Why It Works
- Smashing down on the burger patties within the first 30 seconds of hitting a hot skillet ensures maximum juiciness and a flavorful, well-browned crust.
- Using a well-heated, heavy-bottomed skillet helps the crust brown evenly.
- A firm, flat metal spatula helps to get every last bit of crust off of the skillet.
” Never ever press down on your burger ! ”
How many times have you read that in a bible or heard a television receiver chef say it ? “ It squeezes the juices out ! ” “ It turns your lunch into a field hockey puck ! ” sometimes they ‘ll try and appeal to your compassionate side. “ surely there are some things that deserve crushing. Evil grapes. T-800 model Terminators. Rebel trash trapped in pan disposals. But what has that poor, defenseless small burger ever done to you to deserve such a destiny ? ”
Reading: Classic Smashed Burgers Recipe
You ‘ve heard it so many times you can’t help but believe it ‘s on-key, right ?
well o, Mr. Smarty-Chef, I ‘ll believe you, but first, you must answer me these questions three :
- Question the first: One of my favorite burgers in New York—the one that folks’ll stand in line for an hour to get—is smashed. How does the Shake Shack burger still retain such abundant juiciness?
- Question the second: The SmashBurger chain of fast-casual burger joints has built its reputation on its smashing technique. Are all of its fans (which are legion) deluded into enjoying the flavor of dry hockey pucks?
- Question the third: I just had what was the finest burger I’ve tasted in recent memory at Off-Site Kitchen in Dallas where—guess what?—the burgers are smashed. What gives?
now, these questions are largely rhetorical, and anybody who ‘s been making burgers for a while or has been reading unplayful Eats for long enough knows the answer : not smashing your burgers is always, sometimes, lone sort of occasionally, good advice .
When is it okay to smash your burgers and when is it not ? Well beginning, let ‘s consider the advantages of smashing a burger .
A effective Crust Creates Deep Flavor
There ‘s actually only one reason to do it, and it ‘s the reason that all three of the burgers I mentioned above ( a well as countless others ) taste therefore commodity : The Maillard chemical reaction. The Maillard reaction—also known as the browning reaction*—is a serial of chemical reactions that take place when protein-rich foods are heated. big proteins break into smaller compounds, which react with others and recombine into new configurations. They break apart again, recombine, and on and on in a shower of chemical reactions that create hundreds of brand new compounds .
*This is not to be confused with caramelization, which is a reaction that takes position when boodle is heated. You ca n’t caramelize a steak or a burger, no matter what any television receiver chef tells you !
It ‘s what creates the crust on your steak or hamburger, the fortunate embrown coloring material on your pledge, and the complex, pleasing aromas and flavors that accompany that browning. It ‘s the smell of a steakhouse and fresh bread from the oven. And it ‘s the smell of a good hamburger joint. It does n’t good make kernel taste good, it actually makes it taste more meaty .
Most of the browning reactions do n’t take identify until foods are heated to at least 300°F ( 150°C ) or so, and are greatly accelerated at temperatures higher than that, so if maximizing embrown is your goal when cooking a burger ( and it should be ! ), then it ‘s plain to see why smashing a burger can improve its spirit : It maximizes contact with the pan, which means it increases the surface area directly in contact with the hot metallic and therefore maximizes embrown .
While it ‘s true that given enough time you can brown even a non-smashed burger, there are a couple of problems. If the heat is excessively high, the browning will be uneven—at worst, the bits of meat directly in contact with the frying pan or griddle will burn before the bits elevated above it can even begin to brown by rights. With lower heat, you can get more even browning, but it takes longer—long enough that your burger will end up overcooking in the middle ( and overcook is the real way to dry burgers ) .
Smashing allows you to get a deep brown crust before the home overcooks, even with a relatively small patty .
Proper Smashed Burgers Are All About Timing
thus when is it not a commodity theme to smash ? Well, there ‘s the obvious : you ca n’t smash a hamburger on a grill .
But what about in a frying pan or griddle ? I cooked through a couple twelve burgers smashing at diverse stages during cook in order to make sure. The results ? If you do n’t want to lose juices, you must smash within the first 30 seconds of cook .
When reason gripe is coldness, its fat is still solid and its juices are however held securely in place inside little, chopped up segments of muscle fibers. That ‘s the reason why you can push and press on ground kernel without squeezing out excessively much fluid, and the reason why you can smash a hamburger during the initial phases of cooking without fear of losing moisture .
But what happens after that initial cook phase as the kernel warms up ?
When you look at a hamburger under a microscope, you basically see what amounts to an interconnected network of proteins interspersed with fat and water-based liquids. Like all meats, as a burger cook, this protein network tightens, squeezing out liquids. simultaneously, the fat begins to render and liquefy, allowing it to be squeezed out mighty along with the other juices .
If you squeeze a in full cook ground beef, it will exude massive amounts of juice.
Read more: How to Make Friendship Bracelets
In a by rights formed burger—one that is made with kernel that ‘s been earth by rights, kept chilled, and minimally handled while shaping—the protein matrix is relatively free. even once adipose tissue has been liquefied and the protein network tightens, juices can remain trap in the patty, lone getting released when you bite into the hamburger, in a lot the like means that liquids can be trapped in a mooch and only released by squeezing .
Press down on a hamburger during this phase, and the juices come gushing out into the frying pan or onto your coals. You ‘re left with what amounts to a meat patty with the texture of a sponge that ‘s been run through a ringer .
All burgers will lose weight as you cook them—it ‘s not possible to hold on to all liquefied fatten and exuded juices. In my testing, four-ounce burgers that started as round pucks and were smashed down to a half-inch thickness any meter before 30 seconds inactive lost a little over 20 % of their system of weights while cooking. This was comparable to four-ounce burgers that were formed into 1/2-inch disks and cooked with no smash at all. Both burgers tasted quite juicy, while the smash hamburger had better season ( obviously ! ) .
once you start smashing after the 1 minute distinguish, juices in truth start to flow and you end up with a dramatically dry burger—a beneficial 50 % more moisture is lost in a burger smashed after 1 minute versus one smashed within 30 seconds .
Move into the territory of double- or even triple-smashing—that is, smashing once at the begin, then getting impatient and crush again and again during the center and latter phases of cooking—and a hamburger can easily lose half of its weight to the evil griddle gods. I ‘ve seen more than one short ordering cook at a greasy spoon with a stand-in of orders resort to this dastard method acting, and not once have I always taken more than one pungency of a hamburger that ‘s been exposed to it .
If you ‘ve read my breakdown of the Fake Shackburger, you already know the best way to cook a smash burger at base. But I realized that I ‘ve never produced a more generic recipe for a classical bankrupt hamburger, so here you go .
Three Rules for Smashed Burger Success
other than the basic rules of burgers ( use meat with at least 20 % adipose tissue ; make it with a dependable blend of cuts or straight ground vomit, preferably newly grind ; and do n’t add salt or other seasonings until after the patties are formed ), making a smash hamburger is simpleton. just follow these basic rules :
rule 1 : Use a good stainless steel steel, carbon steel, or cast iron frying pan.
The finish is sweetheart, even heat, so you want to use a relatively thick pan and allow it to preheat for long enough that there are no hot or cool spots. I let my pans preheat over culture medium hotness for a few minutes, pumping them up to high equitable before I add the kernel. Do n’t use a non-stick pan, as the high heat required for a thoroughly crust is damaging to non-stick coatings and can cause the coatings to vaporize. You do n’t want to breathe that debris in .
dominion 2 : Smash early and smash hard.
I have a thick, flat, hardy metallic spatula specially devoted to the job of smashing burgers. You ‘ll need one to do this properly. Form four to five ounces of kernel into a puck about 2 inches high, season liberally with salt and pepper, and place it on the preheat frying pan, then smash down on it with the spatula, using a second spatula to add pressure if necessary. then just cook without moving until a deep brown crust develops. This ‘ll take about a infinitesimal and a half .
principle 3 : Leave no crust behind.
The whole finish of smash is to develop a courteous, deeply browned crust, so it ‘s important that you scrape it all up intact. once again, a sturdy metallic spatula is your friend. I find that flipping the spatula top down to help scrape the crust off is pretty effective. If your crust is properly developed and your burger properly smashed, it should spend very little clock on its second gear side—just enough to finish cooking through and to allow cheese to melt ( if added ), about 30 seconds or so .
Click Play to See This Classic Smashed Burger Come Together
Category : How To
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