Chicken meatballs are pretty darn good. But bringing a smashburger approach to the party will allow the burger to seared and crispy, adding extra layers of flavor. It is the best of both worlds: meatballs and burgers.
Technique tip: Smash the burger until it is bigger than the bun. It will shrink as it cooks, and you don't want it to be smaller than the bun.
Swap option: This works great with ground turkey or pork, too!
Special equipment: You need a pan with a flat surface. Either a large cast-iron skillet or a griddle will work great.
For the spicy tomato sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic to the oil and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and a big pinch of kosher salt. Finish the sauce with the chiles and remove from the heat.
For the chicken burgers:1.
Combine the ground chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne, Parmesan and parsley in a bowl. Add a hefty sprinkle of kosher salt and then use clean hands to gently work the mixture together. Divide the mixture into 8 rounds — not patties, but loose rounds to smash later.2.
Heat the grill for two-zone cooking. Toast the burger buns over high heat and then move to indirect heat to keep warm.3.
Heat a large skillet over direct heat. Working in batches of two, add two of the rounds to the skillet at a time. Use a large flat spatula to press down hard on each patty for 2 minutes. Flip and continue cooking — the goal is a crisp, craggled, super-thin patty. Move the first two patties to indirect heat and top each with a slice of provolone. Repeat with the remaining chicken rounds. While you're still at the grill, top the chicken patties with a scoop of the sauce.
For the sandwiches:
Build the sandwiches by placing one patty on each bun and topping with fresh basil.