When I found out I was starting in the basement for the first challenge on Next Level Chef, I’m not going to lie, I was a little bummed. But then they told us we would be making smash burgers and I thought that would be a more realistic challenge to pull off in the basement out of many of the other challenges we could get.

When I ran to the platform, it was BARE. I mean, the only things left didn’t make sense together. I grabbed the last protein on the platform, “plant based protein” which I was actually quite pleased with because it looked like ground beef so I thought I could treat it the same and boyyyy was I wrong. I also grabbed a bun, 2 butter lettuce leaves, a carrot, a can of coconut milk, a bottle of BBQ sauce, and a singular slice of swiss cheese. 

I would¬†never recommend you make a smash burger out of these ingredients, so the recipe below is what I would have made if I grabbed everything I wanted. It’s juicy and delicious and can be made at home in 25 minutes. I’m just glad the mentors liked my burger enough to keep me in the competition! Top 14 baby!!!¬†

Smash Burgers


  • 1.5lbs ground beef 80% fat (usually one package)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • hamburger buns
  • butter
  • butter lettuce
  • beefsteak tomato
  • onion
  • sliced sharp cheddar cheese

Burger Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 spicy or dijon mustard
  • splash of pickle juice (from the jar)
  • splash of red wine or white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a mixing bowl combine ground beef and spices and worcestershire sauce until combined. 
  2. Measure out 4.5oz balls and roll them into 1 inch thick disks.
  3. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the burger sauce.
  4. In a bowl combine all the ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. Butter both sides of yoru bun and cut a thick slice of tomato and set aside a leaf of butte lettuce if you choose to use those. 
  6. Slice a thick slice of onion and saute in a medium skillet with a little oil until its cooked and caramelized, flipping halfway through. 
  7. Sprinkle salt on your hamburger patties and on high heat, add them to a cast iron skillet (don’t overcrowd your pan, you may have to do them one at a time since you are smashing them)
  8. Smash your burger firmly with a burger press or using 2 spatulas. Apply pressure for 30 seconds – 1 minute to give it a nice crispy sear. Cook for a total of 3 min.
  9. Flip and immediately add a slice of cheese to the top. (tip: pour a little water into your pan then cover to make the cheese melty)
  10. Remove patty from the heat and repeat with remaining burger patties. 
  11. in the same skillet that you cooked the onions in, toast your buns butter side down until brown and golden.
  12. Assemble: lather a generous layer of burger sauce on the bottom bun. Add 1 burger patty and then onions, then 2nd burger patty then lettuce, tomato and top bun lathered in more sauce.
  13. Enjoy with truffle fries, sweet potato fries or chips!

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