Ken Goodman Photography
The authors of Wicked Good Burgers justify this All-American recipe by saying "if one of something is good, two is better, right?" We couldn’t agree more. They use their "smash" technique to create a juicy, crispy crust for their bison burgers by adding balls of the meat mixture to the pan and gently smashing them into patties with their spatula.
Combine all of the ingredients together and chill before using.
Divide the ground meat into 8 equal portions and shape each into a ball about the size of a golf ball. Salt the tops of each bison ball.
Heat a skillet over high heat until very hot. If you have an infrared thermometer, the skillet should register at least 500 degrees. Or, test by brushing on a bit of oil. When the skillet starts to smoke, it is ready.
If your skillet is not big enough to accommodate all of the burgers at the same time, cook them in batches. Line a platter with butcher paper or a large piece of a paper grocery bag. (We don’t think paper towels are sturdy enough for this job; they absorb too much moisture and destroy the crust.) Open your windows and/or turn on your oven fan. There’s going to be some smoke!
Place the burgers on the skillet, salted side down. Press gently and cook for 1 minute. After 1 minute, using a sturdy spatula, smash each burger until it is about ¼-inch thick. Salt the tops of the smashed burgers.
Cook for 2 more minutes and then flip the burgers. Lay a piece of American cheese on each burger and cook for 2 more minutes.
If cooking in batches, transfer the burgers to the platter. Repeat until all the burgers are cooked. Note that this method cooks the burgers almost through with just a bit of pink in the center. We sacrifice our usual preference for rare-ish meat in order to get that wonderfully crispy exterior. Once you have transferred the burgers to the platter, don’t cover them or put them in the oven. You want to preserve what you worked so hard to achieve.
To serve, place 1 patty on the bottom half of a bun. (If you have some burgers resting from an earlier batch, place them back on the skillet for a minute to warm them up.) Stack another burger on top and garnish with pickles and onion. Spread mustard, ketchup, and Special Sauce on the other bun half, place that on the burger, and serve.