2 min read

The Smash Taco

Why stop smashing only hamburgers?

The smash taco—a variety of the smash burger—has danced its way into every self-respecting TikToker’s heart. Apprehensive as I am about this trend, I still decided to plunge into the unholy matrimony of burger preparation and Friday Tacos. Here is a recipe and some of my findings.

The Recipe
Four images: Meat flat on a tortilla, tortilla flipped in pan, ghost pepper cheese on tortilla in pan, folded final taco.

Calling it a “recipe” is a bit of a hyperbole, so just follow the four images above. Or, if you want more details:

  • Mix ground meat—I used venison—with salt and pepper.
  • Flatten the meat onto a tortilla, covering it to its edges. I went with the bog-standard grocery-store flour variety.
  • Sear taco in a pan over medium-high, meat-side down, until cooked through. It usually takes two-to-three minutes. (Attempts to use Beyond Meat didn’t work out too well—if you want to give it a shot, try cooking it over a high temperature to give it a proper sear.)
  • Flip the tortilla, cover the meat with cheese, and let it melt for a few minutes.
  • Remove from the pan and finish the taco with your preferred toppings. I settled for a splash of Yucateco’s habanero sauce.
The Findings

Presumably, the smash taco became a hit on the socials because it was an unlikely take on a classic dish. From a presentation perspective, preparing the taco lends itself well to the quick jump-cut editing TikTokers use.

Of course, “classic

The smash technique is best used for preparing a grocery-store-style taco-quesadilla hybrid. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are few reasons to attempt to prepare the smash taco in a refined manner. Gordon Ramsay’s recipe is simple for a reason. And the end result is, by design, incredibly bold. Even a thin layer of meat brings a lot of flavor. A bit too much for my liking.

So, I don’t see myself switching to the smash method as a go-to. If I want the old-school American soft tacos, I’ll stick with the classic style. Or, preferably, go with some cleaner-tasting chuck roast tacos.

PS! The one happy discovery I did make during the process was Lucerne’s ghost pepper cheese slices. I’m a fan of ghost peppers in general—their distinct flavors aren’t overpowered by their heat—and Lucerne’s mild Monterey Jack brings the palate down to a relatively cool baseline. Ideal for quesadillas with a light punch.