Smashburgers Have Taken Center Stage, Following Are 10 Places In the Lowcountry To Enjoy Some of the Best
Jeff Walker, Food & Beverage Writer
Much like the actual birth of rock n' roll in the early 1950's, the same can be said for the genesis of the smashburger. Legend has it that more than 60 years ago a fry cook in Kentucky took a ball of ground beef and used a can of vegetables to flatten the patty and the beginnings of the smashburger was born.
While a few roadside diners slowly incorporated the new rendition of America's go to handheld delight into their menus, with the explosion of the fast food burger chains the smashburger didn't take off as expected. However, in the 21st century and especially over the past decade smashburgers have moved center stage, with national chains building brands around them, and more mom & pops adding them to their daily menus.
Just what makes an ideal smashburger is rather simple. The meat primarily has to be ground beef or chuck, preferably with fat content of 20-30%. The amount of fat aka the flavorful grease is key to the overall taste. Prepping a smashburger is equally as simple. Flatten it out on a smooth grill, press lightly, season as preferred, flip within two minutes to secure a slightly crispy exterior while maintaining a juiciness, and add cheese if preferred.
The finished product is a patty that is a tad larger than the bun and not necessarily served with veggie overkill, more acceptably with sliced pickles and caramelized onions. Some eateries will include a dab or ketchup and or mustard, but purists might prefer their smashburger without condiments to savor every juicy bite. The whole process from order to your taste-buds takes less than four minutes.
With the history and creation in mind, the following are ten of the better places in greater Charleston to enjoy a smashburger. From Summerville to downtown, and from Mount Pleasant to west of the Ashley there are a host of local restaurants that serve up smashburgers worth your visit and your hard earned dollar!
If you happen to be on the peninsula you may want to drop by one of three locally owned eateries serving up authentic smashburgers.
Chucktown Smash Burgers says it right in their name. Located in the new Port of Call at 99 S. Market St. Chucktown serve up nothing but smashburgers. For $11 their signature burger comes complete with two beef patties blanketed under a slice of American, topped with pickles and thinly slice onions, with a slather or garlic aioli on a slightly toasted potato bun. A half dozen additional toppings if you want to dress it up. They are the epitome of a smashburger. Have a craving, https://www.portofcallchs.com/chucktown-smash-burger/
Although they are fairly new, the Legend Deli at 41A George St. is quickly becoming legendary for their You Shall Not Smashburger. An ideal double patty blend of beef and pork seared just right before layered under white American, caramelized onions, and B&B pickles for a hint of sweetness, before being placed on a seeded bun. Comes complete with their special SO GOOD (secret recipe) sauce to make it extra legendary. Discover where sandwiches become heroes at https://legenddeli.com/menu/
Currently priced under $12, Heavy's (1137 Morrison Dr.) signature Barburger is a grilled twin patty smash burger blanketed under American cheese and teeming with sliced tomato, red onion, lettuce and pickles with a slather of their secret Heavy’s sauce. Your made to order Barburger is served on a soft bun complements of Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery (one of a small list of elite local bakeries). Add your choice of regular or sweet potato fries or Heavy’s extra creamy Cheesy Mac for around $4. Yummy to the max! Take part in their 'Pass The Hat' burger movement and help raise money for local charities. Come one, come all at https://www.heavysbarburger.com/
There are several places east of the Cooper that offer up smashburgers, but three that stand out include two in Mount Pleasant and a freakin' awesome one on the Isle of Palms. Smugglers Island Eats Rum Shack on the IOP is the very definition of an ideal smashburger. Smashed and stacked with two perfectly seasoned all beef patties amid pickles and white American cheese with a slather of their homemade Smuggler sauce. Teeming with flavor and just the right amount of juiciness to require a few more napkins. Lucky enough to be on IOP on Monday, than the Smashburger is half priced. Find them at 1122 Ocean Blvd and online at https://smugglersiop.com/
In Mount P. you can drop by the all new Bohemian Bull (former Carrabba's) at 2668 N Hwy 17 near Brick Yard Plantation. According to Richard the owner, their Gettin' Smash Burger a 60/40 blend of brisket and black angus beef comes from the kitchen to your table 'smashed, charred, and served with love'. Two thinly smashed crispy burgers overflowing a soft bun complete with pickles and sauteed onions. Apply your own condiments or just enjoy the savory beef on its own merits. On Wednesday it's best to get to the Bull early for lunch or dinner because their BOHO burgers are half priced. Their original location can be found on Folly Road on James Island. Grab the Bull by the horns at https://www.bohemianbull.com/mt-pleasant
As their name suggests Rocket Burger offers up 'outta this world smashburgers'. Actually a food truck positioned in the parking lot of Red Drum restaurant at 803 Coleman Blvd. Rocket Burger serve up their signature burger from 11am-4pm Tues thru Sat with patio seating available, including a full bar on Saturday. Oozing with white American these all beef (with a smidge of brisket) delectables are a tad messy and come with just the right amount of crunch. Three napkin minimum. Rated TA for 'totally awesome'. Soar to new smashburger heights at https://rocketburgercharleston.com/
If you're in the north area, I recommend taking care of your smashburger craving at 4258 Spruill Ave, home to Coney Island Hot Wieners. Hell yes they serve up incredible hotdogs, but Coney Island Hot Wieners also put together a kick ass seared creation they call the Coney Smashburger. Simply a far from pretty, slightly juicy, and extremely tasty smashburger assembled as expected. Afforable? You bet. On its own just $11, or with a side and drink for $15. Love your dog or burger with cold brew, Coney Island Hot Wieners have a full bar. Incredible!! Taste the sensation at https://www.parkcircleconeyisland.com/
With locations in Goose Creek, Summerville, Mt. Pleasant, and West Ashley, Charleston Sports Pub can satisfy your smashburger longing no matter what part of the lowcountry you're in. Relish in a double dose of smashed patties drenched in queso under cheddar cheese topped with house sauce (trade secret) and pickles, cooked medium well on a buttered brioche bun. Another five signature burgers to boot! Best when accompanied with Hand cut potato chips or Garlic Truffle Fries. Charleston Sports Pub is every bit a neighborhood watering hole. Meat lovers enjoy BOGO Burger Night on Monday, where your second specialty burger is half off. Damn straight burgers can be considered date night dining. Find your local pub at https://www.charlestonsportspub.com/
Up in Summerville you're invited to 'let's tie one on' at The Knot Burger Pub 208 E 5th N St. (Hwy 78). The Knot is equal parts a burger joint as well as a comfortable dive bar where patrons have eight (count'em), eight burgers to choose from with their signature Burchy (named for the owner) fitting the smashburger description. Approximately 1/4 lb burgers prepared fresh when ordered, never frozen, specially seasoned & cooked to create the crispy outside with a buttery inside. Burchy's come as singles, doubles or triples! Untie the Knot at https://thecelticknotpub.com/
Long before the smashburger craze found a second coming Matt's Burgers in downtown Summerville were serving them up without any fanfare. Matt's straight forward 1/4 lb. cheeseburger is the quintessential smashburger, adorned with fried onion, mustard, pickle, with or without lettuce and tomato. Under $7 unless you double it up for under $10.
Looking for an explosive experience, maybe try The Bomb, Matt's signature chili sausage cheeseburger, topped with American, hot pepper cheese before being smothered in 8oz of chili, complete with mustard, pickle and fried onion. Of course they'll stack your burger as high as you want. Matt's Burgers at 102 South Cedar Street is a flowertown institution. Revisit old school at https://mattsburgerschs.com/
Without question burgers and cheeseburgers are one of America's favorite comfort foods. There are a bazillion chain restaurants and independents that make burgers a focal point on their menus. Now, more than six decades since their humble beginnings smashburgers have moved into the limelight, with some agreeing they are becoming the preferred burger choice.
Although the cheese, type of pickle, and onions might vary as well as the beef to brisket ratio, the aforementioned list of local eateries all craft their signature smashburger with pride and excellence, serving them up seared, moist, somewhat messy, and full of flavor. Any profiled in this article would fully satisfy your smashburger cravings! Most come as a double patty priced around $12. Of course you can enjoy as a single, or even triple stacked. If you love meat I suggest you eat and repeat often.
Here's a Charleston.com bonus feature.
Although all the aforementioned brick and mortar businesses serve up awesome and unique smashburgers, there is one not tethered to a specific location. Smash City Burgers could easily be the premier smashburger in greater Charleston. This roving food truck has been serving up some of the thinnest and cheesiest smashburgers for several years in the lowcountry, relying on an 80/20 blend of ground beef to provide just the right amount of fat content creating a delightfully good kind of messy, yet always juicy smashburger.
While Smash City offer up a half dozen variations, two rise to the top and they are the Oklahoma and the Carolina Caviar. The former pays homage to the great cattle rustlers of the Sooner state and is simply two perfectly seared extra thin patties drenched in cheese and sauteed onions. Superb! And don't let the Caviar scare ya! It's just a twin patty oozing with a healthy dollop of pimento cheese, onions, and pickles. A nice nod to the palmetto state.
You know why their smashburgers are 'AWESOME'? It's because that's all they serve up, aside from Lowcountry Kettle Chips and beverages. They focus on what they do best and easily have the thinnest smash burger around, bar none! Smash City Burgers are the real McCoy, and to find them you'll have to search Instagram or Facebook to find what corner of the lowcountry they'll be at. For easier access click on their website at https://www.smashcityburgers.com/