By Christie Vanover | Published July 28, 2018 | Last Updated July 11, 2022
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.
Before we get to this sumptuous smash burger, I’d like to tell you a little bit about why I cook with Certified Angus Beef® brand.
Why should you care about the brand?
Among all of the different types of products out there, we all seem to latch onto our favorites. Why is that? Well, it usually comes down to quality, dependability and overall satisfaction. If you fall in love with a pair of jeans, you know you can get another pair from the same brand and you’ll be happy.
I feel the same way about beef.
Sure, we’ve all heard of USDA Choice and Prime, and we know about Angus beef.
But Certified Angus Beef® brand is different.
The non-profit organization was started by Angus producers in the 1970s. The group of ranchers took great pride in the quality beef they were producing, but when it hit the shelves, it was packaged alongside average beef.
Even other Angus beef wasn’t the same, because only one in four Angus cattle meet the brand’s 10 exacting standards.
This left consumers confused.
Some days, consumers would take home an amazing steak, and other days, they’d get a steak that was hard to chew. Because it was all packaged the same, the level of consistency was lacking.
By establishing the Certified Angus Beef® brand, the ranchers could make their beef stand out on the shelves, so consumers would know that selecting a package with their brand label guaranteed a steak with generous marbling and flavor.
From California to New York and Montana to Texas, ranchers are celebrating Certified Angus Beef® brand’s 40th anniversary by painting the recognizable red and yellow logo on 40 barns around the country.
To this day, the rancher-created brand remains rancher-owned and rancher-run.
A few of my blogger friends had the chance to visit a barn as it was being painted. View their posts below. To find a barn near you, visit the Brand the Barn website.
Now that you know why I used Certified Angus Beef® brand for this smash burger, let’s get into the recipe.
Cows make bacon, too.
Say what? You betcha. You’ve gotta try smoked beef bacon on top of your next burger.
I’ve made a lot of fancy burgers in my life, but this one is all about that quality beef. From the 80 percent lean ground chuck to the crispy beef bacon, there’s not much else you need to sandwich between the bun.
Let’s start with the Schmacon™. It prides itself as “Beef’s Answer to Bacon™.” It’s made by the folks over at Schmaltz Deli, a classic Jewish deli near Chicago. They use a special cut of Certified Angus Beef® brand from the plate (underbelly) of the cow and cure it using natural seasonings – no nitrates.
You can cook it in a skillet or the oven…or my favorite…the grill. I flip a grill grate upside down, so the surface is flat like a griddle.
Heat your grill to 400-425F degrees. After 4-5 minutes on each side, you have crispy, smoky beef bacon.
Time to get smashed
You’ll use that same griddle to cook the smash burger.
For a truly flavorful burger, I recommend using ground beef with higher fat content. Use at least an 80/20 meat to fat ratio.
Shape the beef into a ball, but keep it fairly loose. If you pack it too tight, your patty won’t be as tender.
When you place it on the griddle, you’ll need one spatula to smash it down, and the handle of another to apply pressure to help press it as flat as possible. (Yes my spatula has a beer opener on the end.) Always prepared!
After a few minutes, it will develop a nice crust. Flip it. Season with salt and pepper, and top with my favorite burger cheese – American cheese.
Sure you can use cheddar or pepper jack, but American cheese melts so well, I use it 95% of the time.
Skip the ketchup and mustard on this burger and go with horseradish mayo. Think about it. When you eat a beautiful slice of prime rib, there’s nothing better than a smear of creamy horseradish.
Since this smash burger is all about the beef, the horseradish mayo will accentuate that beefy flavor.
It’s easy to make. Just mix a little prepared horseradish with a little mayo.
Add some crisp green lettuce and red onion for crunch, and this burger is ready to be inhaled.
Certified Angus Beef® brand hosted a Facebook Live #beefcookalong to show viewers how to build a better burger. Check out Chef Gavin’s version of the smash burger below.
Smash Burger with Beef Bacon and Horseradish Mayo
- 8 slices Schmacon beef bacon
- 4 brioche buns
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 4 leaves green leaf lettuce
- 16 slices red onion
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 lb Certified Angus Beef® brand 80/20 ground beef
- salt and pepper
- 4 slices American cheese
- Heat the grill to 400F degrees with a griddle on the grill. Place the beef bacon slices on the griddle and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
- Clean the griddle. Toast the buns, cut-side-down for about 30 seconds.
- Combine the mayonnaise and horseradish. Spread onto the bottom bun. Top with lettuce and onions.
- Brush the griddle with oil. Portion the ground beef into four 4-ounce balls, packing loosely.
- Place on the heated griddle. Using a large spatula, smash the burger. Use a second spatula to help, if needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill for 2-3 minutes, until the bottom is charred. Flip. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese. Continue cooking until the cheese is melted.
- Place the burgers on the dressed buns. Spread the top buns with more horseradish mayo. Add to the top and enjoy.