If You Care at All About Burgers, You Need These 4 Essential Burger Tools
Flip, scrape, smash, repeat.
Burgers seem so simple, right? Meat, a pan, and something to get the meat into and out of the pan. But if you’re serious about burgers—even semi-serious—you need to be serious about your burger tools. A flimsy pan and a plastic spatula just won’t do.
That’s why we talked to Allen Yelent, the owner of Goldburger in Los Angeles, whose specialty bar burgers meld thick patties and thick-sliced onions into what we consider a top-tier example of the form. His list of essential tools? Just four items long. So whether you’re trying to perfect your crisp-edged smash burgers or just looking to up your burger game in general, you’ll want to read on for his picks.
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Wide Metal Spatula
When it comes to making burgers, the flip is everything. Goldburger chef Adam Yelent tells us they caramelize the onions by “adding onions on top of the patty after we smash, so most of the cooking is done after the patty is flipped, making it much more even and consistent.” This wide spatula has enough surface area to envelop the whole patty, making a single flip effortless, and is perfect for keeping your onions tucked under the patty.
Flat-Top or Cast-Iron Pan
To make a great burger, you want a really hot pan. Yelent suggests a flat-top or cast-iron surface that can get up to around 500 degrees to distribute heat evenly across the entire surface. Investing in a flat top is a no brainer if you make burgers often, and it’s also super handy for making bacon, fried eggs, and hash browns—the ideal (pre-burger) breakfast trifecta.
If you’re looking to make your own smash burgers at home, this is a must-have. “I use a heavy steel veal meat pounder and let the weight of it do most of the initial smash,” says Yelent. “I press down on the 3-ounce ball firmly and then taper the edges out, leaving a slightly thicker middle and thinner edges.” You’ll want one with a heat-resistant handle so it doesn’t get hot while you’re using it—and the heavier, the better.
Metal Grill Scraper
This tool allows you to scrape the edges of your burger as they start to brown to make sure those good crispy edges don’t get stuck to the cast iron. Scrape the perimeter of the patty before flipping to make sure you’re set up for an easy release. Yelent let us know that you can also flip over your metal spatula and use the flat edge to scrape.