Crispy, Juicy, Iconic: The Tasty Origins of the Smash Burger
What makes a good burger? We’ve talked about this at length before, and every time we do, we come back to the same foundational element: the patty. With the right patty, a burger can be elevated from good to great, from tasty to outstanding. And to get the best burger patty, well, you have to smash it!
Toppings are wonderful, and the right bun makes a difference, but if your patty isn’t a powerhouse, it’ll hold the whole burger back. Settling for the ordinary might be fine for some, but we always strive for perfection, especially when it comes to our burgers. And we smash those out of the park (geddit?).
We didn’t invent the smashburger, although we like to think we’ve perfected it – it’s older than you might think! Smash burgers were born not at the dawn of the burger, but a little further down the road, when chefs began to ask, “How do we level up from here?”
From Thin to Smashed: A Delicious Evolution
Thin patties aren’t exactly a revolution. The classic burger has always had a big patty, a juicy behemoth that sometimes makes it hard to take a comfortable bite. It’s expensive to make, too – that’s a lot of meat per burger! It might seem unpatriotic to say about America’s favorite food, but more isn’t always better, at least not if you’re not able to enjoy it. Traditional patties are browned on the outside but remain soft and sometimes even pink on the inside. The griddle can only work its magic on so many burgers.
When the fast food chains came on the scene, they began to rethink what a burger should look like. To make things easy, efficient, and reliably delicious, the size of the patty became standardized. That doesn’t mean they were the same in every restaurant, of course. One of the very first burger joints was known for its thin patties – but despite their size, the patties were still cooked the same way as every other burger.
The smash technique had been used occasionally over the years, usually to make the meat go further to feed a hungry crowd. Nobody had taken much notice of its flavorful impact until the ‘60s when the first smash burger restaurant was born. After it came to light that one of the chefs had been smashing the burgers into the griddle with a can of beans, and it tasted great that way, it became the standard at the Dairy Cheer – and an immediate hit. From there, it spread to other fast food outlets, then upward into the restaurant scene, food trucks, and trendy upmarket spots.
The Science Behind The Smash: What Makes It So Good?
What makes smash burgers worth the hype? The star of the show is known as the Maillard reaction – the transformation of proteins and sugars when things get heated. This is the chemical force behind that beautiful browning you get on toast, s’mores, and – of course – burger patties. As just about everyone knows, browned food tastes good!
The Smash House burger comes to life on the griddle, where our freshly ground and lovingly spiced beef gets the full smash treatment. Being pressed into the hot griddle releases more burger juices, but that’s a sideshow compared to the beautiful browning. Smashing your burger spreads the patty out wider, allowing more of its surface area to touch the griddle and get transformed into crispy browned deliciousness by the heat.
The signature crust seals in the juiciness of the inside of the burger, balancing out a perfect bite. Not too soft, not too crunchy, just right on a toasted bun and served with Smash Sauce on the side. It’s the best of what a burger can be.
Get Smashed at Your Local Smash House
If you aren’t drooling by now, you sure will be when you step into your neighborhood Smash House. Our locations in Miami, Boca Raton, and Queens are havens of smash burger perfection, waiting for you to take a big bite. You’ll smell it as soon as you walk in the door, and once you hear the sizzle of the griddle, the deal will be sealed. Treat yourself to a Blooming Onion or some fries on the side, and settle in for a burger feast.
What are you waiting for? Smash burgers are on the menu for lunch or dinner – or any time. Drop in or order in and savor the peak burger experience in every bite