Another Food Critic had the pleasure of attending a media introduction of a whole new Smashburger partnership at the Dayton restaurant this week. The very quickly growing burger chain (with three locations in Dayton right now, and 200 or so all over) is partnering with the Great Lakes Brewing Co. for some delicious beer and burger pairings.
With the great folks from K99.1 FM, Dayton Business Journal, Food vs. Face, WHIO-TV and others, I got a personal lesson in grilling and brews from Smashburger founder Tom Ryan and Great Lakes brewmaster Luke Purcell.
The partnership brings together some of the best sandwiches and beers, among them:
- Classic Smashburger + Dortmunder Gold Lager
- Mushroom Swiss Burger + Eliot Ness Amber Lager
- BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger + Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
- Buckeye Burger + Burning River Pale Ale
- Spicy Vegetable Black Bean Burger + Commodore Perry IPA
- Classic Smash chicken + Dortmunder Gold Lager
- Avocado Club chicken + Eliot Ness Amber Lager
That was just the start of the night, though. I’ve long acclaimed my love for Smashburger (yes, they had less than half the number of restaurants they do now when I posted my first review) but I learned my way around a Smashburger kitchen from the inventor himself.
I always knew there was a secret to the Smashburger, but it’s amazing the simplicity of how the burger is made. I’ve tried a few times to replicate the thing, but it’s amazing how tricky the thing is to make. Ryan doesn’t make a secret of his Smashburger recipe, but it’s clear the tastiness of the burger lies in the third-pound chopped (not ground) Angus beef meatball that is “smashed” onto a hot grill so the outer sear locks in the juices until you bite into the finished product. I also tried (and failed) at the key burger flipping technique that keeps the caramelized shell on the top of the burger. I never was very good at flipping things, anyway!
Smashburger’s been on fire for taking American dining in a new direction with the “fast casual” concept, and it’s clear the genius behind the concept is genuine. I hear Smashburger is to partner with Moerlein Lager House in the Cincinnati market. If that’s the case, nothing will stop me from being there when the doors open!