Skip to main content

Diner-Style Smash Burgers

Lodge Cast Iron | April 30, 2024

This recipe is inspired by George Motz, the head chef of Hamburger America in New York City and the mastermind behind this no-frills smash burger. You can bring the tastes and smells of the diner to your kitchen—all you need is a big skillet and grill press! The secret? We pile onions on the skillet and smash the burgers for a dreamy, caramelized onion crust. Then, we slather it with a homemade roasted garlic aioli.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
25 - 30 minutes
Cook it With Our
Diner-Style Smash Burgers


Smash Burgers

1.5 pounds ground beef, 90/10
8 strips bacon, cut in half
1 white onion, sliced very thinly 
8 brioche hamburger buns
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pepper 
½ teaspoon garlic powder
8 American cheese slices 
1 tomato sliced, topping
Bib lettuce, topping
Dill pickle chips, topping 

Roasted Garlic Aioli

3 cloves garlic, roasted
½ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Dash of Tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste


Smash Burgers 
  1. Separate the ground beef into 3-ounce, loosely-packed meatballs. A kitchen scale will come in handy here! 
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add bacon to pan and cook until fat has rendered and bacon is crispy, using a round grill press to keep bacon flat and speed up the cooking process. After 5 to 7 minutes, remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high and make two small piles of sliced onion, leaving plenty of room between each pile, then place the meatball over the onions. Batch your burgers two patties at a time in the pan. 
  5. Smash the burger very flat, with the parchment as a barrier between the press and the hamburger. Repeat with the other meatball, leaving plenty of room for smashing. 
  6. Cook for 2 minutes, or until you see the edges browning very nicely. Flip, add cheese, and continue to cook for 1 minute. 
  7. Remove to a bun and repeat with remaining meatballs.  
  8. Assemble burgers with your favorite burger accoutrements and aioli! 
Roasted Garlic Aioli 
  1. In a small bowl, add garlic and salt, and crush with the back of a spoon to create a paste. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks and Dijon mustard until well combined. Pro tip: Farm-fresh eggs will provide a deep, yellow color. 
  3. Slowly drizzle olive oil a little at a time, whisking to emulsify. Take your time here. If you add too much oil at one time, your aioli will break. 
  4. Once your aioli has thickened, whisk in garlic paste, lemon juice, and Tabasco. 
  5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Aioli will keep refrigerated for up to a week in an airtight container. To be safe, check for signs of spoilage, like an off or sour smell or unusual color before using. When in doubt, throw it out. 


Lodge Pan Logo
Lodge Pan Logo
Contributed By: Lodge Cast Iron

We hope you enjoy our stories and recipes! Follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, and tag your Instagram food photos with #lodgecastiron for a chance to be featured on our feed!

Ratings background image.

How would you rate this recipe?

Thanks for rating

Recommended recipes you might like