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Chris Cooks

Smash Burger Tacos – The Best Way to Eat a Gluten-Free Burger

May 12, 2024

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This is a great mash-up of two of my favorite things: burgers and tacos. It’s also one of my favorite ways to serve burgers in my house, since Jules has food restrictions, and I’m just not a fan of gluten-free buns (convince me otherwise!). So that’s why if I’m serving burgers to my family, this is high up on the request list.

Chris Loves Julia | Chris outside eating a smash burger taco

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The key to these tacos is texture. I’m using corn tortillas in this recipe but you can use a grain-free option like Siete tortillas. In the video below I dive more into my techniques for avoiding a soggy tortilla and getting a really crispy texture on the burgers (it’s all about timing!).

I make a quick pico de gallo (with half of an onion) but hold the cilantro since it doesn’t totally work with the flavor profile here. And then I like to make a three-part burger sauce: one part relish (you can chop up a dill pickle like I do here), two parts ketchup, and three parts mayonnaise. Sometimes I add a little bit of barbecue sauce to up the smoky flavor.

To make the smash burger tacos, first mix the ground beef together lightly with your hands tossing in some burger seasoning (here’s my recipe). Form the meat into four even balls. Then use a mandoline or knife to slice the other half of the onion into paper-thin slices and save the other half of the onion.

I throw the tacos on the stovetop first to warm them up. Then we add the burgers to the flat-top. Let them sizzle in their ball shape — don’t disturb them too quickly. That develops the flavor and gets them nice and caramelized. I add the thinly sliced onions on top and then smash at it. When you see browning around the edges of the burgers creeping up to the top, it’s time to flip so the onions meet the griddle. Add on the cheese slices — we’re going to let American cheese have its day in the sun because it really is THE burger cheese. Let it hang out for a little bit longer and then on to assembly, which is really easy. Just add the burger to the taco shell with some pico, some shredded iceberg, and a drizzle of burger sauce.

Chris Loves Julia | Smash Burger Tacos next to a lounge chair outside

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And there you go! Tastes exactly like your favorite burger and avoids the pitfalls of the gluten-free buns. You can even add a dash of hot sauce to bring the heat (check out my favorites here). I think you’ll love this one, so give it a try.

Smash Burger Tacos – The Best Way to Eat a Gluten-Free Burger

Recipe by Chris
Course: MainCuisine: American
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • For the Burger Patties
  • 2 lbs 85/15 ground beef

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp shiitake mushroom powder (optional)

  • 1 half white onion, very thinly sliced

  • For the Pico
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers

  • For the Burger Sauce
  • 3 tbsp mayo

  • 2 tbsp ketchup

  • 1 tbsp sweet pickle relish (or dill if preferred)

  • Other ingredients
  • iceberg lettuce

  • American cheese (optional)

  • beef tallow or avocado oil

  • tortillas of choice

Directions

  • Make the pico by combining the pico ingredients, and set aside. Similarly, make the sauce by combining the sauce ingredients, and set aside.
  • Gently mix together the beef and seasonings for the patties. Form into 8 equal-sized balls and set aside. Heat a flat top cooker to 400 degrees. Add a thin layer of tallow to the cook top, then evenly space out the beef portions, with space in between (work in batches if needed)
  • Top each ball with a small amount of sliced onion. Using a burger press, large spatula or the underside of a plate, smash each of the patties until they are about 1/4in thick. Let cook until browning starts to appear around the edges. Use a spatula to scrape up and flip.
  • If using cheese, add a slice to each patty now. Once the cheese is melted, remove the patties and set on top of a tortilla of your choice. Top with some of the burger sauce, then some of the pico, then lettuce. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Add a tablespoon of barbecue sauce to the burger sauce if you want a more smoky flavor.

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What do you think?

  1. Jasmine Agnor says:

    You just made our memorial day!!! This is the tastiest gf burger recipe I’ve had in ages! The pico totally makes it! Love the lack of dry crumbly bun. This will be a new go to for us. Thank you so much.

  2. KL says:

    I haven’t tried it personally, but Loopy Whisk GF recipes have turned out well for me in the past, and she has one for GF burger buns in her cookbook: https://www.reddit.com/r/glutenfreebaking/comments/11kra4n/burger_buns_from_loopy_whisks_cookbook_baked_to/

  3. Joy Gross says:

    Thank you for the recipe it looks soooo yummy.

  4. Jill says:

    You’re speaking my language Chris! Looks phenomenal! You have my permission to have your burger on a brioche bun even though Julia cannot. Keep a package of buns in the freezer for yourself. ;)

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