Okay, we realize that’s quite a claim we’re making in the title of this post, but adjectives such as “amazing” and “awesome” just didn’t quite capture our ebullient opinion of this burger.
We found the recipe in the June 2011 edition of Food & Wine magazine, in which the debate between grilled and griddled burgers is convincingly satisfied. To no surprise to us, the griddled burger wins out. The article goes on to say why and even gives a few griddled burger recipes, including this one from Adam Fleischmann, founder of the Umami Burger chain in Los Angeles.
Smashed Burgers by Adam Fleischmann (makes 4 patties)
- 1 1/4 pounds freshly ground beef chuck
- Half a white onion, sliced into rings
- 4 slices yellow American cheese (Adam uses cheddar, we prefer American)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 or 4 bakery fresh potato buns (we used kaiser buns from Fresh Market – you want a chewy bun)
First of all, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, go out and buy one. Just do it. You know you’ve been meaning to. There’s no excuse. You can find one at Target, already seasoned, for around $40 bucks – and it will last you a lifetime.
Now, we’re not going to lie to you, ground chuck burgers cooked in a cast iron skillet smoke a lot. You have some options here: 1) Take the batteries out of your smoke alarm, 2) Use a good vent hood or 3) Cook outside on one of these or on your grill, like we do. The picture above shows that a 12″ skillet will fit perfectly on a Mini sized Big Green Egg.
It’s important to set out all your ingredients, because these burgers are done in 5 1/2 minutes from start to finish. Divide the beef into four loosely formed balls (five ounces each). Don’t compress the beef a whole lot – handle it as little as possible. Slice your onions into rings and separate them. Have your cheese slices, salt, and pepper handy as well, and your buns sliced. If you like a toasted bun, do that before you start the burgers. You’ll also need a lid to cover your skillet for the last portion of the cook.
Heat your skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Place two of the meatballs on the skillet with equal spacing between them and the sides of the skillet.
Allow the meatballs to sear for 30 seconds, then flatten each into a 5″ diameter patty using a heavy-duty spatula. After flattening, let them cook for 2 minutes.
While the burgers are cooking on this first side for 2 minutes, season them with salt and pepper, and press into them some of the sliced onion rings.
When the 2 minutes have elapsed, carefully flip the burgers so that the onions end up underneath the patties. Add the cheese and cook for 2 more minutes. Then add the lid and cook for 1 more minute to completely melt the cheese.
That’s right – 5 1/2 minutes and dinner is ready. We chose to serve these up as a double-stack. Oh, and don’t worry about additional condiments – you won’t need them.
Juicy, tender, and rich in flavor, these old-school style griddle burgers are good to the last bite.
Do yourself a favor and try these burgers – you won’t be sorry. And you may never go back to grilled burgers again.