By now, it should be common knowledge that if you’re not smashing your burgers, you’re doing it wrong. Having taken the culinary world by storm in recent years, smash burgers have revolutionised a meal that seemed beyond improvement. Despite their soaring popularity and mouthwatering flavour, many foodies leave the prep to the professionals and only enjoy smash burgers when eating out. In this article, we’ll share the burger expertise we’ve acquired from our restaurants in Canterbury and Milton Keynes so you can start enjoying homemade smash burgers in no time.

Homemade Smash Burgers: Everything You Need To Know

With origins dating back to the 1950s, smash burgers are believed to have been invented in a Kentucky fast-food restaurant called Dairy Cheer. After noticing one of his chefs smashing the beef patties with a large can of beans to cook them faster, owner Bill Culbertson was blown away by the difference in taste and made this his restaurant’s go-to patty frying method. In the decades that followed, smash burgers began popping up on fast-food menus all over the world, including our restaurants in Milton Keynes and Canterbury. So, what makes these burgers so delicious, and how can you replicate it at home? Keep reading to find out!

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    Smash Burger vs Regular Burger

    How can simply pushing the patty in on itself transform the flavour the way it does? We’ll have to turn to science for the answer. By applying pressure to the top of the patty, a Maillard reaction is triggered. In this chemical process, amino acids react with reducing sugars to brown the food and release that drool-worthy burger aroma. The newly formed thin patty cooks in a fraction of the time a regular patty does, beginning to crisp up after around 45 seconds.

    An integral part of the usual burger routine is selecting how you’d like your patty to be cooked. From rare to well-done, those looking to enjoy a regular beef patty are afforded this flexibility. Unfortunately, it’s more of a one-size-fits-all approach to smash burgers. As they’re so thin, it’s more challenging to regulate the internal temperature of the patty, so when they’re done, they’re done. This trademark crispy exterior and well-done centre has driven smash burgers into the spotlight and they don’t look like moving anytime soon.

    Triple smash burger

    Grill Or Griddle?

    While it may seem trivial, your patties’ cooking surface matters a lot. Grills and griddles deliver entirely different results and can’t be used interchangeably. If you’ve ever cooked beef patties on the barbecue, you might have noticed that they often curl up and away from the heat, curving in shape. This often results in uneven cooking, so pressing down on the patty, as you would when making smash burgers, will squeeze the juices out and dehydrate the meat.

    The best smash burgers are executed in a flat-top griddle or heavy-bottomed pan, like a cast-iron skillet. These pans conduct heat well and give you consistent control over the temperature. They’ll also collect the juices and fats that escape during the cooking and redistribute them back into the meat.

    5 smash burgers

    Choosing Your Meat

    Alongside your cooking apparatus, it’s important to consider which meat you should use for your smash burgers. The fat content of your mince will play a massive role in your burger’s flavour and texture. Generally, mince with about 20% fat is ideal for juicy and flavourful burgers. Fattier mince also maintains its structure best after being smashed. Why not try experimenting with other kinds of meat for a unique twist? Pork and lamb mince will react similarly to beef mince and offer an equally delicious alternative.

    Smash burger in hand

    Best Smash Burger Recipe

    In this recipe, we’ll walk you through our tried-and-tested methods for the ultimate meat feast in under 5 minutes. The speed at which smash burgers cook is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you’ve got a gourmet burger on your plate in no time; on the other hand, the margin for error is minimal. So, preparation is vital for any smash burger recipe. With that in mind, get your apron on; it’s time to smash!

    Serves: 1
    Recipe Time: 10 Minutes


    • 150g minced beef, ideally 20% fat
    • 1 brioche burger bun, toasted
    • 2 tsp bearnaise sauce
    • 1/2 shallot, diced
    • 1/4 iceberg lettuce, shredded
    • 1-2 pickles, sliced
    • Ketchup
    • American mustard
    • Generous pinch of salt
    • Extra virgin olive oil

    Burger Prep

    Before any grilling takes place, you’ll need to get a few things in order:

    • Firstly, toast your buns. Not only is this the best way to ensure the structural integrity of your burger, but it also takes the taste to the next level!
    • Next, shred your lettuce. If a beef patty is Batman, thinly sliced iceberg lettuce is Robin. They’re the perfect partnership.
    • Lastly, dice your shallots and slice your pickles.

    Smashing The Burgers

    This next stage will feel like 5 minutes of chaos, but the end result will be well worth it:

    • Place a large, heavy pan over a high heat and let it heat up for a few minutes. 
    • Grab the mince and roll it into a ball. Don’t pack it together tightly, as this will result in a less juicy burger.
    • Drizzle some oil into your searing hot pan, and place your beef ball into the centre.
    • Use a spatula (or burger press if you’ve come prepared) to press down on the burger. Ensure the pressure is even until the ball is reduced to a patty about 1cm thick.
    • Leave the patty to sizzle for 2 minutes, and do not touch it. This is where the Maillard reaction will take place.
    • Salt the top of the patty and add a drizzle of oil. 
    • Use a stiff spatula to get beneath the smashed patty and flip it. This should reveal a caramelised crust packed with flavour. 
    • Add another pinch of salt and cook for a further 2 minutes.
    • Once cooked, remove from the pan and start building your burger.

    Building The Burger

    Our chosen burger fillings guarantee deliciousness. However, you’re free to construct your burger however you wish. Here’s how we go about it:

    • Spread a small amount of ketchup and American mustard across the bottom bun.
    • On top of those sauces, add your diced shallots and sliced pickles.
    • On the top bun, spread a generous amount of bearnaise sauce.
    • Add your smashed patty to the base bun and top with your shredded lettuce. 
    • Bring the buns together and tuck in!

    And there you have it, the ultimate homemade smash burger! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different toppings and seasonings to find your perfect burger. Remember, the key is to use a high-quality beef mince with a good amount of fat, and a flat-top griddle or cast-iron skillet for cooking.

    Three smash burgers

    Smash Burger Seasoning Recipe

    For many, the perfect burger is achieved with just salt and pepper. However, those seeking the ultimate flavour experience may prefer more complex seasoning to satisfy their tastebuds. Luckily, our grilling expertise means we’re expertly placed to help you create your dream smash burger seasoning. This spice mix works with many meals, from mushrooms to meats, and can be made in minutes by combining the following ingredients:

    Serves: 8


    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • 1 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

    Smash burger and wings

    Smash Burger Sauce Recipe

    Burger sauce is undeniably one of the finest condiments around. But despite its widely loved flavour, it’s among the more difficult sauces to get your hands on, falling far behind ketchup, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce in the popularity contest. Fear not! This burger sauce recipe trumps any shop-bought condiment and perfectly compliments a smash burger. Creating the sauce is just a case of combining the ingredients and mixing; that’s why following these exact ingredients and measurements is essential for the perfect taste:

    Serves: 4
    Recipe Time: 5 minutes


    • 10 tbsp mayonnaise
    • 1 tbsp American mustard
    • 2 tbsp sweet gherkins
    • 2 tsp gherkin juice
    • 2 tsp caster sugar
    • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder

    Get Cooking… Or Don’t

    Now you’ve got all the information you need to dish up gourmet burgers and wow your family; what are you waiting for? Get cooking! These delicious recipes can all be prepared in under 10 minutes, so you’ll enjoy lip-smacking grub in no time. Remember to complete all of the preparation before frying your patties so you can enjoy your smash burgers straight out of the pan.

    That said, if you’re looking for mouthwatering food without any of the effort involved, you’re in the right place. Our menu has been crafted with the lazy foodie in mind, so you can enjoy your favourite mains, desserts, and drinks without so much as lifting a finger. For juicy smash burgers or finger-licking wings, order at our restaurant or for takeaway in Milton Keynes or Canterbury today.