Makes 4 burgers
16 thin bread-and-butter pickle slices, patted dry
four, 4 inch potato buns, buttered and toasted (I used mini whole wheat potato buns)
1 1/4 lbs ground beef chuck (I used 85% )
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small vidalia onion, sliced* paper thin (you'll have leftovers)
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
Optional: umami dust (I'll give you their recipe; I didn't have the ingredients)
Heat a cast-iron griddle* until very hot.
Without overworking the meat, loosely form it into 4 balls and place them on the griddle. Cook the meat over moderately high heat for 30 seconds. Using a sturdy 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 and cook just until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute more.
Toast the buttered buns and layer the pickle slices on the bottom.
Transfer the burgers with the onions to the buns, sprinkle with umami dust. Top with the buns and serve.
Umami dust: mix together 3 tbs bonito flakes, 1/2 oz crumbled dried kambu mushrooms into a powder (or wait, umami dust will soon be available)
As with direct and indirect grilling, using a cast iron frying pan (yes, it works as well as a cast iron griddle) has been key to perfecting some old favorites of mine. I eliminate the mess in the kitchen by using the burner on my outdoor grill, a bonus! In a word, these smashed burgers were the BOMB! The only change I'd make for next time is to chop the onions--they'll adhere better than the slices. The success of these juicy, flavorful burgers was using the very hot cast iron grill, using a fattier ground beef (85% instead of my usual 93%), buttering and toasting the potato rolls, and not overhandling the meat. I'm going to try the umami dust next time. Although I loved these as much as DSO, I couldn't help but comment that I got more "yummy noises" from him for these sliders than I get from my homemade pasta! Men!