In the Kitchen: Recipe Fails


For all our enthusiasm in the kitchen, it’s important, for me anyway, to acknowledge that things go wrong. Not everything can turn out so perfectly the first time. Ideas are big and ambitious! And the execution, unfortunately, can leave a lot to be desired.

Adam has been wanting to make smash burgers for a long time and we finally set aside Saturday night to make a couple of double-decker burgers and french fries. I will say at the beginning that, and I think Adam might agree, if we could find the right fatty, marbled beef, everything would have turned out so much better. As it is, Switzerland excels at extraordinarily healthy and lean grass-fed beef. And this is great in almost all circumstances besides juicy burgers. So Adam went to the butcher and had them grind a fattier cut of beef in the hopes that we might get that fattiness you want in a smash burger.


A quick note: the beauty of this type of burger is that it is smashed onto an extremely hot pan and mostly cooks in its own fat in a very short amount of time–usually less than two minutes. You are looking for crispy (not burnt!) edges and a cooked-through burger. It’s generously seasoned with salt and pepper but otherwise undisturbed. You’ll get great beef flavor this way.

In short, what the butcher ground was fine, but not nearly fatty enough and we ended up with simultaneously charred and undercooked burgers with very little flavor. Adam tried another round on the grill (pre-smashed super thin) and they were better, but still not at all what he wanted.

I don’t want to take a defeatist attitude but my gut (haha) tells me that smash burgers just might not happen for us here. If you’re cooking them in the US you’ll want to buy 80-20 ground chuck–a ratio that is completely unheard of here. Here’s a good recipe to try.

Still, it’s always fun to try new things in the kitchen, even if they don’t always work out how you want them to. Any flops you’ve experienced? Or, any ambitious recipes you’re hoping to try soon? Adam mentioned this morning that he’d like to give biscuits and gravy another go… I’m game!

2 thoughts on “In the Kitchen: Recipe Fails

    • Agh! I’ve heard similar horror stories from the powdered sugar here (a nasty frosting episode comes to mind). Sometimes you just have to accept that you can’t recreate things here (Rotel dip, I’m looking at you specifically right now…)

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