Grilled Smash Burgers

Last summer, a friend introduced me to the concept of smash burgers - seasoned meatballs that get smashed into thin burgers in a cast iron skillet. They are quick, easy, and - let's face it - fun to make. But if you are making more than a couple, you'll need to repeat the process to feed your people. Unless you have a cast iron grill plate or two, a hot grill, and a backyard ready to host a great cookout!

I usually actually make the seasoned meatballs that become burgers the night before I'm grilling - or at least a few hours in advance. I find the very chilled meat holds together better and "squishes" in a more predictable way. If you are running short on time, you can always pop them in the freezer for a bit while your grill is heating up too. But yeah - keep the meat cool.

I love adding a slice of cheese between two thin patties and otherwise maybe a slice of beautifully ripe tomato on a lightly toasted bun. The texture on these fun burgers actually begs you to avoid a lot of toppings, but 'tis the time of the year for tomato slices!

Grilled Smash Burgers

  • 4 T. butter, melted
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • ¼ tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef

Mix the melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. Add the ground beef and carefully, using your hands, mix the meat into the butter sauce until a homogenous mixture forms. Split the meat into 4-6 meatballs, forming them gently. Place them back in the bowl or on a covered plate and chill until ready to grill. At least a 15 minute pause in the cold refrigerator will really help here.

When you are ready to grill, place a cast iron grill plate on your grill and prepare it for grilling (~400°F). When the grill is ready (you can test this without a temperature gauge on your grill by dropping a bead of water onto the metal plate - if it dances wildly, you are ready to go), place your chilled meatballs onto the grill plate. Leave enough room between the meatballs to be able to smash them and flip them without issue.

Once all of the meatballs are placed on the grill plate, begin smashing them flat (about ½-¾ inch thick) using a heavy spatula. Grill them for 3-4 minutes before carefully flipping the burgers and cooking them an additional 1-2 minutes or until you've reached your desired level of doneness. You can add cheese to any of them as desired, but my family loves adding a slice of cheese between 2 smash burgers for a real treat.

Serve the burgers with your favorite condiments, buns, and sides. Enjoy!

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes