The smash burger
A fine, fine burger indeed.
The Meatpacking District Bill's feels like a cross between a pub and a burger joint. It's cozy and comfortable, down to the dark wood seats and checkered tablecloths.
Pat LaFrieda and Bill Reichler
The two spend months working through dozens of blends and recipes to arrive at this burger. "You didn't want to eat meat for a while after that," said chef Reichler.
Salt the griddle
Coarse salt and a bit of pepper are sprinkled directly on the slick griddle, which is heated to about 450°F.
The 6-ounce patty, which comes pre-formed by LaFrieda Meats, hits the griddle and gets salted on the top. And no, it's not too much.
"The key is the press," explained chef Riechler. For a proper sear, "you want the meat to adhere to the griddle." His smash technique involves an offset spatula that's weighed down by the butt of a knife.
The patty sears for 1 minute and 20 seconds, until the very bottom of the sides begin to brown.
Yup, that's what we're talking about.
The patty is topped with a slice of American cheese...
...before getting covered for a brief steam treatment. See you on the other side, little buddy!
The steam gently cooks the patty while melting the cheese just so.
Sesame seed buns go through a machine for a very light toasting before assembly.
The special sauce is a mix of barbecue sauce, mayo, and some house secrets. And yes, it does come squirted out of an enormous sauce gun.
The rest of the burger mise en place: shredded iceberg, sliced tomato, and thinly sliced pickles, "so you get a little in every bite."
The burger doesn't need much of a rest, so it can go straight out to the table once it's finished.
There's still some pink in the patty, despite the hard sear. It makes for a lovely, juicy mess.