…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? Our company develop the Smashed Stacked for Marine World / Africa USA in Redwood City in the early 1980s. The guest had a choice of 1, 2, or 3 1/4-pound grilled and smashed patties. Smashed thin on the grill, they were quick to cook. Since this theme park innovation years ago smashed burgers are now served in a variety of places including the Smash Burger chain.
Many burger restaurants are trying to outdo themselves by delivering 8 to 10-ounce burger patties on eggy, toasted brioche buns with a giant steak knife stuck through the top to prevent it from falling apart. Personally, I don’t like them much. It’s take a real commitment to eat one of these messy giant stacks—once you start you can’t put it down or it will definitely fall apart.
Unlike ordinary hamburgers that have thick patties, smash burgers are smashed thin, pressed down on the griddle with a heavy cook’s spatula. The center is neither rare pink nor juicy. Instead, the burgers have a consistent thinness and crust in every bite. They are cooked on the hottest griddle possible so that the thin patties get a fiery sear that takes them almost to the point of burning. However, that crispy, griddled char gives the patty its distinctive flavor and texture.
The original Marine World Smashed Stack was inspired from Gaby’s, a diner in LA (my childhood favorite for their burgers and hot fudge sundaes), streamlined for Marine World and later adopted by Freddy’s, Smash Burger and Shake Shack. Now this burger style has an army of supporters. So why not turn the patty into a taco—a Smashed Taco Americano?
Smash Burger Tacos are one of hottest burger trends this summer. I’ve seen them pitched on Tic Toc and YouTube—it’s pretty clear this fun and fresh spin on burger patties will be around for a long time.
Although ingenious, the Smashed Taco Americano is incredibly simple to make. It is nothing more than a thin burger patty, cooked directly into a tortilla, loaded up with burger toppings, and folded like a taco. It is the ultimate smash-up of summer favorites, with the flavor of a burger and all the convenience of a taco. The tortilla is actually griddled in the burger grease, giving it the crisp, flavorful crust of a fried quesadilla. It’s crispy on the outside, but cheesy and meaty on the inside—kind of feels like a bun-less burger with all the familiar flavors of a burger in an entirely new build.
Grab a handful of burger meat (about 4 ounces), season it generously with salt and pepper, and cook it on a flat griddle on high heat. Don’t go for lean burger meat blend—you’ll want the extra grease to cook the tortilla. Place a flour tortilla on top and smash it down until flattened Once the patty is totally browned, flip it over. Top it with a slice of American cheese, then cover with the lid of a pan to let the cheese melt, the burger cook fully, and the tortilla crisp up in the pan.
All that's left to do is top your “taco” with your favorite toppings, like shredded lettuce, chopped pickles, diced onions, and a creamy, zesty burger sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 pound fresh ground round (not a lean blend)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 flour tortillas (6-inch)
2 slices American cheese, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup diced lightly grilled red onion
1. Combine mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish and hot sauce in a small bowl; set sauce aside.
2. Heat a griddle over extremely high heat.
3. Scoop beef into 4 loose portions and place them in mounds on the hot griddle and start to cook.
4. Season evenly with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes
5. Place a tortilla on top of each beef portion and press down to flatten the beef into the shape and size of the tortilla. Don’t be timid or bashful, push it down hard.
6. Cook until tortilla is golden-brown, 2 to 3 more minutes.
7. Flip each patty-tortilla over (patty side up) and top with cheese.
8. When the cheese has melted and the tortilla has lightly browned, top with lettuce and onions. Drizzle with sauce, remove from the griddle and fold in half like a taco.
9. Serve immediately.
ChefSecret: Take the Smashed Taco in a different direction with smashed chorizo meat, Tex-Mex toppings like chopped tomato, pico de gallo, guacamole, cilantro and sour cream.
Quip of the Day: A balanced diet is a taco in both hands.
Do you have a question or comment? Send your favorite recipes, pictures or thoughts to email@example.com. Recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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©PERSPECTIVES/The Consulting Group, LLC, 2023
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