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The Untold History of the Original Smash Burger: Beyond the Similar-Named Chain

The Original Smash Burger: A culinary journey through history

When you think of a delicious, mouthwatering Smash Burger, you might associate it with the popular fast food chain Smashburger. But the truth is, this iconic burger wasn’t actually invented by the chain of the same name. Join us on a culinary journey through history to discover the origins and evolution of the original Smash Burger.

The early days: A Practical Solution

The history of the Smash Burger dates back to the early 20th century, a time of economic hardship and the need to feed many people with limited resources. During this time, the concept of smashing and flattening a beef patty during cooking emerged as a practical and efficient way to stretch the use of limited amounts of meat. This cooking method was initially used to feed factory workers and fairgoers, providing them with a tasty and affordable meal.
While the exact origins of the Smash Burger are difficult to trace, establishments like Miner Dunn in Highland, Indiana, have been serving these delicious burgers for nearly a century. Their version of the Smash Burger, along with the onion-heavy OKC Burger, which originated in Depression-era Oklahoma in the 1920s, laid the groundwork for what would become a beloved culinary tradition.

The Smash Burger technique: Crispy, Juicy and Flavorful

The smash burger technique involves placing meat in a hot pan or skillet and applying pressure to smash and flatten the meat as it cooks. This technique produces a burger that is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and cooks faster than a thicker patty. The secret lies in the intensified flavors and unique texture that can only be achieved with this method.
While smash-style burgers have been around for at least a century, it wasn’t until 2007 that the Smashburger fast-food chain opened its first restaurant in Denver, Colorado. While they didn’t invent the smash-burger, Smashburger played a pivotal role in popularizing the cooking method and bringing it into the mainstream.

A meteoric rise in popularity

Since its inception, Smashburger has experienced remarkable growth, becoming the fastest fast-casual chain to reach the impressive milestone of 200 restaurants. With over 200 locations in 34 states and 156 cities, Smashburger has captured the hearts and taste buds of burger lovers across the country.
However, Smashburger is not the only smashburger purveyor in town. Food trucks, pop-ups, and other restaurants have also embraced this burger grilling method, further fueling its popularity. The Smash Burger trend has even crossed borders, captivating burger lovers in countries like Australia and Canada.

Revealing the true origins

While the similarly named Smashburger chain may have popularized the term “smash burger,” it is important to acknowledge the rich history and heritage behind this culinary delight. The original Smash Burger is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of cooks and chefs who sought to create flavorful and satisfying meals in challenging times.
So the next time you sink your teeth into a delicious Smash Burger, remember that you’re not only indulging in a delicious treat, but also connecting with a culinary tradition that spans generations. Let’s celebrate the original Smash Burger and the countless people who have contributed to its enduring legacy.
“The Original Smash Burger Wasn’t Invented by the Similarly Named Chain” –
Note: This article is based on the information provided in the referenced source and may not reflect the author’s personal opinions or beliefs.


Who invented the original Smash Burger?

The original Smash Burger is credited to Bill Culvertson, owner of a burger joint called Dairy Cheer in Ashland, Kentucky, more than half a century ago. However, historical evidence suggests that smash burgers existed as early as 1932 and were served at places like Miner Dunn in Highland, Indiana.

What is the cooking technique for Smash Burgers?

The Smash Burger technique involves placing the meat in a hot pan or skillet and smashing and flattening it as it cooks. The result is a burger that is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and cooks faster than a thicker patty. It is a popular method for intensifying flavors and achieving a unique texture.

Did Smashburger invent the Smashburger?

No, Smashburger did not invent the Smash Burger. While the chain played a significant role in popularizing the term and cooking method, the origins of the Smash Burger can be traced back to earlier establishments and culinary traditions, such as the OKC Burger from 1920s Depression-era Oklahoma and the practical approach of feeding factory workers in the early 20th century.

How has the Smash Burger trend spread outside the United States?

The Smash Burger trend has spread beyond the United States, with countries like Australia and Canada embracing this flavorful cooking method. Food trucks, pop-ups and other restaurateurs in these regions have prominently featured the Smash Burger, contributing to its global appeal.

What makes the original Smash Burger different from other burger options?

The original smash burger stands out for its practicality and efficiency in making the most of limited amounts of beef in times of economic hardship. Its cooking method of smashing and flattening the meat creates a distinctive texture and intensified flavors that have captivated burger lovers for generations.

How has Smashburger contributed to the popularity of the Smashburger?

While Smashburger didn’t invent the Smashburger, it has played a significant role in popularizing the cooking method. Through its rapid growth and expansion, Smashburger has introduced the Smash Burger to a broader audience, making it a favorite choice for burger lovers across the United States.

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