There are few burgers that are more delicious and more lenient than a perfectly crafted smash burger. When firmly pressed on a hot baking surface, the patty’s well-charred crust, crisp edges, and intense taste are only enhanced with a layer of melting American cheese. Most often, the patty’s flattened and the oozing cheese will extend over the edges of the bun (ideally with toast of butter).
In burger joints all over all over the U.S., the smash burger has been the fad popular for quite a while now and, generally speaking the term “smash burger” refers to beef. The technique is able to make even ordinary meats taste more appealing. Why shouldn’t it be the same with other meats?
In a bid to cut down on her intake of beef, Mandy Lee, the food blogger from Hong Kong responsible for Lady and Pups, was determined to find a different food that could be mashed. Her first attempt was using thighs of chicken that were dark meat, which is much more effective than a more leaner chicken breasts to make but the end result did not meet the same standards as beef.
Then, the idea struck when she added ground chicken skins to the ground thigh meat. Lee received the full taste and crisp exterior she was looking for. “I don’t really miss a beef burger when I have a good chicken smash burger,” Lee said. “Chicken skin is one of the most underutilized weapons if you want to add flavor.”
Her method starts by freezing pieces of boneless skin-on chicken thigh. This way, she can get a fine, smooth ground of chicken that is covered in skin when she blends the whole thing with an food processor. If you didn’t, you’d get a bland paste.
Get how to make Chicken Crackling Smash Burgers here.
Lee creates 2 ounce patties. She pre-mashes the patties, places them between pieces of parchment paper, and then pops them back into the freezer for at least one hour. This second freezing allows an even cooking process when the patties are placed in with a hot pan. The high temperature changes the skin texture to crunchy crackling — the key ingredient here is deep caramelized crust, while the center is still juicy. A classic smash.
It’s normal for a barbecue pitmaster to come up with innovative ways to add a beefy heft to other types of meat. A new type of griddle was suggested to Christie Vanover to develop a recipe the pitmaster behind the Blog Girls Can Grill and current contestant on Food Network’s “BBQ Brawl” landed on an innovative method for making an encrusted shrimp hamburger.
Most recipes for shrimp burgers yield outcomes that are more of a crab cake than a burger. They are large, loose, and flimsy. The majority of the time, the ground shrimp is joined by a combination of breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, or egg. “So I was like, What if I got some jumbo shrimp and tried to smash it?” Vanover remembered.
Get how to make Smashed Shrimp Burgers with Garlic-Lemon Mayo here.
The best way to go was deveining the shrimp and mixing them with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and salt, crushing them on a hot grill and letting them flutter out. “You can feel the fibers in the shrimp break apart, and that’s what you want,” Vanover stated, “to get it as flat as possible.”
“What if I took a large shrimp and attempted to smash it? Would it happen?
In the midst of a scorching heat, sugars ooze onto the surface of the shrimp and then mix with the oil that is on the grill, creating an emulsified crust. For serving, the amount of shrimp in a bun will depend on the kind of shrimp you’re using. If you’re using jumbo shrimp (4-6 count per pound) will require about two per bun. However, if you opt for a smaller size, it’s likely to require three to four for each bun.
After trying Vanover’s method, I decided to top them by sprinkling them with American cheese, following the flipping of the shrimp. on a breaded bun that was butter-toasted and topped with tomato, lettuce and red onions that are thinly cut along with pickles and a drizzle of garlic-lemon mayo. This shrimp burger was deliciously tasty.
The most important aspect of a good hamburger is the proper lean-to-fat ratio. A great beef burger is likely to include 20 to 25 percent fat. Ground turkey, which is not an ingredient that I am a fan of–suddenly presented an interesting challenge. I wanted to know what would happen if it smashed.
To get surprisingly good results, try giving turkey the smash hamburger treatment. Check out the recipe below.
To make up for the ground turkey’s comparatively low fat content, I stuffed tiny pieces of cold butter. (Healthy it isn’t. But isn’t that what a hamburger is all about?) When the butter was melted, it coated the burgers and gave them flavor as well as the necessary caramelization. The burger was served to my four-year-old and a stern critic, I did not mention that the turkey used in the recipe. The verdict of his son: “Dad, this is really good.”
Chicken Crackling Smash Burgers
The method used in this recipe of grinding frozen pieces of chicken thigh meat and chicken skin creates a fine grind that is crispy and brown, just like the finest smash burgers. Making the bacon-like chicken “bacon” to garnish the hamburger is optional, but worth it to enjoy the crunch.
Total Time3 minutes and 3 hours minutes(includes freeze time)
MAKES: 10-12 patties
- 2 pounds of boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons of kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Six large chicken skin pieces (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- Six to 12 potatoes, cut in half
- 1 stick of unsalted butter softened
- Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons of canola oil
- 12-slice of American cheese
- Pickles sliced to serve