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Nov 29, 2011 01:57 PM

Smashburger Coming to YYC

However, I've never even heard of this chain. Can anyone provide some insight?

Still waiting for the first Calgarian Carls Jr..... ;)

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  1. I ran across this post on the discussion board. A blogger did a review in the Houston Press. She is from the north and did not understand the Texas way of mustard and no ketchup on the burger, so this is about a Texas style burger. She makes a typo on the ketchup/mustard issue on page 2, but corrects it in the comments. Houston by the way, you might think bbq, yes we have SOME outsanding bbq, but one thing done great here is burgers, and Smashburger is usually rated fairly high. We were recently rated #1 in the US. Houston was one of the first markets they expanded to, and are doing a very good business.

    1. I Googled their web site:

      Seems like a standard burger joint with this twist:

      How do we make burgers this good, this fast?

      While most people are eating breakfast, we’re already doing lunch -- shaping fresh 100% Certified Angus Beef® into plump meatballs. (When was our beef frozen, by the way? Try never.


      Why meatballs, not patties? Because unlike the other burger places, we don’t squish. We smash. Place your order and we spring into action, painting the grill with real butter, adding a dash of our secret spice blend, and smashing the meatball with a tool we invented ourselves (it’s so new it doesn’t even have a name -- let’s just call it the smashing tool). Smashing caramelizes the beef, creating a sear that locks in the juices as no other cooking method can. The result is a burger that’s more tender and flavorful than anybody else’s. A Smashburger. Not a squishburger.

      6 Replies
      1. re: cellophane_star

        Method is the same as Rocky's, if you've ever looked past the cashier to the grill, aside from butter and the "secret spice". I think Rocky is more into beef fat and seasoning to enhance rather than alter the natural beef flavour. But I will give them a try.

        1. re: Scary Bill

          I was in Minneapolis this summer and went to a Smashburger after hearing some buzz about this chain. I really liked the burger. I thought the flavour of the beef was great and the toppings were a great compilment. The fried egg was cooked perfect with the yolk oozing out as I bit into it. I also added garlic mushrooms and fried pickles. These toppings were not free but a welcome addition and something that makes this chain stand apart from the competition. The burger was a "restuarant-style" burger in a fast food joint if that makes sense...With all of the add-ons my burger came to $10 so it can be a bit pricier than 5 Guys.

          The interior was a little sleek and modern and it felt a bit "upscale" which is a good thing in my books. Another thing they do is create a specialized burger for each market they are in. I went a second time and had their Twin Cities burger which I don't think is available in other markets. Oh, they serve Haagen Dazs shakes!

        2. re: cellophane_star

          "Smashing caramelizes the beef"
          How does that work? I didn't think there would be enough sugar in beef to do that unless it's in the secret spice blend.

          1. re: hsk

            From what I understand when you "smash" a raw ball of beef into a very hot and flat grill, you maximize the surface area of beef in contact with the cooking surface. After it sizzles away in it's own fat(and butter), the result is a burger with a very flavourful dark brown crust. From what I gather they invented their own heavy duty spatula to first smash, then scrape the burgs off the grill. Very different than squishing a burger while it's cooking and forcing the juices out.

            I often use this method at home on my cast iron griddle and as Scary Bill mentioned so does Rocky's (amazing burgs)......I can't comment on anything else about Smashburger because I've never tried one but there's definitely something to be said for the smash technique.

            I'm looking forward to trying one of these....hopefully it doesn't take forever for them to open a location in the south end of town.

            1. re: hsk

              It's the Maillard reaction, which is the reaction between an amino acid and a small amount of sugar in the presence of heat. It looks and tastes sort of similar to caramelization, but isn't the same thing.

              1. re: 23skidoo

                I'll resist the temptation to elaborate.

          2. Did I see black bean burgers and "veggie fries"? :) I need more fast food in my vegetarian life.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jetgirly

              I'm not sure because there is no signs but the location from the Herald article finally has some construction activity going on.

              I would like to see a Carls Jr too, with a green burito.

              1. re: The Gut

                My brother said there's a "Coming soon, Smash Burger" sigh up on 32ave NE now.

            2. The problem I am having is that very respectable chefs from Mario Batali to Heston Blumenthal and Cooks Illustrated say that ground beef should be handled gently when making burgers to avoid compressing the meat into tough, dry patties. I do love a crust on a hamburger but I'm concerned about someone who would smash the meat.

              Sometimes conventional wisdom isn't all that wise though and I'm willing to give them a try.

              9 Replies
              1. re: sharonanne

                I would tend to agree that generally speaking, ground meat should be worked as little as possible when making meatballs or hand formed burgers. With this technique,(if done correctly) the ground beef is barely even touched before it is seasoned and "smashed" one single time. I've done it a hundred times at home and the result is a very tender and juicy burger with a delicious crust that develops from frying in it's own fat. The texture (at least in my experience) is far more tender than a burger that's been worked for 10 to 30 seconds in someone's hands(or a machine). It's kind of like the beef is just holding together because of the crust and would otherwise fall apart!

                Even if Smash Burger is a fail, this method is top notch haha. Give it a try!

                  1. re: nonlinear

                    I have to admit it looks good. We'll give it a try once they open.

                    1. re: nonlinear

                      that guy's hair... wow...

                      lol at the commentary at 2:30 - 'you get this beef on steroids flavour' I don't think he meant what he said there...

                      1. re: marcopolo

                        No, he meant it:


                        Canada is similar


                        Certified organic is the only one without I believe.

                        "Smashburger, we help you pump iron!!!

                    2. re: johnjohnson78

                      Thanks but the Cooks Illustrated burger recipe is too incredible to miss. Long story short: you grind the meat in a food processor.

                      1. re: sharonanne

                        We stopped so my wife could press her nose on their windows. They said they will open on Wednesday and will have Macay's icecream intheirmilkshakesinsted or hagandas,

                        1. re: The Gut

                          Went for lunch today. There was a line up but well worth the wait. Burger was big and juicy, smash fries were fantastic. Cant wait to go back.

                          1. re: Bavin

                            The burgers were nice and juicy. I might have made a topping error, did not love the BBQ sauce.

                            All the sides we had were excellent, smash fries, sweet potato fries, vegetable frites and fried pickles. My wife is talking about going for chicken burgers tommorow.

                  2. Had a big smash, a bit greasy for me, but tasty and just slightly pink in the middle, perfectly cooked; my wife had grilled chicken, very good, if a little thin, and smash fries, great with the rosemary. Overall, very nice addition to the Calgary burger scene, but I still prefer the bison burger at Diner Deluxe.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: tibbles

                      Went back for the chicken. I'll be eating chicken when we go there. I had the grilled buffalo style, pretty good. The wife had crispy avocado club, it was spectacular. We grabbed a poutine, I loved it but I don't seem to like some of the poutines that are supposed to be good so maybe I don't know poutine.

                      1. re: The Gut

                        Went back for a second visit yesterday, this time trying the Grilled Chicken Spinach and Goat Cheese Sandwich. Bearing in mind that my expectations of just about any chain restaurant is limited, I was exceedingly pleased with this offering. Tickled even; I would go back for this menu item happily and often. From my first visit I had a survey code for free Smashfries which I utilized yesterday. Double-Meh. The Grilled Chicken Sandwich made up for it though. Double-Yay!

                        1. re: nutellaluvr

                          How sad to respond to my own post, but it must be said. I returned to Smashburger for a do-over of the Grilled Chicken Spinach and Goat Cheese Sandwich. I was highly anticipating this particular lunch, and (argh!), never again. They completely omitted the goat cheese (not a scrap to be found upon pulling the sandwich apart), three baby leaves of spinach and chicken that had gnarly portions. Of course, I had ordered takeaway so I didn't find out until I was long gone. I had a promo code for a free side and had decided to try the fried pickles which I wouldn't repeat just on the lack of crispiness. That's not to say they were outright soggy, but close. I was so bummed.