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5 smash burgers to get you ready for cottage season

Fair warning: this article is definitely going to make you drool.

Summer is well on its way, which means it’s the perfect time for a nice, juicy burger. To add a little variety to the simple delicacy, you can try out turkey burgers, salmon burgers, veggie burgers and, best of all, smash burgers. Check out five smash burgers to get you ready for cottage season below.

This Indie88 feature is presented with Georgian Bay Spirit Co.


Great Canadian Smash Burger


1.5 pounds ground beef – 20% fat
4 pieces of bacon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 brioche buns
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 slices aged cheddar
½ cup mayo
1 tablespoon smoky bbq sauce
4 eggs (optional)

Start by preheating your oven to 375. Coat the bacon with the maple syrup, lay on a baking sheet lined with tin foil, and bake until browned and crispy. At this time you can also mix the mayo with smokey BBQ sauce of your choice.

While the bacon is cooking, form the patties. Divide the beef into 4 equal parts, gently roll into balls (be mindful to not roll them too tightly), then press into ½ inch patties. Season each side generously with salt. Using your thumb, make a little indent in the middle top of each patty – this will help the juices distribute evenly and prevent it from rounding.

Heat a cast iron pan with a touch of neutral oil over medium high heat. When hot, add the patties to the pan, indent side up and don’t touch for 2-3 minutes, or until juices start to accumulate in the indentation. Carefully flip and cook on the second side for another 3 minutes, until dark brown, but still slightly pink in the center. In the last minute of cooking, add the aged cheddar to the tops of the burger and cover with a lid to let the cheese melt.

While the burgers are cooking, fry a few eggs sunny side up, and set aside. Remove from heat and wipe the pan clean. Cut buns in half and brush with a bit of mayo. Place mayo side down in the pan and fry for a few minutes until golden brown.

To assemble your burger, brush the top bun with a generous spread of bbq mayo, add the patty to the bottom bun, then stack on top a few strips of maple bacon, some crispy red onion, then the fried egg. Top with your bun and gently press to burst the yolk.


Pineapple Smash


1 pound ground beef chuck
Kosher salt
4 slices ripe pineapple, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 jalapeño sliced
Handful of arugula
1 jar quick pickled onions
4 soft hamburger buns
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt

Heat a cast-iron griddle or large heavy skillet over medium-high until very hot, about 2 minutes, then lightly brush with vegetable oil. Divide ground beef into 4 equal portions (do not form patties).

Working in batches if needed, place portions on griddle and smash flat with a spatula to form 4″- diameter patties (craggy edges are your friend). Season liberally with salt and cook, undisturbed, until outer edges are brown, about 2 minutes. Cook until burgers are medium-rare, about 1 minute. Alternatively, you can grill the burgers on the grill for about 3-4 minutes per side – the benefit of cooking them in the pan is the extra crispy crust that forms. they are delicious either way!

Meanwhile, heat a gas grill to high heat. Once hot, add pineapple and grill until warm and grill marks have formed.

To assemble: Add patty to bottom bun, top with grilled pineapple slice, pickled onions, jalapeño slices, arugula and spread the top bun with mayo.

Salmon Smash


1½ pounds boneless, skinless center-cut salmon, patted dry
5 scallions, roughly chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
1 english cucumber, very thinly sliced on a mandolin
3 thai chillies, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup (or more) vegetable oil
Cilantro leaves
Peashoots or watercress
2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds (optional)
4 brioche buns, lightly toasted

Cut salmon into 2″ pieces. Transfer one-third of salmon (about 8 oz.) to a food processor and process, scraping down sides, until mixture is very smooth and paste-like. Add remaining salmon, scallions, garlic, ginger and pulse 4-5 times until pieces are no bigger than ¼” (be careful not to make it too smooth). Transfer to a large bowl. Form mixture into 4 patties about ¾” thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 (you’ll want to chill the patties so that they hold
their shape before getting cooked).

Meanwhile, mix sesame oil, 1 tsp. vinegar, mayonnaise, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl; set aside until ready to use. Toss cucumbers with a pinch of salt in another small bowl. Massage with your hands for a few minutes, squeezing lightly to expel water; discard cucumber liquid. Add chilis, sugar, and 2 tsp. vinegar to bowl; toss to coat. Chill until ready to assemble burgers. (These can be made ahead and stored in an jar until ready to use)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high until oil begins to shimmer. Remove salmon patties from fridge right before cooking and sprinkle with flour just to coat the outside (you won’t need all of it). The patties will be a little loose but you can always pat them back together with your hands before they hit the pan. Working in batches and adding more oil in between batches if needed, cook patties until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side (you don’t want to overcook).

Build burgers with buns, patties, reserved special sauce, plenty of cilantro leaves, watercress or peashoots, and pickles.


Turkey Slider


1/2 bunch flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed, leaves chopped (about 4 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 slider buns or small dinner rolls, split, lightly toasted (for serving)
1 fire roasted red pepper, sliced thinly
1/3 cup mayo + 1 tablespoon pesto
thinly sliced red onion

Combine spinach, scallions, garlic, turkey, paprika and cumin in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix gently just to combine. Form turkey mixture into twelve 1/2-inch-thick patties.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook patties until golden brown and cooked through (resist the temptation to press down on patties with your spatula while cooking), about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Serve turkey-spinach patties on buns with pesto mayo, onion, and roasted red peppers

Veggie Smash


1/4 cup cooked quinoa
Kosher salt
1 pound shiitake or cremini mushrooms, stemmed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can corn
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1 jalepeno, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup unsalted, roasted cashews
1 tablespoon old-fashioned oats
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon miso
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon paprika
pickled red onion
smashed avocado
heirloom tomato
butter lettuce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. arrange mushrooms on a baking sheet, and roast, tossing around until tender and mushrooms have lost half of their volume (this helps with avoiding a mushy burger). Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Heat the oil in a large pan until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, and jalapeño to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, pulse cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add half the beans and pulse 4-5 times until thick. Whisk the mayo, egg yolk, miso, chili, cumin, and paprika together in a small bowl. Add to the pulsed beans and cashew mixture in a large bowl. Roughly chop the mushrooms and add to the bowl, along with the cooked quinoa and corn. Mix to combine, and then form into patties and place on a baking sheet. freeze for about 10 minutes – this will help burgers hold their shape when cooking.

Heat additional olive oil in a large cast iron pan until shimmering. Add the burgers 2 at a time, and let cook for about 8 minutes per side – try not to move them around too much and let a good crust form on the outside.

Once burgers are cooked: assemble on a whole grain bun with butter lettuce on the bottom, burger, smashed avocado, heirloom tomato, pickled onions and season with salt and pepper.

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