Kenji Lopez-Alt with Serious Eats is a prophet of smashed burgers. Yes, burgers that you press on a griddle, potentially squeezing out all the blessed juices. Now we know you just slammed your fist on your keyboard and spat Dr Pepper all over your screen, but hold on to your burger anger for one more second. He explains.
In short, Kenji references a sciency process called the Maillard Reaction, which has a Wikipedia page so it must be true. It has something to do with large proteins breaking down into smaller compounds. It's a bit heavy and distracting for burgertalk, but he says it makes the burger taste meatier, and as long as you press super early in the burger cooking process your burger juices remain intact. There's a chart with blue lines that's titled "smash time vs. final weight." Charts win every time.
With science in his back pocket, Serious Eats regularly reports on the status of smashed burgers around the country. Last week, they looked at 6 Smashingly Good Smashed Burgers from around the country, "that will set you up with the thin, crust-covered patty-or patties-you crave."
One of Kenji's all-time favorite smashed burgers world over is Dallas' very own Off-Site Kitchen, particularly the stock cheeseburger. And this is the point where Kenji turns off his Bunsen burner, rips off his lab coat and flashes sexy. Even though, honestly, we don't need him to tell us OSK is the bomb. We've devoted many hours to our own research on Best Burger, Best Throwback Lunch, Best Reminder of Childhood, and Scott Reitz included the small shack as one of Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants. Oh, and we'd be remiss to leave out this Gold Medal Sandwich. Yeah science! And winning for everyone!
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Owner Nick Badovinus and Kenji are both careful smashers, however. This doesn't mean smashing the life out of it for the entire cooking time. At OSK, they form the meat into a ball, then smash it down on the griddle. From that point, Badovinus explains there's little smashing, "Only after we add the chopped onions on the burger and after we flip it. Briefly."
Smash with restraint, people.
Off-Site Kitchen opens at 10:30 a.m. Race ya'. But maybe wipe down your monitor first.