This is the burger secret sweeping the US… and here’s how to nail the ‘ultra-smashing’ technique

AMERICANS have been ditching the big juicy cheeseburgers of the past and are replacing them with flat sloppy joes that apparently have MORE flavour.

Common belief has always been that a good burger should be fat, juicy and pink inside and to cook it perfectly, you need an oiled grill and a careful hand, to avoid squeezing any juices out.

But there’s something of a burger rebellion happening on America’s east coast, and it’s beginning to spread.

As documented by The Food Lab, whose recent instructional guide has been covered widely across the US over the past two weeks, the most delicious way to make a burger involves by breaking all the rules.

The secret is a technique called “ultra-smashing”, a phrase coined by The Food Lab for a process that’s being used by burger


With just a couple of pieces of equipment and a small piece of meat, it creates a flavour-packed burger in under a minute.

All you need is:

— A stainless steel pan, or BBQ hotplate. Your favourite non-stick pan won’t work here.

— Any tool that will help you press down on the meat as hard as possible once it’s on the pan.

— A scraper to dislodge the meat from the pan.

To cook:

Heat the unoiled pan to nearly smoking and roll your mince (the fattier the better) into a 5cm diameter ball.

Place the meat into the centre of the pan and immediately press down on the patty with the trowel or spatula, applying extra pressure with the scraper if needed.

Keep pushing as hard as you can until the meat is only a few millimetres thick. This does a couple of things:

It creates the largest possible surface area on the meat which, unoiled, sticks immediately to the pan.

This triggers something called the Maillard Reaction, which is the scientific name for the process of meat browning.

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Generally speaking, the more brown you get your meat crust, the more flavour you get in your dish, so this is maximum burger flavour.

It also cooks the meat so quickly that moisture doesn’t get a chance to escape. Your finished patty will be much juicier than if you’d left it to grill over a medium heat.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the uncooked side of the patty, then get your spatula/scraper, and begin dislodging the meat from the pan. This is why you’ll need a stainless steel pan.

Remember, the more stuck the meat is, the more flavour you’re ending up with.

Flip the meat and place a slice of cheese immediately on the cooked side. The residual heat will melt it to perfection.

After five or six seconds, remove the meat from the pan and slide onto your bun. Add a second meat patty if you like, and finish with pickles, white onion, mustard and ketchup, or whatever else you love on your burgers.

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