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Cheddar-and-Onion Smashed Burgers

Photo: Marcus Nilsson
Total time 30 mins
Yield Makes 4 burgers
Inspired by the sliders at White Manna in Hackensack, New Jersey, Adam Fleischman creates beef patties by flattening balls of ground meat on the griddle.Tip: Burger purists handle ground meat as little as possible; over-working the beef can create a tight, meatloaf texture.

Ingredients

  • 16 thin bread-and-butter pickle slices, patted dry
  • 4 (4 inches each) potato buns, buttered and toasted
  • 1 1/4 pound (30 percent fat) ground beef chuck
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 small onions, sliced paper thin
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
  • Umami dust, for sprinkling (optional, see Note)

How to Make It

  1. Heat a cast-iron griddle until very hot. Layer the pickle slices on the bottom buns.

  2. Without overworking the meat, loosely form it into 4 balls and place them on the griddle. Cook the meatballs over moderately high heat for 30 seconds. Using a sturdy large spatula, flatten each ball into a 5-inch round patty. Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, until well seared. Press a handful of sliced onions onto each patty. Using the spatula, carefully flip each burger so the onions are on the bottom. Top with the cheese and cook for 2 minutes. Cover with a roasting pan and cook just until the cheese is melted, 1 minute more. Transfer the burgers with the onions to the buns and sprinkle with umami dust. Top with the buns and serve.

Cook's Notes

The Secret Seasoning To make simplified umami dust, use a spice grinder to pulse 3 tablespoons bonito flakes, 1/2 ounce crumbled dried kombu, and 1/2 ounce dried shitake mushrooms into a powder. Umami dust will soon be available at umamiburger.com.