula with something weighted to push down with.
I guess we can give points here for creativity as long as you aren’t burning yourself for the cause.
Making the Big Mac sauce
The Big Mac sauce is really easy to make and you can also make it ahead of time.
Essentially it’s everything you would normally put on a burger but just all into one sauce. The apple cider vinegar really gives it a nice tang which cuts through the fattiness of the burgers.
To make the sauce take all the ingredients listed and whisk together until everything is incorporated.
How to make smash burgers
1. Crisp up the bacon
There are just a couple of things to prepare. The first thing you want to do is fry your bacon slices until they are nice and crispy and set them aside.
Also, dice up a small white onion and place it into a bowl for later.
2. Form the meat balls
The next thing you will need to do is form your meatballs. The size you are going for is 4-5 ounces which is a little larger than a golf ball.
I like to make sure that the ground beef is still pretty cold when I’m forming them. If they get too warm, the fat starts to melt when you handle the meat and it’s harder to get a nice ball formed.
3. Smash the burgers
Heat up your griddle or cast iron pan and get it screaming hot. You want the crust to form quickly after you smash down the burger so having the griddle or pan hot beforehand is key.
I like to put a little oil down to make sure everything is non-stick and then place my meatballs.
Go ahead and season each meatball after you’ve laid them down with your salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Once you have seasoned the meat properly, carefully smash down each burger. When I use my smasher, I lay a piece of parchment paper between the meat and the smasher so it does not stick.
Also, when I push down and flatten the meatball I rock the smasher side to side to make sure the meat is evenly smashed throughout. You don’t want one side of the burger thicker than the other.
Also, don’t worry if they don’t smash into perfect circles. They probably won’t look that pretty but the crust and the flavor are going to be excellent. That’s what matters right!
4. Cook your patties
After you have smashed each burger down, sprinkle your diced white onion right on top of the patty.
After about 90 seconds or so go ahead and flip your burger patty over.
The flipped patty should already be brown and crusty. If you flip and they aren’t quite where you want them to be, just flip them back up and let it sear for a bit longer and then flip to the other side again.
When you flip the burger, give it another 90 seconds or so and let the onions get a little char to them. You won’t be cooking the onions all the way through but just enough to take the bite off and give it a little caramelization.
Trust me on this process. It works every time!
Next, take your yellow American cheese and lay it right on top of the burger patty. They should melt onto the patty pretty quickly.
Once the cheese has melted on top, remove the burgers and set aside to rest. Toast up your buns with a little butter spread on them, or run them through the burger fat.
5. Assemble the burger
To assemble the burgers, apply a layer of the sauce, a few pickles, and then two burger patties.
Next, add the crispy bacon and some more sauce to the top bun. Make sure you are using sesame seed buns! They will look more like a Big Mac and they are my favorite when making any kind of burger.
Now to grab hold of that smash burger for dear life and take a bite. You may have sauce on your face and juice running down your arms, but you will be so satisfied.
If you happen to serve up the burgers with some fries, try reserving some of the Big Mac sauce for dipping. It’s killer!
More juicy burger recipes to try
- Smash Burgers with Homemade Spicy Ketchup
- Grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce and Olive Tapenade
- Smoked Smash Burgers With Homemade Ranch Dressing
- Smoked Burgers With Fennel and Pear Slaw
Big Mac Smash Burgers With Crispy Bacon
- 2 lbs 80/20 ground chuck
- salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
- 1 small white onion (diced)
- 4 sesame seed buns
- 1 tbsp butter
- 8 strips bacon
- 8 slices American cheese
- pickle chips (for 4 burgers)
Big Mac sauce:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp relish
- salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
- Fry up your bacon slices until they are crispy and set aside.
- Make 4-5 oz golf ball sized meat balls using your ground beef.
- Place each meatball onto a hot griddle or cast iron pan and smash them down to get your burger nice and thin.
- Apply your salt, pepper, and garlic on the smashed side along with your diced white onion right on top.
- After about 90 seconds flip your burger over and season the other side.
- Add a slice of american cheese onto the burger patty until the cheese has melted on top and the burger is cooked all the way through to your preferred doneness. It will probably be another 90 seconds or so.
- Toast your buns first by spreading a little butter on each side of the bun and placing them on your griddle. If there is enough fat on the griddle you can also run the buns through the fat instead of buttering the bread.
- Once the buns are toasted, assemble your burger. I like to add the big mac sauce first on the bottom bun, then a few pickles, 1-2 burger patties, 2 slices of crispy bacon and more sauce, then the top bun.