Turn Labor Day into a smash hit with perfect burgers

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service

Smash burgers are all the rage. They’re ground beef rolled into balls, and smashed with a burger press into thin patties. This creates a large surface for extra browning and flavor. The thin patties cook in 3 to 4 minutes. For this recipe, you don’t need a special press. You can place the burgers between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and flatten them with bottom of a frying pan or pot. They’re a perfect dinner to celebrate Labor Day weekend or for anytime you want a burger.

Dimple (make an indent with your finger) in the center of the patties to help stop shrinkage when cooking.

I doctored bought coleslaw with tomato salsa for the side.

Helpful hints:

– You can use 100% grass-fed ground beef instead of ground bison.

– You can use any type of cheese.


– Prepare all ingredients.

– Make coleslaw and add to plates.

– Toast hamburger rolls.

– Make smash burgers.

Shopping List:

To buy: 1 package whole wheat burger buns, 3 / 4 pound ground bison, 1 bag shredded lettuce, 1 package reduced-fat American cheese slices, 1 container sliced dill pickles, 1 container deli coleslaw, 1 bottle tomato salsa, 1 jar reduced fat mayonnaise, 1 can olive oil spray and 1 bottle ketchup.

Staples: onion, salt and black peppercorns.

Smash burgers are a simple hit for Labor Day weekend get-togethers, and picky eaters can choose their toppings. Salsa dresses up a basic store-bought coleslaw.

Smash Burger

Olive oil spray

2 whole wheat burger buns

3/4 pound ground bison

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup thinly sliced onion

2 slices, reduced-fat American cheese

1/2 cup shredded lettuce

1 dill pickle cut into thin slices (about 1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

Spray the inside of the burger buns with olive oil spray and toast in the toaster oven or under a broiler until golden. Remove and set aside.

Mix salt and pepper to taste into the ground bison. Form the bison into 4 balls about the size of a golf ball. Place between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and flatten the balls to about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. This can be done with a flat spatula or the bottom of a heavy skillet.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add the onions and saute 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Push the onions to the sides of the skillet and add the burgers. Cook 2 minutes. Turn the burgers over with a large spatula. Cover 2 of the burgers with the cheese slices. Cover the skillet with a lid and continue to cook 2 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 135 to 140 degrees.

Place the burger bun bottoms on two dinner plates. Divide the onions in half and place on these buns. Do the same with the lettuce and pickle slices. Place the burger with the melted cheese on the buns next. Place the remaining 2 burgers on top of the burger with the cheese. Spread the top of the buns with the mayonnaise and ketchup and cover the burger.

Yield: 2 servings.

Per serving: 485 calories (32% from fat), 17.5 g fat (5.6 g saturated, 5.6 g monounsaturated), 125 mg cholesterol, 45.3 g protein, 34.4 g carbohydrates, 4.8 g fiber, 809 mg sodium.

Coleslaw With Salsa

1 cup bought deli coleslaw

2 tablespoons tomato salsa, drained

Drain coleslaw. Mix tomato salsa into the coleslaw. Divide between two dinner plates.

Yield: 2 servings.

Per serving: 166 calories (60% from fat), 11.1 g fat (2 g saturated, no monounsaturated), 10 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g protein, 16.2 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g fiber, 340 mg sodium.

— Recipes by Linda Gassenheimer