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Cheeseburger from 'The Menu'

Servings: 1 Burger

Servings: 1 Burger
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 oz ground beef
  • 4 slices yellow American cheese
  • seasoned salt
  • burger sauce of choice (half mayo, half ketchup)
  • pickle chips
  • thinly-shaved yellow onion
  • sesame seed bun
  1. If you're as annoying as I am, use a kitchen scale to weigh out two 3-ounce portions of ground beef. If that's not your style, you can also loosely pack a ⅓ cup measuring cup with ground beef to create equal portions.
  2. Once your beef is divided, lightly compress each portion into burger balls, just until everything adheres. You should still see the individual strands of ground beef instead of smashing them into a solid mass. "Work them as little as possible," Chef Benhase told BuzzFeed. "It's important to not emulsify the fats or warm them up."
  3. Once your burger balls are shaped, you can actually pop them on a plate and put them into the freezer until you're ready to cook them, as long you'll be ready in 15 minutes or less so they won't, you know, freeze. As the chef says, the colder the meat, the juicier it'll be.
  4. Get your buns nice and buttery and toast 'em. Over medium-low heat, melt the butter in your skillet and add the buns, cut side down. Toast them until they turn golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, and reserve until you're ready to plate. Chef Benhase specifies clarified butter (or ghee), which is usually pretty easy to find in professional kitchens. I used a tablespoon of regular butter to save time, and it ended up being fine. Just make sure to wipe the excess butter out of your skillet before searing the burgers so the butter doesn't burn and turn bitter.
  5. After wiping out the excess butter and sesame seeds in your skillet, crank up the heat. Like, a lot. You'll want to heat up your skillet to the point that a droplet of water actually beads up and dances around the skillet instead of immediately evaporating.
  6. Pop your cold burger balls onto your skillet and smash them. No need to add oil! I've found that the best method for smashing your burgers is to place a small sheet of parchment paper over each burger ball, place your sturdy flipper on top, and press the back of your flipper into the burger balls until they're flat. The parchment paper will peel right off the burgers, and your flipper won't get stuck to the ground beef.
  7. Season the raw side of the burgers generously, and lay the thinly shaved onions on top of each. When they did this in the movie, I was wowed. And in real life, it makes such a huge difference in the flavor department.
  8. Once the first sides have been seared for about 2 minutes, you'll flip them. "When flipping, you want to really scrape to make sure you don’t lose any of the crispy bits," Chef Benhase instructs. "The shaved onions will get trapped under the patties and start to steam and cook in the beef fat," he adds. They definitely will - and it's glorious. Flipping will also reveal a deep brown, crunchy crust on the cooked side, which is exactly what you're going for.
  9. Add your American cheese to the top of each burger, 2 slices per. To make it just like they did in The Menu, make sure the corners are slightly hanging off the sides of each patty. As the cheese melts, it'll start to give you those "fried egg edges," the chef says.
  10. While the cheese melts, add your pickles to the bottom toasted bun and slather your burger sauce of choice all over the top bun. I used a 1:1 ratio of mayo to ketchup here, and it was delish.
  11. As soon as the cheese is melted and turning golden brown at the edges, remove them from the skillet and onto your prepped burger bun. Really scrape the bottom of your skillet so you don't lose the onions or crispy cheese bits.
  12. Stack the patties, add the top bun, and you're ready to eat.
  • NOTE: If you'll be cooking up multiple rounds of smash burgers, you'll need some sort of heavy, flat-bottom object (not your hand!) to press down on the burgers since the flipper will be hot to the touch. A pepper grinder, heavy drinking glass, or even a meat tenderizer would all work nicely.

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