Smashburgers are having a moment in Houston. Consider that Houston hip-hop legend Bun B’s has built his Trill Burgers pop-up around the style, or that Night Shift, the city’s most exciting new cocktail bar, serves them every Monday night.
Burger obsessives have been quietly making their way to The Tipping Point, a coffee shop and vintage store downtown, to sample Joseph Boudreaux’s take on the trend. A barista at The Tipping Point by day, Boudreaux fires up his griddle on Saturday nights for a smashburger pop-up that’s attracting major buzz.
Boudreaux tells CultureMap that he began developing his smashburger recipe after trying a few during a visit to Los Angeles. He began experimenting with the genre, which, as its name implies, features a beef patty that’s pressed flat onto a griddle to get crispy edges while cooking quickly enough to stay juicy. Other benefits of the cooking method appealed to him, too.
“I like the meat to cheese ratio,” Boudreaux says. “Overall, it’s a better tasting burger. No knock to thicker patties.”
Boudreaux’s burger features a 50-50 ratio of chuck and short rib that he grinds himself with a little fat for extra juiciness. It gets topped with a slice of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, pickles that Boudreaux makes himself, and a burger sauce that uses barbecue sauce as its base.
For a review, let’s turn to acclaimed Houston chef Dawn Burrell (Kulture, Late August). The Top Chef Season 18 finalist and James Beard Award semifinalist hailed Boudreaux’s work in a recent Instagram post.
“There is not another burger in this city that has my love and affection such as this one,” she told her 25,000 followers. The video concludes with a simple message. “All I can tell you is, don’t miss it.”
That's quite an endorsement — certainly enough to inspire curious burger fans to pay $15 for a taste (pro tip: spend the extra $5 on a second patty).
“I know Dawn. I would say we’re friends,” Boudreaux says. “I was very surprised by the glowing review she gave me.”
Word is spreading. Available via pre-order from The Tipping Point’s website, half of last week’s production sold out in the first 24 hours. Still, Boudreaux, who graduated from the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, wants to be deliberate in how he grows. His next step is adding a second pop-up during the week that would be accessible to people in the service industry. From there, who knows what the future holds?
“I want to do more of it and see where this thing goes, maybe explore what else I can bring to the table other than smashburgers,” he says. “I think there’s more people who can find out about the burger before I venture off into something else.”