Spicy Smash Burger

I love a good smash burger. I’m also a big fan of Pakistani chapli kebabs. So much so, that I featured a chapli kebab recipe in my cookbook 

So today I decided to mix it all up and make a smash burger that was inspired by the flavors of the chapli kebab.

This smash burger is in no way a chapli kebab but I did use the same spices and ingredients while staying true to an authentic smash burger.

What is the best beef for a smash burger?

Yes, there is a burger chain called smash burger but making a smash burger is all about how you cook the meat. That chain does it quite well but chefs have been cooking smash burgers since the 50s in the US.

The most important part of making a good smash burger is the meat. It must have an 80/20% meat to fat ratio and the quality of the meat used is also of course important.

I asked my butcher for a blend of skirt and chuck (braising steak). Staying true to the authentic chapli kebab blend, I also asked him to grind up some beef marrow in the mixture.

What spices go into the meat?

A proper smash burger requires no spicing in the meat.

Unlike a chapli kebab which is full of spices and other aromatic ingredients, it is best to cook a smash burger without any spicing because of the intense heat it is cooked on.

It is seasoned with salt and pepper but even that is added right before topping with the cheese.

In this recipe, I added many of the chapli spices to the smash burger cheese sauce and stacked the burger with the fresh ingredients that go into a chapli.

Cooking the smash burger…

I make 70g (2.5oz) beef balls to start with. I usually weigh the first couple of balls and then just eye it up for the rest. This keeps the patties uniform in size.

The beef balls need to be loose and not tightly formed. This makes smashing them in the pan easier and gets better results.

It is also important that you get your pan as hot as possible. A good gas hob or barbecue are best for getting the right heat.

Spicy Smash Burger


  • 4 burger buns, toast in a little butter
  • 600g (1lb 3oz) minced (ground) beef (80/20% meat/fat ratio)
  • 100g (4oz) beef marrow (available from most butchers and many supermarkets), minced
  • 1 tsp oil for greasing the pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lime, quartered (optional)
  • 8 slices of burger cheese
  • 6 tbsp burger sauce, homemade (see above) or shop-bought
  • 1 large handful of coriander (cilantro)
  • A few lettuce leaves
  • 1 – 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 large onion, raw or caramelized
  • Yellow mustard (optional)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 generous tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cup) approx full-fat milk
  • 225g (4.5oz) medium to sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 green bird’s eye chilies, cut into thin rings
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Hamburger steak smothered in brown gravy with mushrooms and onions


  1. Toast the burger buns until lightly browned in a little butter. Set aside.
  2. To make the cheese sauce, melt 2 – 3 tbsp butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Whisk until smooth and then slowly start adding the milk. Whever the sauce becomes too thick, add a drop more milk. You want this to be really creamy.
  3. Simmer while stirring for about 15 minutes and be careful not to boil. Once you have a creamy sauce, stir in the minced garlic, chilies, and spices and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
  4. Loosely form eight burger balls weighing 70g (2.5oz) each. You will have some meat leftover which is what I call the chef’s snack.
  5. Place your pan over high heat and heat it up until it is scorching hot. Cast iron is the best for these burgers. Lightly grease your pan and when smoking hot place a couple of the beef balls in it. Using a burger press or large flat metal spatula that is lightly greased, flatten the patties in the pan as thinly as you can. Leave the burger patties where they are. Do not move for a couple of minutes until the meat begins to cook through.
  6. Flip the patties over and you should have a beautiful sear on the meat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and squeeze a little lime juice over the patties if you like. Then top with the cheese and cover the pan to help it melt.
  7. Stack one pattie on top of the other and keep warm while you cook the remaining patties.
  8. Stack the burgers however you like but you really should try my way photographed above.

Nutrition Information:



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