When you find yourself craving a homemade smashed burger but you don’t own a cast-iron skillet. Well don’t get too discouraged because you might be able to still make some awesome burgers. That is if you happen to have a stainless steel pan handy.
A stainless steel pan is a good substitute for a cast-iron skillet when cooking hamburgers. One benefit to using stainless steel is your smash burger patty will stick to the pan better than cast-iron. This is important for forming the crust that makes smashed burgers unique.
Stainless steel pans do not heat as evenly as cast-iron skillets. So you can end up with hotter and colder spots, but when it comes to cooking hamburgers stainless steel will work just as well.
Still if you aren’t used to cooking meats with stainless steel or its your first time trying to make smashed burgers this way. Then don’t miss these important tips to ensure you are using your pan correctly.
How To Make A Smashed Burger Patty
Starting with the patty itself is important when making smashed burgers. Because its one part of the burger that sets them apart.
If you really want a smashed burger that’s is as close to the real thing. You must start with the beef and forming the patty. Because it won’t be as special if you make it the same as your average hamburger patty.
So starting with the meat itself you want to use fresh as possible ground beef. The more stringy it is the better. Avoid the packaged ground beef that has been compressed and frozen.
Next comes forming the patties or also called a smashed patty. This should be the easiest part besides eating the smashed burger.
You don’t have to worry about shaping the patty perfectly. Just get it into a decently round meat ball. The rest will correct itself once you actually smashed the burger.
Some folks might say to only loosely pack the meat ball patty. But you might fight that your cooked patty crumbles this way. So I like to stay in the middle, don’t go too loose with your beef but also don’t over work it too much.
Also make sure to use a beef that has at least 20% fat. The fat is where much of the flavor is going to come from.
How To Cook Smashed Burgers With a Stainless Steel Pan
Okay before we get into the technique for actually smashing the burger. Let’s cover what you need to do with your stainless steel pan.
Most importantly before you begin cooking with the stainless steel pan. You should always preheat the pan before cooking meat.
First place your stainless steel pan on the stove top and turn on the heat to medium. Let it preheat for up to 5 minutes. Wet your fingers with water and flick down into the pan. So you are throwing drops off water into the heated pan.
When the pan is heated enough you will see the drops of water bead up and dance around. It actually is pretty cool to see!
No you are ready to add the meat into the pan. You don’t need to any butter or oil when making these smash burgers.
Now for the fun part of making smashed burgers, the smashing.
You can do this one of two ways. The first way is the easiest but its sort of like going only half way. The second way requires a special press and is how Smashburger makes them.
The first method requires only a spatula and you will simply press down on top of the patty. Here’s how to do this method step by step.
Method One (Spatula)
1. Form smash patties.
2. Preheat stainless steel pan.
3. Place your patty in the pan for 1 minute.
4. Flip patty over and then press down and smash the patty down.
5. Season the beef with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you choose.
6. You can choose how smashed you like them.
7. When going very thin leave a mound in the center and create a crispy crust around the rim.
8. Flip patty over and cook the other side completely.
9. Add any cheese or other toppings at this point.
10. Remove patty and place on a bun and enjoy.
Method Two (Burger Press)
1. Form smash patties
2. Preheat stainless steel pan.
3. Place your patty in the pan.
4. Immediately place hamburger press down onto patty. You want to go metal to metal. Meaning the metal of the press touches the metal of the pan.
5. Leave press smashed down for 10 seconds.
6. Remove the press and continue cooking.
7. Wait until the juices begin to bubble up through the patty. At this point the top will still have raw beef.
8. Season the beef with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you choose.
9. After juices begin to bubble, scrap up and flip over the patty. Making sure to get completely underneath it. You don’t want to remove the crispy layer from the patty. The whole thing should still be intact.
10. Add any cheese or other toppings at this point.
11. You can then remove the patty and place on a bun right away.
Tip: A metal spatula works much better for removing all of the smashed burger from the pan. As opposed to a flimsy spatula.
The second method is trickier but if you want a authentic smash burger then you should give it a try.
How to Keep Burgers from Sticking to the Pan
Preheating the stainless steel pan will prevent a lot of the sticking. It will help to sear the meat faster making a crispy layer that lifts off much better.
Bringing your beef to room temperature before cooking will help to keep burgers from sticking in the pan. Colder meat and foods tend to stick more to stainless steel.
You can use butter in the pan before you add your patty. Use melted butter and pour or brush in enough for the patty to cook on top of. Butter will burn quickly so add in the meat as soon as you place the fat in the pan.
Also removing any moisture from the patty before hand can help to prevent further sticking.
Can You Cook Burgers In a Non-Stick Pan
You can certainly use a non-stick pan to cook burgers. As with making smashed burgers in a non-stick. They can be done but the patty might not crispy up as well.
The good thing about having the beef stick is you end up with a caramelized crust. Non-stick pans will prevent a lot of that from forming without higher heat.
Unfortunately non-stick pans aren’t the safest to use will higher temperatures. As they start to give off smoke which could possibly be toxic.
Also when making smashed burgers you are going to be scrapping the bottom of the pan as you remove the patty. Non-stick pans scratch easily and scrapping them also removes the non-stick layers.
This not only shortens the life of the pan but can release potentially toxic layers of the non-stick coating into the food.
What you want and really need is a high quality genuine steel burger press like the professionals use. (Amazon Link)