The smash burger is a diner-style burger made on a griddle. It's a classic. To replace the griddle that makes for those crispy edges, use a cast iron pan on either a stovetop or on your BBQ. Coarse ground beef is better and it should contain at least 20% fat. In this case, stay away from extra lean or if you are going with the leaner ground beef, add 1 a few splashes of EVOO to your mix. Keep the meat in your fridge until ready to cook. And use a spoon or ice cream scoop instead of your fingers to make your paddy. When heated, place the ball into the pan, smash it firmly, rough edges are good, and let it caramelize. It's simple, but a glorious homemade holiday splurge.

TIPS to get the perfect smash burger with a crisp exterior:

  • Pre-heat grill or stovetop to receive cast iron pan or griddle. It should be hot before you add oil and then the raw meat.
  • Do not make a patty with the meat before frying. Simply place a mound of raw meat (enough for a patty) in pan or griddle before pressing down with a stiff, large metal spatula.
  • Smash the meat firmly, only once at the outset, keeping most of the fat inside the burger. The patty should be on the thin side, with rough, almost frilly edges.
  • Avoid moving the patty while cooking for maximum caramelization.
  • Don't be afraid to use store-bought condiments. It's part of the fun.

2 tbsp fresh olive oil for pan, extra if adding to very lean ground beef
1 pound medium/lean ground beef, at least 20% fat (not extra lean)
4  to 8 cheese slices (or if preferred, thinly sliced cheddar)
Soft potato rolls/buns, sliced horizontally, then toasted 
Kosher salt to taste
Optional condiments: Drizzles of infused GARLIC olive oil & FIG balsamic, store-bought ketchup and mayonnaise, lettuce, dill pickle slices 

Heat pan medium-high. Add olive oil. Divide ground beef into 2 to 3 inch round balls, not patties. Place in pan 1 or 2 at a time. Leave lots of space between the two. Take a flat metal spatula and form a patty with rough edges. Avoid trying to round the edges. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Cook for 2 minutes, undisturbed, until pan-side of patty is completely seared and you can lift freely. Flip and place one to two cheese slices on top. Cook for 1 minute until cheese is completely melted. Place on potato roll/bun. Add condiments.