Irish Burgers: Dashburger
Dashburger, the new kid in town.
Dashburger is the hot new Irish hamburger and its nothing like the others. I usually like my burgers medium rare, but I make an exception for this deliciously well-done masterpiece.
As mentioned in our last Irish Burger post, Bunsen’s is a version of the upscale New York burger. Dashburger, on the other hand, gets its inspiration from Los Angeles–and a historic burger known in the old days as an Oklahoma Onion Burger.
This gorgeous creation features two crispy-edged meat patties fried well-done with lots of onions inside and topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, more raw diced onions and served on a potato bread bun.
There’s a satisfying crunch when you bite in. This burger has made such an impact on the Irish burger scene that “smash burgers” are popping up on menus all over the island.
There’s a sign in the store that explains the origin story:
You can watch your burger being made. First, two balls of raw ground beef (mince) are placed on a hot griddle and topped a pile of shaved onions. Then the meatballs are smashed and smeared around with a special tool.
The Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger is favorite of George Motz, the author of “Hamburger America.” In the book, Motz visits more than a hundred hamburger joints and catalogs the regional variations of the American classic. Watch Motz demonstrate the technique in this YouTube video:
Dublin’s Dashburger departs from the minimalist Oklahoma Onion Burger with a few additions. There’s a “special sauce” which is a mayo base with a dash of mustard and ketchup and a pinch of spice, it is slathered on the top bun.
Dashburger’s menu includes the standard Double Smash Burger, a Bacon Double Smash Burger, a Triple Smash Burger, a spicy chipotle version, and a new creation called the Dash X Allta. Prices start at $8.95.
The Dash X Allta is basted in “mushroom miso butter” which is also spooned over the finished burger patty–it adds a jolt of “umami” to an already over-the-top burger creation.
Wallace got the idea for Dashburger from L.A. burger joints that have made the Smashburger popular in the U.S. Though in truth, the American smash burger, or at least the ones I have eaten in Houston, are not nearly as crispy and well done as the Dublin Dashburger.
The original Dashburger opened on Kevin Street in 2020. It was such a hit, the second location on Capel Street was added in 2021. Barry Wallace, the founder of Dublin’s Dashburger, has a reputation for cutting edge food concepts. His last Dublin venture was Pang, a Vietnamese-themed outlet that served spring rolls and banh mi sandwiches. Sadly, Pang was a casualty of the pandemic.
Barry Wallace helped George Motz put on a Smashburger pop-up event in Dublin last May. Motz travels around the world hosting events during which he cooks hundreds of “smash burgers” for eager ticket holders. He was fresh from hamburger events in Sweden and London when he arrived in Dublin. Motz would continue on to Reykjavik the next week.
Hamburger home cooks might appreciate The Great American Burger Book in which Motz provides recipes for hamburgers from all over the U.S.
The Authentic Irish Burger
Culinary tourists are apt to overlook the hamburgers when seeking out the best in authentic Irish cuisine. But in truth, the lowly burger may be one of the best ways to sample the famous Irish grass-fed beef.
Cattle raising is one of Ireland’s oldest agricultural traditions and the country is justly proud of its beef. Irish beef is one of the country’s biggest exports and it is well-loved across Europe.
But the Irish tend to like their steaks very lean, with no aging, cooked extra well done. There are exceptional steakhouses (like F.X. Buckley) that are worth seeking out. But at the average Irish restaurant, a medium-rare steak isn’t very tender.
On the other hand, minced beef (as ground beef is known in Ireland) is always tender and often extremely flavorful. And the new generation of upscale burger joints that are spreading across Ireland have raised the bar on burgers in general.
The prices have gone up accordingly—Expect to pay 10 Euros in a burger joint, or 15 to 20 Euros for a gourmet burger and chips in a pub or hotel restaurant.