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Smash Burgers

Now is not the time to cut calories or skimp on salt. Go for ground chuck that is at least 80/20. If you can find a blend with ground brisket or short rib, all the better. The best burger comes with being liberal with kosher salt—it is beef's best friend. —James Schend, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (preferably 80% lean)
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, divided
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • Optional: Mayonnaise, sliced American cheese, sliced tomato, dill pickle slices, lettuce, ketchup and yellow mustard

Directions

  • Place a 9-in. cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, gently shape beef into 4 balls, shaping just enough to keep together (do not compact).
  • Increase burner temperature to medium-high; add oil. Working in batches, add beef. With a heavy metal spatula, flatten to 1/4- to 1/2-in. thickness; sprinkle each with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook until edges start to brown, about 1-1/2 minutes. Turn burgers and sprinkle with additional 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook until well browned and a thermometer reads at least 160°, 1 minute. Repeat with remaining beef.
  • Serve burgers on buns with toppings as desired.

Test Kitchen tips
  • Want a Smash Cheeseburger? Add a slice of your favorite cheese right after you flip it.
  • The more you work the ground beef the tougher the burger will be. So use just your fingertips to form the loose balls. Don't worry about tucking in all those loose strands that may stick out; they turn into well-browned bits of goodness.
  • There is a lot of flavor in the browning, so after you smash them don't move them until you're ready to flip. If you have the space, flip the burger onto an unused area of the skillet; it's much hotter than the section of pan where the burger was.
  • Using a meat mallet to press on the spatula while you're flattening the burgers will help to form them evenly and will help keep your spatula from bending.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 burger: 339 calories, 16g fat (5g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 760mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 24g protein.

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