Homemade Smash Burgers

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These Homemade Smash Burgers are the ultimate juicy restaurant burger lovingly grilled in your own backyard. They’re buttery, crisp, and made with simple quality ingredients. There’s no need to spend a ton of dough in a burger joint when you can make your own amazing smash burger at home.

Grilled cheeseburgers with sesame buns on black surface. Text reads "Homemade Smash Burgers".

What are Smash Burgers?

As the name suggests, a smash burger is a ground beef burger that has been formed by giving it a good smash on the griddle or in a cast iron skillet when cooking. Smash burgers are popular in burger joints because they cook really fast and are extremely juicy with gorgeous, crispy edges.

The key to cooking a good smash burger is to work quickly and enjoy while the burgers are hot off the grill, their juices sizzling and cheese melted to gooey perfection. Prior to grilling your burgers, make sure you have everything you’ll need on hand, so you’ll be ready to assemble the moment the patties come off the hot grill, maximizing that mouthwatering aroma. Finally, transfer these burgers to a plate or serving platter so they can be savored immediately, while the buns are still warm and soft.

This is everything you’ve ever wanted in a restaurant burger lovingly made in your own backyard. I’m not exaggerating when I say these were some of the best burgers I’ve ever made – juicy, flavorful, and satisfying to sink your teeth into. Check out the video below to see how quickly my family gobbled these up.

Balls of ground beef on metal baking sheet.

Ingredients for Smash Burgers

Start by gathering the following ingredients to make these smash burgers:

  • 2 pounds 85/15 ground beef chuck. Aim for ground beef with 15% fat so the edges will have that signature crunch.
  • 8 slices of American cheese. Yes, American. Nothing fancy here. We’re going for the classic restaurant flavor, and it’s gotta be American.
  • 8 hamburger buns. Stay away from sesame topped buns. Grab a soft hamburger bun for that perfect melt-in-your-mouth burger bite.
  • 1 yellow onion. Slice this onion nice and thin for a crisp crunch once it’s on the burger.
  • ¼ cup clarified butter (aka ghee). This is the secret to making a good smash burger. No substitutions allowed here.
  • Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub. My Beef Rub is an amazing salt and pepper-based rub that is great on beef. If you don’t have any of this awesome seasoning, you can also use equal parts kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
Sliced onions in oil on flat top grill.

Homemade Burger Sauce

Here’s what you’ll need for the homemade burger sauce:

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise. This provides a nice, creamy base for the sauce.
  • 3 dill pickles. Mince these nice and fine so they’ll incorporate into the sauce well. You can also use sweet pickles if you prefer a sweet pickle flavor.
  • 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce. I used my Everything BBQ Sauce for this recipe, but you can use your favorite. Some ketchup-based Kansas City BBQ Sauce would taste great as well.

If you have your own favorite burger sauce, by all means, go ahead and slather that on your burger. This sauce is loosely based on a Utah classic – fry sauce, which is basically a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup. With the addition of pickles and changing it up for BBQ sauce, this burger sauce is smooth and packs a tangy punch. Any unused sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or so to be used on other burgers or with french fries.

Smash burger patties on sliced onions on flat top grill.

How to Make Smash Burgers

Making the perfect smash burger is all about timing. Here’s how to make them:

  1. Turn on the griddle. I used my Camp Chef flat top griddle on medium-high heat for these smash burgers. This recipe is pretty versatile, so it can also be made on a 12-inch cast iron skillet or your stovetop.
  2. Make the patties. Divide your meat into 8 even patties, about 1/4-pound each. Do not flatten, rather make them into loosely formed balls. The more you handle the meat, the chewier they get.
  3. Make the burger sauce. Mix mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, and minced pickles together in a small bowl. Add more BBQ sauce as needed to get a nice, rosy pink-colored sauce.
  4. Griddle the burgers. Place the clarified butter on the griddle or in the skillet. Place the onions on the griddle and cook until they are beginning to caramelize. Divide them into 8 piles. Place a burger patty/ball right on top of the onions, and use a flat spatula to smash the burgers flat.
  5. Season the beef. Season the smashed burger with the beef seasoning or equal parts garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip the burgers, add one slice of cheese to each patty, and continue to grill until the burgers are cooked through and getting nice and crispy on the edges.
  6. Toast the buns. Add more clarified butter to the griddle and place the buns cut side down. Brush the clarified butter on the top of the buns while they are grilling. Remove when they are nice and toasty but not burned.
  7. Assemble the burgers. Place a dollop of burger sauce on the bottom bun, then top with the cheesy smashed burger patty and caramelized onions. Finish off with a buttery top bun.
Burger press pressing smash burger patties into onions.

Smash Burger Tips

If you do nothing more than follow the simple steps of the recipe, you’re going to get amazing burgers your family will love. But, I’ve got a few tips to help you take these smash burgers over the top:

  • Don’t over-handle. The more you handle your beef, the tougher and chewier the burgers will be. Loosely shape the meat into balls and then let the spatula do the work of flattening them.
  • Heavy metal. Use a stiff metal spatula or burger press to really press those burgers down onto the hot griddle. A plastic spatula won’t give you the same pressure and crispiness.
  • Toast the buns. Toasting the buns in clarified butter on the griddle adds more flavor and helps keep them crisp, even with a juicy burger.
A hand placing cheese slice on smash burger patties.

More Burger Recipes

If you loved these smash burgers, I’m betting you’ll love these other great burger recipes as well. They’re popular ones here at Hey Grill Hey, and are definitely worth a try. Give them all a try and let me know which one is your favorite:

Burger buns and patties with cheese on flat top grill.

Simple Smash Burger Recipe

Here’s hoping you loved this Homemade Smash Burger recipe. After you get done smashing these crispy, juicy, melty bad boys, tell me about your experience in the comments below. For even more recipes like this one, as well as killer sides, sauces, and more, be sure to check out the Hey Grill Hey app. I’ve got over 600 more amazing BBQ recipes for you to try next.

And don’t forget to share your picture-perfect smash burgers with me on social media. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and tag @heygrillhey, so we can all see your beautiful burgers.

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Homemade Smash Burger Recipe

By: Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)
0 from 0 votes
These Homemade Smash Burgers are the ultimate juicy restaurant burger lovingly grilled in your own backyard. They're buttery, crispy, and made with simple quality ingredients. There's no need to spend a ton of dough in a burger joint when you can make your own amazing smash burger at home.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time18 minutes
Servings8 people

Video

Ingredients
 

  • 2 pounds 85/15 ground chuck
  • 8 slices American cheese
  • 8 hamburger buns
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • ¼ cup clarified butter AKA ghee
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Beef Seasoning or equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Homemade Burger Sauce

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 dill pickles
  • 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the grill. Preheat your flat-top grill, griddle, or 12" cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Form the meat patties. Divide the ground beef into 8 even sections. Loosely form the meat into balls and set aside.
    2 pounds 85/15 ground chuck
  • Make the homemade burger sauce. Combine all ingredients for the burger sauce in a small bowl and stir to combine.
    ¼ cup mayonnaise, 3 dill pickles, 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • Grill the onions and smash the burgers. Spread some clarified butter on the grill or cast iron skillet and add the onions. Grill the onions until they start to soften. Divide the onions into 8 sections on your grill. Place a meat "ball" on top of each pile of onions and smash the ball flat with a spatula.
    ¼ cup clarified butter, 1 medium yellow onion
  • Grill the smashburgers. Season the flattened meat patties with Beef Seasoning and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip the burgers, add a slice of American cheese to each patty, and continue grilling for 3-4 minutes.
    2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Beef Seasoning, 8 slices American cheese
  • Toast the buns. While the burgers are cooking, melt more clarified butter on the cast iron skillet next to the burgers and place the buns cut side down on the grill. Brush more butter on the tops of the buns and toast for 1-2 minutes until the buns begin to turn golden brown. Do not flip.
    8 hamburger buns
  • Assemble the smashburgers. Remove the buns and meat from the grill. Place a dollop of burger sauce on the bottom bun, top with a cheesy patty and grilled onions, and finish with a bun. You can also make these with a double patty and 4 buns, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 945mg | Potassium: 441mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 253IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 329mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

**We originally published this post in September 2020, but we recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. However, the recipe remains the same.

About

FOUNDER/BBQ BOSS LADY

Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Reader Reviews

17 Reviews

  1. Carl Felty says:

    Good recipes! try it you’ll like it!

  2. Doc says:

    Who thought it was a great idea to have pop up ads appear multiple times over top of what we’re trying to read? I understand the need for monetization but that’s irritating beyond belief

    1. David says:

      ABSOLUETLY! She still hasn’t learned. Don with this site and others.

  3. dave says:

    Easy and quite tasty. We loved the recipe. Carmelized onions pushed them over the top.

  4. Scott Barnes says:

    I made some of these burgers a couple nights ago and they were a huge hit. My only issue was the patty sticking to the spatula after you smash the patty. My patties turned out pretty ugly (although they tasted great), so I’m wondering if there is some secret to getting the meat to release from the spatula? I also used a cast iron griddle on top of my regular grill, so I don’t think my surface got as hot as it should have because of the grills diffusers. Great excuse to buy a flat top, I guess! Lol Thanks for all the great recipes

    1. Phil P says:

      Parchment paper squares on top of the purgers.