How to make Smoked Smash Burgers at Home

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If you’ve never made your own smash burgers at home, you should try this recipe.

The wonderful mix of textures and tastes, including a seared skin and a delicate touch of smoke, elevates them beyond standard grilled burgers.

What’s the difference between a ‘Smash’ burger and a regular burger?

How to make Smoked Smash Burgers at Home

A smash burger is made by pressing (or crushing) the beef patty against the griddle surface as it is cooking.

This method produces a lot of gorgeous crisp edges while also allowing the burger to cook quickly, making them popular in restaurant kitchens. But there’s no reason why you can’t make this kind of burger at home.

But I was told to never push down on a burger

How to make Smoked Smash Burgers at Home

There has long been discussion about whether or not to push burger patties while they cook. When grilling, it’s common wisdom not to crush burgers, and this is especially true when cooked on grates.

The rendered fats are forced out of the burger and onto the flames below when you press down on it while it cooks on grates over an open fire. Not only may this produce flare-ups and grill fires, but it also creates the ideal environment for a dry puck of charred meat.

When to smash burgers

Cooking on a flat surface, such as a griddle or frying pan, keeps the produced fat confined on the stovetop and allows it to disperse in and around the meat.

The caveat is that you should only crush the meat when it is initially put on the grilling surface. Set your cooktop to high heat and then pound the uncooked patties down with your preferred burger press, applying pressure for at least three to five seconds.

This setup is ideal for the Maillard reaction between the meat and the cooktop, which produces a crusty sear every time. The beef fat renders quickly and hotly, frying in its own juices and retaining the taste in the meat rather than the flames.

This strategy’s current success may be traced back to the mainstream chain SmashBurger, as well as several rivals and social media pop-ups adopting the same method.

For thick burgers, avoid using the smash burger approach. The reverse sear approach is ideal in this scenario.

How to smash burgers like a pro

With the introduction of retail griddles like Blackstone, PitBoss, and CampChef, smashing burgers like a pro at home has never been simpler.

The goal is to make your cooking surface scorching hot. High heat is required or your burger edge will steam rather than caramelize.

To get that signature crust, you need high heat.

  • There is no need to add external oil if you are using a nonstick surface, such as cast iron or a seasoned griddle top; the burgers have enough fat, however extra butter will enhance taste.
  • If you’re using stainless steel, you’ll need to add an external fat source to prevent the burgers from adhering, which will cause your beautiful sear to adhere to the pan.

Once the pan or surface is hot, plop the meat ball down and pound it into the surface with a burger press. Hold it there for three to five seconds before removing your press, taking care not to shred the meat.

Use good meat and quality ingredients

Burgers, like any other meal, are only as delicious as their components.

When feasible, buy high-quality meat and vegetables from local merchants or butchers. Read the labels at the grocery store or ask the butcher where the meat originated from and how it was grown.

We utilized grass-fed New Zealand beef from Silver Fern Farms, which was kindly sent to us to trial.

The same is true for the burger toppings. High-quality vegetables grown without pesticides, as well as high-quality cheese from contented cows, all contribute to the overall taste profile of the finished dish.

How to make smash burgers (step by step instructions)

This burger recipe is straightforward and uses just a few high-quality ingredients. The buffalo ranch includes more ingredients, but the most of them should be in your pantry.

You may always use store-bought ranch dressing or substitute another dressing.

1. Get everything you need ready

For the burgers (yields 4 burgers):

  • 20 to 1 fat ratio1 pound of high-quality ground beef (at least 80 grams)
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 onion sliced and caramelized
  • 4 slices Havarti cheese
  • 8 slices thin-cut bacon or make your own
  • Dill pickles
  • Brioche hamburger buns
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • Half cup water
  • A grill or smoker set for indirect smoking
  • A griddle or heavy-bottomed frying pan
  • Flat bottomed burger press

For the Buffalo Ranch:

  • tsp kosher salt
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise I used Dukes
  • cup buttermilk
  • cup flat-leaf parsley minced
  • 2 tbsp green onions, greens only minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill minced
  • tsp distilled white vinegar
  • tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • tsp paprika
  • tsp black pepper
  • tsp cayenne to taste

2. Smoke the burgers

This step is optional, particularly if you want to cook your smashed burgers on a griddle over charcoal. But I’ve discovered that it’s the greatest approach to obtain a wonderful smoky taste.

You don’t want a high temperature that will start to fry the burgers at this phase. You want to maintain the temperature low enough that the smoke penetrates the meat without cooking out the lipids.

I’m using the Z Grills 700D3 and their own oak pellets. The Z Grill’s smoke setting measured between 160F and 180F, with plenty of smoke movement.

Form the meat into 1-pound patties and roll into balls. Place the balls immediately on the smoker racks and smoke for 30-40 minutes, or until the color darkens somewhat.

You may make the sauce, onions, and bacon while they smoke.

When the meat is done, take it from the smoker and set it aside to cool.

3. Make the Buffalo Ranch Sauce

Pour the salt over the chopped garlic in a nonreactive bowl. Mash the garlic with a fork to make a paste. (Alternatively, the knife approach may be used)

Whisk together all of the other ingredients, except the buttermilk, in a separate dish or with a stand mixer.

Once everything is properly combined, carefully add the buttermilk until you get a creamy consistency. If you like a hotter sauce, add extra cayenne pepper to taste or your favorite buffalo hot sauce, such as Franks Red Hot.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 2 cups.

4. Cook your bacon and onions

Preheat half of the griddle to medium and the other to medium-low. I’m using the CampChef Flat Top Grill 600. Place the bacon slices on a medium heat side, about an inch apart.

Allow the bacon grease to render before spreading it on the medium-low side of the griddle. Toss the onion pieces with the bacon grease to coat. Sprinkle salt over the onions and let aside until they begin to brown on the bottom.

When one side of your bacon has reached the desired crispiness, flip it. When the bacon is done to your taste, transfer it to a platter lined with paper towels.

Meanwhile, turn the onions over and caramelize the other side until they are a golden brown throughout and limp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

5. Burger smash time

When the bacon and onions have been removed, wipe the griddle clean with paper towels and turn the heat up to high.

When the griddle top begins to smolder, set the four beef balls on the stovetop, leaving at least four inches between them.

Smash the burgers on the griddle for 3 5 seconds using a burger press. Slide the burger press off the top of the meat carefully, taking careful not to damage it. Go around the edges of the burger patty to ensure it sticks to the griddle. Here, jagged edges are your friend.

Season the burgers with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes, or until juices begin to pool on top of the burger and the outside edges are brown.

Flip the burger using a spatula. Take cautious not to tear the sear off the burger. You’ll need to scrape the sear off the griddle top with a spatula so it remains with the meat and doesn’t stick to the burner.

Season with salt and pepper after flipping. Drizzle water over the edges of each burger and top with one slice of Havarti cheese. The steam will aid in the melting of the cheese on the burger. Allow to cook for another 1 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the burgers are medium-rare.

Remove the burgers and cover with foil while you make the buns.

6. Assemble the burgers

Begin with one brioche bun’s heel. On the bottom bun, spread roughly a teaspoon of buffalo ranch. Add 3-4 dill pickles that touch the bun’s edges.

Top the pickles with a burger patty. Finish with a leaf of butter lettuce and two slices of caramelized onions.

Spread extra buffalo ranch on top of the bun and place it on top of the burger. Serve right away.

Favorite burger recipes to try

  • Big Mac Copycat Smash Burgers With Crispy Bacon
  • Grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burgers
  • Smoked Burgers With Fennel and Pear Slaw

Other delicious burgers to try

  • Big Mac Copycat Smash Burgers With Crispy Bacon
  • How to make Smoked Smash Burgers at Home
  • Grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burgers
  • Smoked Burgers With Fennel and Pear Slaw


How to make smash burgers on a pellet grill?

Season ground beef into 3oz-4oz balls with salt and pepper or Beef Rub.
When ready to cook, preheat the Traeger to 450°F with the lid closed for 15 minutes.
Fat or butter should be used to grease the griddle.
Cook until the burgers are golden brown.

What kind of meat is used for smash burgers?

To produce excellent smash burgers, use ground chuck or 80% lean ground beef; anything leaner will result in dry burgers. Before cooking, make sure the patties are completely cold. When you put the burgers in the pan, crush them quickly and don’t smash them again.

How do you add smoke flavor to burgers?

When preparing hamburgers, use 14 to 12 teaspoon Wright’s® Hickory Liquid Smoke per pound of ground beef. Brush 12 teaspoon Wright’s® Hickory Liquid Smoke, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, and 1 tablespoon water on burgers before cooking if using prepared patties.

Can you smoke burgers on a pellet smoker?

One advantage of cooking on a wood pellet barbecue is that your cooked burgers will have a wood-fired taste. Set the temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit or Smoke or Super Smoke depending on the grill you use for 25-30 minutes to make smoked burgers.

How long does it take to smoke burgers on a pellet?

Smoking burgers on a pellet barbecue takes 45 minutes to an hour. You start by smoking at 225°F with heavy smoke. After approximately 25-30 minutes, remove the burgers, raise the temperature of the smoker to its maximum setting, and return them to the grill for another 8 minutes.

How much meat do you need for a Smashburger patty?

Divide your meat into four loosely packed balls to form a Smashburger. For this, I wouldn’t bother with a scale. Four loosely packed balls will be around the same size if you eyeball them. This recipe calls for one pound of beef, so each burger should be four ounces.

Why do smash burgers taste better?

Smashing the burger creates a sear on the exterior of the meat, locking in all of the juices and taste. Because there is less surface area for the fat to flow onto the heat source, this approach also helps to reduce flare-ups on the grill or griddle.

Why do smash burgers taste different?

When your beef patty is heated, the amino acids and sugars inside it begin to react, resulting in flavor and color changes. When you “smash” the burger patty, you increase the surface area for the Maillard process to occur.

How to make smoke flavor at home?

Paprika that has been smoked. There are several paprika variations available, ranging from the classic, sweet sort used to top deviled eggs to the fiery stuff that lends a kick to any meal.
Olive oil that has been smoked.
Cardamom, black.
Chili peppers.
Cheese that has been smoked.
Lapsang Souchong is a kind of tea.
Salt that has been smoked.
Smoke in liquid form.

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