Thin patties = big flavor. This burger recipe pairs the classic fixings of a Philly cheesesteak (onions, peppers, mushrooms, and provolone cheese) with two thin smashburger patties for a double layer of flavor.
Unlike traditional grilled burgers, which attempt to balance a charbroiled exterior with a juicy interior, smashburgers are all about creating a rich, flavorful crust. This is achieved by “smashing” them against a hot surface, exposing maximum surface area to maximum heat. The result is a thin burger patty with an almost crispy crust, similar to the outside of a pan seared steak.
The other great thing about smashburgers is they’re extremely fast to cook. Since they’re so thin, they cook in less than 2 minutes. So before you even start the burgers, you will want to pre-toast your buns and brown the onions and peppers. We’d even go so far as to start building your buns in advance. Once the burgers are done, they’re best enjoyed as quickly as possible.
This technique is perfect for camping or outdoor cooking because it does kick up a lot of smoke. However, a few precautions should be taken in order to make smashburgers safely.
The smashing process is done over an extremely hot surface, so it’s important to select the right type of cookware. Cast iron and stainless steel pans work are great options, non-stick pans are not. In fact, you actually want to meat to stick at first.
We used a cast iron griddle for this recipe, but in hindsight, a high sided cast iron skillet might have been better. The “smash” releases a lot of grease from the burgers, which if you’re not careful, can ignite if it comes in contact with the flame of your stove. This is also why we would recommend smashburgers be done over a camp stove, not a campfire (less open flame = lower chance of flare-ups).
The toppings for this burger was inspired by a Philly cheesesteak. The soft browned onions and peppers pair nicely with the crispy crust of the burger patties. One slightly sweet and the other slightly salty, they work together beautifully. You’ll want to prep the toppings before you start on the burger patties, because that step happens quickly. To cook the onions, peppers, and mushrooms, simply saute until they are soft and browned. Then, butter the buns and toast until golden. Set the veggies and buns aside and you’re ready to start on the meat!
How to Make Smashburgers
Using ground beef that contains at least 20% fat, roll two 4 oz balls. When your cooking surface is ripping hot, place the balls over the hottest part. Then, with a sturdy spatula, smash the patties flat. You might need to get creative to get a really hard press. We used an enamel camp mug to press down on the spatula, so we could really put our shoulder into the press.
Once the burgers have been completely smashed, sprinkle the tops liberally with salt. They will cook on this side for roughly 60 seconds. Once the crust forms, they will start to naturally release from the pan. Even still, you might need to do a little scraping to get them up.
Flip the patties over for just for a second. They don’t really need to cook on this side for long. Place a slice of provolone cheese over one and then place the other burger on top of it. Scoop them up with your spatula get it over to your bun. Top with the onions, peppers, and mushrooms, and dig in!
So if you’re looking to kick up your burger game and bring some new flavor and texture into the mix, then this smashburger recipe is perfect for you.
- 1 tablespoons oil
- ½ sweet onion, sliced thin
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 burger buns
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 lb. 80% lean/20% fat ground beef
- 2 slices provolone cheese
- Heat a griddle or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onions, peppers, mushrooms. and a pinch of salt and saute until soft and starting to brown, 10-15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Butter the burger buns and place them on your cooking surface for a few minutes to toast, then transfer to a plate and slather in mayo.
- Form the ground beef into 4, 4oz balls. Increase the heat to high. Place the balls on the griddle and using a sturdy spatula, smash the balls down onto the surface to make the patties as thin as possible. Cook for about 1 minute, until the meat begins to release from the pan and the bottom is well browned. Flip the patties, place provolone on top of two of the patties and then stack the remaining patties on top of the cheese.
- Remove from the heat and place on the buns. Top with the onions, peppers & mushrooms. Enjoy!