The Food Lab's "smash burger"

This actually sounds pretty good.

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Love when food myths are debunked by experience and good science. Mindlessly following the herd has never appealed; I’m usually the fish swimming against the rest of the school. I’ll give this a try even down to weighing the meat (first time). A blazing hot pan and a couple of minutes is not too much to ask of a genius idea. Thanks for sharing.

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My pleasure. I’m the same way. It sounds scrumptious. We grind our own meat and make/freeze 4oz patties so this is easy for us.

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I have found that even thicker patties can hold up to a good smash initially - like Kenji says, the meat and fat are still too cold for that initial smash to release the juices. I usually start with patties about 1" thick and let the initial smash reduce them to 1/2" or so. Once you let them cook a bit, then flip and brown the other side, the meat will have contracted enough to return them to 3/4"-1" thickness, which still allows for a rare or med-rare center.

I’ve always made my burgers by smashing them - and not because I am some genius at how to make the juiciest burger, but because my kids started making them this way when they were still little. I taught them how to make schnitzel, by slicing the chicken breasts sideways, and smashing each one with the back of a small cast iron pan before I seasoned them and put them immediately in hot oil - and they just assumed that burgers are made the same way - and we’ve been eating them like this ever since. The first time we went to Shake Shake, my youngest said “Hey, they make their burgers like you!”


Been smashing for a while now. But every so often I want a nice thick juicy burger, med to med rare. Those tenderloin sliders I posted not long back were definitely smashed

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I have been smashing forever . I like my burgers thin . On a cheap bun with ketchup and mayo .No veggies . Damburger in Redding has been making the thinnest , tastiest burgers for quite some time . Kenji is way behind the times .

Kenji made them on the Today Show this week, and they were a huge hit. Guess I need to hit up Home Depot for a trowel and paint scraper before Monday! HA

Today Show

Is it not an important distinction that the smashing is occurring when it’s still cold? You wouldn’t want to do this after it’s hot, right?

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Yes cold initial smashing and a not so aggressive smash when flipped

Very interesting, I’m not a burger smasher (I’m not even much of a burger maker), but I might just have to try this this weekend.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr