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Smash Burger Showcase

by Martin's Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc.

Smashburger Showcase

America’s burger culture is a fascinating subject. From hefty steakhouse-style burgers to gourmet creations, there is much debate about what makes a perfect burger. And while we believe there is a time and place for every type of burger, one trendy phenomenon that deserves the spotlight is the ever-popular smash burger.

A smash burger is a thin style of burger generally cooked on a flat-top griddle or skillet. It is similar to many traditional diner-style burgers and is prepared by adding a small ball of meat (2-4 oz.) to a hot cooking surface and then pressing down firmly with a sturdy spatula until the patty is very thin. This technique allows the burger patty to develop an even sear, trapping in the juices and producing crispy, craggy edges around the outside of the burger.

This tried-and-true burger method has been adopted by a great many burger lovers and restaurant chains (such as Shake Shack) because of its simplicity and stylistic appeal. In fact, we personally happen to know a few burger aficionados who have perfected this technique. So…we took the opportunity to interview them on their various smash burger styles.

Explore the five famous smash burger variations below and see if you can spot any similarities!

Here’s a preview of our smash burger showcase:

  • George Motz | Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger
  • Mark Tripp; Tripp Burgers | Cheeseburger
  • Matt Abdoo; Pig Beach | Pig Beach SMASH Burger
  • Mike Puma; Gotham Burger Social Club | The Gotham Smash
  • Nick Lepore; Burger Buff | BurgerBuff Double Smashburger

 


 

George Motz | Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers

George Motz - bio

Chef Bio / Background:

George Motz is an Emmy-award winning filmmaker, founder of the Food Film Festival, and author of 4 burger books including The Great American Burger Book, a regional hamburger cookbook. He is currently the host of Complex Media’s Burger Scholar Sessions on First We Feast. The NY Times has called him the foremost authority on burgers, and he is currently hard at work on opening his very own burger joint. George lives in Brooklyn, NY with his 2 children and a large collection of outdoor grilling equipment.

Burger Description / Philosophy:

“One of the burgers I’ve become known for is something that I did not invent. It’s a very basic burger called the Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger. It is probably one of the most important hamburgers in hamburger history, because back in the beginning, to flavor burgers, they would simply take onions and then put them either in or on the burger. Onions predate ketchup, predate cheese, everything else.

“What I love about the fried onion burger from Oklahoma is that it only has five elements. That’s it. Just five. Those five elements together create a sum that is far greater than its parts. People ask me: ‘Is there a sauce on there?’ ‘Did you toast the bun?’ None of these things happened at all. It’s a very simple burger that is put together in just a matter of minutes. Bun. Cheese. Beef. Onion. And Salt. That’s it. You have to get all five of those things right, and you have a great burger.”

Recipe Snapshot: Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers

  • The Burger: 75/25 prime chuck from Schweid & Sons (two 3-oz. balls)
  • The Cheese: American!
  • The Toppings: Fried, thin-sliced, sweet Vidalia onions; pickles (optional)
  • The Bun: Martin’s Potato Rolls! (sandwich size)

Recipe Video:

Watch how George Motz prepares his Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers below:

Photo Gallery:

George Motz making oklahoma fried onion burgers

Links:

Website: georgemotz.com | Instagram: @motzburger


 

Mark Tripp; Tripp Burgers | Cheeseburger

Mark Tripp - Smashburger
Photo Courtesy of Mark Tripp; Credits to Angelo Almonte

Chef Bio / Background:

Mark Tripp is the owner and chef of Tripp Burgers, a smash burger pop-up in Los Angeles, CA, which makes appearances on the sidewalks of West LA, at breweries around LA, and also catered events and film shoots.

Inspired by George Motz’s documentary “Hamburger America,” Tripp began developing his own custom burger blend about ten years ago. Eventually leaving his 35-year-long career in advertising, he transformed his once backyard hobby into a full-time job running his eponymous burger pop-up.

It’s been hard work growing the pop-up to where it is today. For Tripp, it is all worth it. He loves watching a customer take their first bite of his custom burger patty. “I love burgers. They are a passion for me.”

Tripp’s accolades include being a 2019 LA Food and Wine Festival EPIC Burger Throwdown competitor; featured mentions in VoyageLA, LA Taco, and Infatuation LA; and an appearance on an episode of The Burger Show hosted by Alvin Cailan.

Burger Description / Philosophy:

Tripp believes in simplicity when it comes to burgers: “The flavor of the meat always comes first.” To demonstrate this philosophy, he often suggests to his customers that they taste the burger plain first (just meat, cheese, and bun) before deciding whether to add any condiments.

What makes Tripp Burgers unique is the meat blend used for their patties. The custom blend of USDA Prime chuck, top sirloin, and bacon, developed by Tripp himself, was ten years in the making. He believes this blend is what sets him apart from other burgers in LA.

To prepare his signature burgers, the 2.75-oz patties are added to a hot flat-top griddle and smashed thin using his George Motz-brand SMASHULA. This technique gives the burgers a subtle smoky flavor, a juicy interior, and a nice crispy sear along the edge.

Tripp Burger customers may order anything from a single patty to a four-stack, but Tripp recommends at least a double to allow for a good, solid bite of beef. Other variations include a Fried-Onion Cheeseburger and optional condiments of pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard.

Recipe Snapshot: Cheeseburger

  • The Burger: A freshly-ground custom burger blend of USDA Prime chuck, top sirloin, and bacon
  • The Cheese: American cheese
  • The Toppings: Griddled onions (optional); pickles, onions, mustard, ketchup (optional)
  • The Bun: Martin’s Potato Rolls!

Recipe Video

See Mark Tripp in action in this Instagram video from L.A. Taco!
https://www.instagram.com/tv/BwPk4QUFWKO

 

 

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Photo Gallery


Photo credits: Angelo Almonte, @dumbnhungry on Instagram

Links:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Yelp

References

 


 

Matt Abdoo; Pig Beach | “Pig Beach SMASH Burger”

Pig Beach Burger
Photo Courtesy of Pig Beach

Chef Bio / Background:

Celebrity Chef Matt Abdoo (a regular on the Today Show with appearances on Food Network as well as other cooking segments on popular shows such as Fox & Friends) has led the Pig Beach team to numerous victories in competitions, including the 2019 NYCWFF Heineken Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons hosted by Rachael Ray.

For more information on Matt’s extensive culinary background, visit: https://mattabdoo.com/.

Burger Description / Philosophy:

“The perfect burger, just like all great things is all about balance and using the best ingredients you can get. For me, I love the flavor of a brisket blend for the meat. I find that it has the best ratio of lean to fat as well as incredible flavor. [It’s] very important that whenever you are making a burger, regardless of the style or type of meat that you SEASON THE MEAT!! A little salt and pepper will go a long, long way to enhance the overall flavor of your finished burger.

Texture and acid are important when building your perfect burger—that’s where our pickles come into play. They provide a very enjoyable crunch and pop of acidity that help cut through all the richness of the meat and cheese. Which brings me to the cheese…For me, there is no better cheese for a burger than American cheese. It has the perfect ability to melt without getting oily and won’t overpower any one component, but provides that succulent creamy melted cheese flavor and texture that we all know and love.

“All great burgers need a sauce to tie everything together, and very often something as simple as ketchup and yellow mustard work just fine, but I love taking the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Burger Sauces (i.e., ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard) for the perfect condiment to any burger. Jazz that up with some finely diced white onions or shallots and you create that amazing nostalgic flavor of what that perfect burger of your youth tasted like.

“Finally, no burger is complete without the bun, and this, for many reasons, for me, is one of the most important aspects of the perfect burger. Too much bread, or bread that is too dense or too rich or is crumbly and dry will ruin even the best combinations of meat, cheese, pickles and sauce. That’s why I am so in LOVE with the Martin’s Potato Roll. It is the perfect balance of soft, squishy, chewy and slightly sweet that creates the best vessel possible for any burger. It’s not overpowering on any level, but perfectly complements all the components to deliver that legendary bite! It truly is for me the ‘Best Bun in All the Land!!!’

“We started making smash burgers just as a way to change up our everyday flame-broiled burger that we make at Pig Beach. It actually was a way of introducing a new style burger we were working on for the NYCWFF Burger Bash. My favorite aspect to a smash burger is that incredible caramelized crust you get on the meat when it is smashed into the griddle. Smash burgers evoke that nostalgia for me of sitting at the counter of my favorite diner, and being reminiscent of that classic fast food burger that we all know and love.  When you are able to execute that technique, with everything mentioned above you are able to create a perfect burger that has that caramelized meat flavor and texture that can only be achieved through smashing the meat onto the griddle. Add some thin sliced raw onions while smashing into the griddle for that old school flavor, or kick it up with a Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam and you will knock the socks off of anyone who has the chance to give it a bite! :-)”

~Matt Abdoo, on the perfect burger

Recipe Snapshot: “Pig Beach SMASH Burger”

  • The Burger: A freshly-ground custom burger blend of brisket and short rib
  • The Cheese: American cheese
  • The Toppings: Diner-style burger sauce, dill pickle chips, and “bacon onion magic” (see link below for recipes)
  • The Bun: Martin’s (12-Sliced) Potato Rolls!

Learn how to make Matt Abdoo’s award-winning SMASH Burger by following these steps, or watch the video below!

Recipe Video:

Chef Matt shares his secret of making the winning Pig Beach Smash Burger on a Martin’s Potato Roll!

Find this video on Martin’s Youtube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwIsBKI_ENA

…Or on Matt’s Instagram Page at: https://www.instagram.com/p/CAs4aIJjeef/

Photo Gallery

Pig Beach SMASH Burger

On Instagram:

 

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Links:

mattabdoo.com | pigbeachnyc.com | IG: @pigbeachnyc | FB: PigBeachNYC  | TW: @PigBeachNYC

 


 

Mike Puma; Gotham Burger Social Club | “The Gotham Smash”

Gotham Smash Burger
Image from Instagram.com/gothamburgersocialclub

Chef Bio / Background:

Mike Puma is the founder of the Gotham Burger Social Club, NYC’s premier burger club that rates the best burgers the city has to offer. Over the last 25 years, he’s seen trends and restaurants come and go, but one thing that never changes—love of burgers. He shares his burger experiences, culinary adventures and all things NYC with his 177k followers on Instagram. In 2019 Mike started doing burger pop-ups and today the Gotham Smash is considered one of the city’s best smash burgers!

Burger Description / Philosophy:

“My philosophy with burgers is that nothing tastes better than memories. The best burgers are the ones that bring you back to a simpler time. A burger shouldn’t be too complicated. Keep it simple!”

Recipe Snapshot: “The Gotham Smash”

  • The Burger: Two 3-oz balls custom beef blend (for a double-smash)
  • The Cheese: American cheese
  • The Toppings: Thinly sliced, griddled sweet onions
  • The Bun: Martin’s Potato Rolls! (sandwich size)
  • Condiments: Pickles, yellow mustard, ketchup, and special sauce (optional)

Recipe Video:

Watch Mike Puma of the Gotham Burger Social Club demonstrate their “Gotham Smash” burger below!

See also: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFE-3gbh_cN/

Photo Gallery

On Instagram:

 

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Links:

Instagram: @gothamburgersocialclub

References

 


 

Nick Lepore; Burger Buff | BurgerBuff Double Smashburger

BurgerBuff Double Smashburger
Image from: Instagram.com/burger.buff

Chef Bio / Background:

Nick Lepore; Toms River, NJ

“I started making smash burgers before and during my “one burger a day” journey. I watched guys like George Motz, Alvin Cailan, Mike Puma, and others and pulled from inspirations all over the world when I traveled the globe eating a burger every single day. The finished product was a burger I could eat consistently, not get sick of, and not feet like crap afterwards. A nice handheld size burger, one double was sufficient and two would do the job if I was really hungry.”

What is a BurgerBuff Pop-Up?

“I Pop-Up randomly at different locations and serve my burger. I’ve traveled all over the world eating a burger every single day for a year and have concocted my favorite simple, but delicious BurgerBuff Double Cheeseburger. It’s a cross between a high end steak house burger (using top quality dry-aged beef) and an old school burger joint. We smash the patties thin to get a super flavorful crust, but juicy center. They are topped with gooey melted American cheese, and Buff Sauce, held together by a Martin’s Potato Bun. They are the perfect handheld size—one for the average appetite and two for the extra hungry.”

Burger Description / Philosophy:

“It’s all about the ‘Meat, Cheese, and Bun’—those three things must be mastered before anything else. A classic cheeseburger can be great on its own, without any fancy toppings, if the basics are nailed right. Fresh consistent bun, properly melted cheese, and high quality beef, seasoned well, with a good amount of fat. I want to be able to taste the meat, and not have it masked by 5 or 10 toppings. Any additional toppings or sauces should complement the beef, not overpower it.”

Recipe Snapshot: BurgerBuff Double Smashburger

  • The Burger: Dry-Aged Blend (70/30 fat ratio) Chuck, Short rib, trimmings from dry-aged rib eyes
  • The Cheese: Yellow American
  • The Toppings: Buff Sauce (my take on a special sauce) Combination of Ketchup, Mayo, Mustard, and Sweet Relish
  • The Bun: Martin’s Potato Rolls!

Recipe Video

Get a behind-the-scenes look at one of his past pop-ups with this video by @joereizer: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8hopRgJr_-/

 

 

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Photo Gallery

On Instagram:

 

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Links:

Instagram: @burger.buff | Event schedule: https://burgerbuffpopup.ticketleap.com/

References


 

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed these five smash burger variations from some experts in the business. Be sure to follow all of these folks on Instagram to keep up with their latest burger flipping endeavors (and enjoy frequent mouthwatering photos of delicious burgers)!

You can also find all of the smash burger recipe videos shown here on Martin’s Smash Burger Showcase Youtube playlist. Be sure to subscribe to our channel for more fun content like this!

Fun Fact: Did you know that many of the chefs highlighted above are actually good friends with each other? That’s right—if you follow them on social media, you’ll notice they often mention and tag one another in their posts or even frequent each other’s restaurants and pop-ups. We just love seeing the amazing camaraderie in the burger community!

Take a look at a few crossover posts between our five featured burger friends:

Special Mentions:

We also want to give a quick shout out to some of our other burger-flipping friends. We’re lucky to know so many amazing chefs and foodie influencers. Thank you all for your support and love for Martin’s Potato Rolls!

 

Want to be our friend?

We’re always looking for new foodie friends! Give us a shout on Instagram @potatorolls and say hi!

If you’re a restaurant looking to take your burgers to the next level sign up for our foodservice newsletter here.


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