St. Burgs Part 1: Melboune's King of the Smashed Patty Burger
10 February, 2020
The St. Burgs logo states ‘EST. 2014’, despite the first store not opening until August 2015. This is because St. Burgs began for the same reasons as all good things, not for money, but for the love of something. Dan, the owner and founder of St. Burgs, had been doing burger pop-ups for friends and family for over a year prior to opening a bricks and mortar store, at the base of some residential apartments in Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s West. This is where he learnt the sweet science, and mastered the subtle art of the smashed burger patty.
“If it doesn’t have a crust on the edges and a juicy middle, then it hasn’t been done right”
For the unenlightened, not all burger patties are created equal. The practice of ‘smashing’ a beef burger
patty is one in which the chef places a ball of minced beef on the hot grill, and uses a utensil to ‘smash’ or flatten the beef. This seemingly simple act, has a lot of complexities. When executed properly, it results in a greater area of contact between the grill and the meat, allowing for the maximum amount of browning to occur as a result of the reaction between the amino acids and sugars. This process is known as the ‘Maillard reaction’ and gifts the beef a distinctly different flavour to that of a regular beef patty. Dan describes the textbook smashed patty as one of which the eater experiences a “beef crust at first bite, but then also tastes the juiciness of the middle part of the patty. It’s basically the best of both worlds. If it doesn’t have a crust on the edges and a juicy middle, then it hasn’t been done right.”
“A lot of people think smashed patties are as simple as getting any old beef mince and smashing the crap out of it onto a grill"
St. Burgs claims rights to the finest smashed patty in Australia. The statement may sound subjective. It is not. It is more so a commonly accepted fact amongst those that eat the most burgers, the connoisseurs and fat kids alike. Dan attributes this achievement to the time invested in developing his craft, “I believe that our smashed patties are amazing because I’ve put a lot of time and research into them.” When asked what variables exist, he says “A lot of people think smashed patties are as simple as getting any old beef mince and smashing the crap out of it onto a grill. You need to consider the temperature of the grill, the type of grind used on the mincer, the amount of pressure used when forming patties or balls, and, most importantly the fat ratio.” He also references the importance of the source and quality of the beef supply, “whether it be grass fed or grain fed, the region the beef is from, and selecting the right cuts of beef with the right amount of fat content to create the perfect beef blend.”
Gone are the days when burgers were simply burgers, lazy bloke food comprised of minced beef sandwiched between bread. Melbourne punters expect the best. The skill and experience demanded to prepare a first-class burger, with a strong flavour profile and the right ratios, is as great as any dish eaten under the dim lighting of Melbourne’s most reputable fine-dining establishments. One need look no further for evidence of this than the many failed forays into the Melbourne and Sydney burger scenes by high-profile chefs.
This has been Part 1 of a two part feature of St. Burgs. Next week TheCulinaryInsight will take a look into the story behind Melbourne's first donut burger, the Krispy D from St. Burgs.
St. Burgs MARIBYRNONG
SUN TO THURS : 12PM - 9PM
FRI & SAT : 12PM - 11PM
4/41-45 Edgewater Blvd, Maribyrnong
St. Burgs CAROLINE SPRINGS
SUN TO THURS : 11AM - 10PM
FRI & SAT : 11AM - 11PM
Shop B4, 1042 Western Highway, Caroline Springs