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Pearson St. Smashburger in Embrun is what you want in a burger

Pearson St. Smashburger's crisply sealed beef, leaking delicious and nutty fat is precisely what you want in a burger

One of our thoughtful readers very kindly reached out and suggested I try Pearson St. Smashburger in Embrun. I’m always up for an adventure but when gas was above two dollars a litre, I was weighing a thirty-minute drive for a burger a little more cautiously.

This food truck run by couple Kris and Chris Pearson, is now located at a sports facility at the far end of Embrun. Based on my experience of nothing more than a humble burger, you’ll not forget where it’s parked.

So what is a smash burger? Simply, a ball of ground beef that is then smooshed thin on the grill or griddle. The Oklahoma onion burger may be the most famous incarnation. This grew in popularity during the depression era when meat was rationed and loads of grilled onions were added to fill out the meal. A classic was born.

The flavour advantage that grilling thin on a hot surface provides is that more of the meat is exposed leaving an appetizing crust on the patty. What you finally need, apart from timing and technique, is quality beef and Pearson St. gets theirs from local Gillette Farms.The depth of flavour from this beef ensures that I will be buying my hormone and antibiotic-free meat from this farm going forward.

Burger and fries

Pearson St. Smashburger. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

I unwrapped my food at one of the picnic tables provided and was struck by the heady aroma of a perfectly seared patty on a soft and sensual potato bun. Whether you’re a burger pro or not, you bite into a sandwich like this and you know you are in fine company. The crisply sealed beef, leaking delicious, unctuous and nutty fat is precisely what you want in a burger. A burger that screams “I am beef and not a vehicle for 101 low-grade toppings”.

I’m generally not an advocate for russet potatoes as “anything”. I don’t like them as fries, chips or even baked, for which they’re most commonly known. Chris however, who worked as a professional chef in Kingston, managed to eke out a layer of sweetness by first blanching and then frying them to hot, crisp perfection. 

That’s how it’s done. Make the extra effort in preparing your fries, because people will notice.

Once again, I can only commend our readership for their good taste and strong recommendations.