When I wrote my first barbecue book, The Barbecue Bible, few Americans had heard of wagyu beef. Today, you can’t open a menu without seeing wagyu sliders, A5 steaks and even fabled Kobe beef from Japan. Wagyu literally means “Japanese cow,” which is the name given to a Japanese cattle breed renowned for its extraordinary intramuscular marbling and its dizzying price. But what if there was a way to enjoy the buttery rich taste of wagyu without breaking the bank? I give you the Raichlen smash burger: in a burger portion, it’s wagyu everyone can afford to enjoy.
Method: Grilling on a plancha or griddle
For the burgers:
For the special sauce:
Working with a light touch, shape the ground beef into 4 patties of equal size, each about 3/4- inch thick. Generously season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Make the sauce. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to mix. Cover and refrigerate.
When ready to grill the burgers, set up your grill for direct grilling. Place a plancha on the grill and heat to high.
Drizzle the plancha with a little olive oil. Arrange the burgers on the plancha, leaving 2 inches between each. Cook until the bottoms are darkly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the burger using a spatula. Smash the burgers by placing a grill press or small cast iron skillet on the burgers to flatten them. Continue grilling until both sides are crusty and browned, and the burger is cooked to taste. I like medium so 5 to 6 minutes in all.
Transfer the burgers to a wire cooling rack and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the cut sides of the buns on the plancha in the burger fat.
To assemble the burgers, spread one of the bottom buns with the sauce. Place a piece of lettuce on top. Top with the burger, tomato, and pickle slices, if using. Spread more sauce on the cut side of the top bun, if desired. Rep
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