Smashburger opens its first location in Austin, with two additional restaurants on the way this year. The Denver fast-casual chain has 163 restaurants in the U.S. and continues with its goal of getting into “every town in America sooner or later.” Austin already houses several restaurants with popular burgers such as Hopdoddy, Counter Cafe, Hut’s Hamburgers, Parkside, and 24 Diner. Tom Ryan, founder of Smashburger, is not worried.
“Burgers are America’s favorite food,” Ryan said. “We’re coming to Austin with a highly differentiated concept. There’s a lot of room in the burger market.”
Smashburger is indeed different. The burgers originate as balls of raw Angus beef that are smashed onto a buttered grill for ten seconds, giving the patty a caramelized sear to lock in the juices. I had the pleasure of having Tom Ryan cook one up for me in the kitchen!
How to Make A Smashburger
- Prepare 1/3 pound and 1/2 pound balls of 100% black Angus chuck, 80/29 meat-to-fat ratio.
- Set grill to 400 degree and paint with real, unsalted butter.
- Cover with parchment paper.
- Use two-handed cast-iron press to smash the patter. Hold for 10 seconds to start the searing process.
- Season aggressively with proprietary blend. (As the patty cooks, the fat melts and percolates through the small holes in the burger).
- Use a spatula with a extremely sharp edge to scrape the smashed patty off the griddle’s surface.
Beyond burgers, Smashburger’s menu includes fresh salads, hand-breaded chicken sandwiches, veggie frites (flash fried carrots and asparagus), Haagen-Dazs milk shakes, even beer and wine. The Austin menu includes the regional Texas burger, with mustard, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles on an egg bun; Spicy Baja burger, with pepper jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, spicy chipotle mayo, and fresh jalapeños on a spicy chipotle bun; BBQ, bacon & cheddar burger, with bbq sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and haystack onions in an egg bun; and Avocado Club, with fresh avocado, applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing and mayo on a multi-grain bun.