The Best Spatula To Reach For When Flipping Smash Burgers

There's a reason smash burgers are better than regular burgers, and it has a lot to do with geometry. You start with a round ball of ground meat and create as much surface area as possible, never mind the volume, for a superior crispy crust. A couple of kitchen tools can help you achieve this: a burger press, meat mallet, hamburger trowel, steak weight, or even the base of a pot (who knew?). However, it's not just about smashing the burger, you have to flatten, smash, scrape, and flip the burger patties to complete the perfect smash burger, and for that, you'll need a spatula.

Specifically, a stiff metal spatula. It has many names — a flipper or turner, but you'll know it by this: it has a wide body, thin blade, and strong frame. The body of a stiff metal spatula spans about 2 to 5 inches across. A wider metal blade is perfect for flipping burgers. Imagine using a much narrower blade — it'd hardly lift a patty off the grill while keeping it intact. And if it were, say, silicone instead of metal, the blade would be more pliable, making it less effective when scraping off a patty.

The stiff metal spatula's wideness allows for spreading those patties flat so you get plenty of surface area. This would be harder to achieve with a narrower blade. It wouldn't flatten the burger patty all at once, and in the worst case scenario, indent its frame right across your patty.

Choose a spatula with a thin blade and strong frame

A wide-angled spatula can't do its job properly if it isn't extremely thin — so thin that it can successfully slide under those patties without disturbing them. This is why a stiff metal spatula works for the job. In addition, you get a rigid blade ready to press firmly against the most stubborn burger patty. This isn't as possible with a spatula made from a more flexible material like silicone, which might bend.

The blade should also connect to an angled handle made of wood or heat-resistant material for a comfortable and solid grip to flatten the patties to extremely level centers. Being bent at an angle near the handle also means the stiff metal spatula can slide easily under food to pick it up, making it better than options with flatter angles.

It's also not uncommon to see slotted spatulas on the scene of making smash burgers. Their advantage is that they allow for grease to remain after you've lifted the burger patty. However, a better option would be a perforated turner or spatula, which works much like a stiff metal spatula since it creates plenty of surface area while still draining oil.