Gourmet burgers or smash burgers? The last gastronomic duel is against the grill | Country week

Minced meat, usually beef, flattened on a scorching plate until the heat manages to form a crust; Then it’s just a matter of turning it and working again when the cheese starts to melt on it, and then taste it quietly with your bread, your pickle, onion and ketchup and mustard to taste. This is the hamburger that won among the fans. The question of do you want it to be very good, to the point or less?, because the smash burger (squashed hamburger, in English) has its elements, yes, but it is unique. To discuss the secret of this type of hamburger, it is easy to first meet Louis-Camille Maillard, a doctor and physician born in Pont-à-Mousson, north-eastern France, in 1878. At the age of 34, this brilliant scientist. devoted his research to study the reaction of amino acids and carbohydrates and came to the conclusion that, by applying heat to some foods, not only do they change color, but also their flavors are different, while their aromas improve. Therefore, the more meat is on the grill, the tastier it will be. We can continue with the chemistry class, but it is better to apply it directly on the plate. María Martín de Pozuelo explains María Martín de Pozuelo says “By roasting the meat, the Maillard reaction is carried out, which causes the fat of the hamburger to caramelize and create a crispy crust that gives it its characteristic smell,” explains María Martín de Pozuelo, community leader Junk Burger (José Abascal, 31, Madrid).

The fact that this establishment was opened in the center of Madrid in 2020, before the epidemic, is one of the culprits for the success of these hamburgers since March, them. smash burger won the II Spanish Hamburger Championship. Although the restaurant is still working on dishes, a few months ago its idea, chef César Peña, stopped working and now cuts his meat in his own way New fun, Cesar’s Burgers (San Lucas, 11, Madrid).

They are not alone. In March of this year, a small shop of 23 square meters opened its doors in the Chueca neighborhood to export alone and unique. smash burgers. The goal of the twins Juan Vicente and Andrés Casanova, responsible for the Espicy sauce brand and the entrepreneurs behind the small business, is to provide 100 of the hamburgers in each service. When they ran out, Pink’s (Infantas, 40, Madrid) closed the door. “We like the idea of ​​opening a company where we make the best products. Here quality is something that is not talked about, but at the same time it is about everything simple very eight, to the point”, explains Juan Vicente.

In the photo, a hamburger from Junk Burger, the winner of Spain 2022, is being eaten.
In the photo, a hamburger from Junk Burger, the winner of Spain 2022, is being eaten.Joseph Fox

It was followed, also in the middle, by Crackles (San Bernardo, 59, Madrid), Madrid’s restaurant Burmet specialized in American food and which became a kind of test of ideas for the company. “Here we make versions hit one of the most wanted hamburgers in Burmet “, points out Daniel Ramírez, director of the place. Hence, one of the most requested brings the authentic torreznos instead of the bacón. But it is not in Madrid only. The phenomenon also extends to Barcelona, ​​​​where Folks (avenida de Sarrià, 69, Barcelona) stands, a small and bustling place where Spicy hamburger seduces lovers of spicy food. Is it fad or smash burger do you come to stay? Professionals Adrià and María, who run the Bestburger Instagram account and also the account of the hamburgers they have eaten since they began to announce their relationship with them in social media in 2013 – “we try a week on average, so, if we do the calculation, we get more than 400”, confirms Adrià-, they have the truth: “It is. From the first time we try We are captivated by them. They are delicious and simple and do not have dozens of additional ingredients, which in the end end up extracting the meat.”

Beyond the quality of the ingredients and the skills of the chef when it comes to carefully crushing the ball of minced meat, in lies, in giving it back all the prominence. Martín Pozuelo explains that “The concept comes from the United States. “In the sixties they broke the meat because they could not and before one burger with few ingredients – they only add bread and cheese, and mostly pickles and onions – and so they have achieved excellent food at a low price”. Casanova is an imagination. The this hamburger, for him, represents a return to the origin. “It is about making simple things, one of the best things that we want to eat. We are at a time when everything is too much, hamburgers are getting bigger and bigger, overflowing with cheddar, they have become boxes that hold everything…, and our idea is how to put the easy stuff without good conversation. Go to the essence. We want to go back to that burger you ate when you were a kid. “

“In Spain we have very good products and very good meat. Also, the public knows how to enjoy good taste,” said Ramírez, from Crackles. This is something they agree on, with the proportion of fat that each of the carnal discs must carry, in all cases of cattle, whether Galician blonde or Simmental: of 20% and 30%. “The idea is that, although the product is baked on the griddle, it remains liquid,” Casanova said. The meat is made quickly, at a temperature of about 250 degrees, that the cheese is finished melting already in the sandwich.

In the photo, cheese melts over the meat crust at Junk Burg.
In the photo, cheese melts over the meat crust at Junk Burg.Joseph Fox

Almost as important as the main product is the bread. “We are supporters of brioche. The sweetness that it brings burger you can’t get with others, “says Junk Burger network manager. At Crackles and Pink’s, they bet on bread of the same style, but with potatoes. The latter is brought from the United States.” We bought it from a company that has been doing it for 80 years. Since then, there have been many people who have tried to imitate it, but no one has succeeded”, explained Casanova while he ate one of his hamburgers. “It is very important that it does not there is a weapon in your hand. With this bread, it reaches the last end, “he added, pointing to the rest that he held with two fingers. And how the edges of the meat give a kind of crispy threads, amazing fully caramelized, which Maillard himself, who died in 1936 in Paris, would be happy. Experts Adrià Méndez and María Caracuel agree on the importance of the bread can support the inside. “It must be sealed properly so that it does not explode when bitten,” they warned.

As Juan Gabriel Casanova demonstrates, who eats it sitting on a bench in Plaza del Rey, just 100 meters from Pink’s, we are talking about food in the street, creating an enjoyable stay everywhere. Martín de Pozuelo said “It’s a way out.” You can eat it in our restaurant, at home, on the couch or at a dance and singing show, it always feels like it. ” This time, Casanova even got into the argument: “We have a team ready to show our customers that next to it there are two chairs, Pedro Zero and King’s, perfect to sit for a while while eating. With this, we want people to take advantage of public spaces again, to restore the quietness of the squares. “A simple recipe, deep, based on itself smash burger.

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