Smashing the Burger!

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One of the perks of being a blogger is the fabulous events you get invited to.  Recently, Heather (from What Does She Do All Day), her husband John, and I were able to attend an event I was uber excited about.  Anyone who knows me knows my favorite meal in the entire world is a cheeseburger.  (Yes, I know people think I’m crazy but I’m OK with that.)  Well, when I had the opportunity to attend an event at Smashburger, I squealed.  Literally.

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SmashBurger, “a fast-casual restaurant designed to be every city’s favorite place for burgers”, was started by Tom Ryan in Denver Colorado.

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Tom had the vision to provide a delicious burger experience that the general public could afford.  They pride themselves on using fresh, never frozen beef as well as a myriad of toppings.  They also try to add a little local flare to some of their burgers when possible.  For example, the BBQ sauce on the BBQ Bacon and Cheddar burger (my personal favorite) varies region to region.  In Tennessee, they use a Memphis style BBQ sauce.  In Texas and Oklahoma, they pull from the local resources there.  In North Carolina?  You guessed it.  Local, local, local.  Jake did lots of research into their claims.

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For this event, it was the same deal.  Instead of BBQ sauce, though, they were discussing something a little more…adult.  Beer, people.  It was a burger and BEER event!  Sweet!  OK, so I’m not a huge beer drinker, but who would pass up the opportunity to sample free burgers and free booze?  Not this girl!

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Smashburger has always served alcohol at their restaurants, but they’ve decided to up their game a little.  They are pairing up with local microbreweries and really delving into the flavors that compliment each other.  For Ohio, the team chose…who else…Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC)!  As a Cleveland-born lady, I was all about this.  I love supporting local companies in any way I can.

To start the event, we were brought nearly every side dish Smashburger has to offer.  My favorite (aside from the Smash Sweet Potato Fries) were the Fried Banana Peppers!  Who knew?

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Tom spent a little time talking about starting the company.  Then he introduced Brew Master Luke Purcell from GLBC.  They talked about how they spent a great deal of time really trying to pick the flavors that worked the best together.  It was interesting to me to hear how they did it, especially since most beer tastes the same to me.  😛

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We began the evening with the classic Smash paired with the most versatile beer, Dortmunder Gold.  Next up, the Mushroom Swiss burger along with Eliot Ness.

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Then, my favorite burger, the BBQ Bacon and Cheddar with Edmund Fitzgerald.

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After that, we had the Buckeye Burger and Burning River (named for when the Cuyahoga River caught on fire in the 1960s…a bit of trivia for ya).  They kind of threw us a curve ball after that with the Spicy (for real, yo) Black Bean Burger and Commodore Perry.  Adding to the non-beef options, we had the Classic Chicken sammie with the Dortmunder again.  Rounding things out, we sampled the Avocado Club chicken sammie with the Eliot Ness.

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I was an equal opportunity sampler, but my heart sang when I tried the BBQ Bacon burger.  I knew it would though.  I’ve eaten at Smashburger several times, and I almost always go with this burger.  It is made up of several of my favorite items:  BBQ sauce, bacon, beef, cheddar, bacon, onion straws, and…oh…did I mention bacon?  Next time I go, I’m adding avocado to it.  PERFECTION on a bun!  Geez, my mouth is watering at 8:30am…

Perhaps the most fun of the evening, however, was when we got to go back into the kitchen and smash burgers with Tom.  Here’s a little back story about Bethany.  When I was in college, I worked at a restaurant at UK called K-Lair Grill.  We had all kinds of “diner” type food, but we sold burgers far more than anything else.  I was one of the grill cooks that worked there.  And let me tell you…I could cook and assemble burgers better than anyone.  In fact, I didn’t even have to ask where my managers wanted me when I got to work.  I was immediately put on the grill.  Yep, I was that good.  (So I’m being a little cocky.  And I’m OK with that!  lol)

Well, when Tom said we could go smash burgers, visions of college flashed through my head.  I was all over it.  My friend Katie did me the favor of filming me “in my college element”.  So much fun!

After smashing burgers, we were able to sample a couple milkshakes for dessert.  We tasted the Cookies and Cream as well as the Strawberry.  I am a huge fan of the Cookies and Cream now and it will be hard for me to resist ordering one when I’m in there!

This event was really fun and I simply can’t wait for the next one.  Thanks to Katie at Domestic Debacle for setting it up for all of us!

Disclaimer:  Though I was provided the food and beverages for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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