The Breakfast Smash Burger: Hangover Killer for the Gods

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Dressed for brunch with an egg and jalapeño-spiked Hollandaise. [Photographs: Morgan Eisenberg]

Brunch. It's the saving grace of Sundays—a few hours dedicated to nursing ourselves out of our hangovers. And while getting completely smashed all over again may be the last thing we want at that point (most of us, anyway), I'm pretty sure very few among us would turn down a plate of smashed burgers decked out in the finest brunch trappings.

These really deliver on the promise of the word "brunch," featuring crispy and completely lunch-worthy smashed burgers, along with my favorite breakfast elements, including bacon, a fried egg, and a kicked-up jalapeño Hollandaise. Plus, they're served on English muffins, which means plenty of nooks and crannies to catch the runny yolk and Hollandaise.

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To start my brunch burgers, I cook the bacon in the oven, which carries a few benefits. First, it allows the bacon to crisp evenly, without any stubbornly lingering chewy bits—something that's not always possible in a pan if the bacon is wavy and some parts don't touch the surface. Second, you don't have to watch it as closely while it cooks, which means you can work on the other components at the same time. Third, using the oven for the bacon leaves more stovetop space for everything else.

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Meanwhile, I make the jalapeño Hollandaise. Hollandaise can be daunting to make, but Kenji's foolproof two-minute technique makes it...well...foolproof. To do it, combine the egg yolk, water, citrus juice, and a pinch of salt in a container that's just large enough to fit the head of an immersion blender, then pour melted butter in as the blender runs to emulsify it. In this version, I use lime juice instead of the more classic lemon juice and add some jalapeño for a spicy, south-of-the-border twist. Once it's all smooth and creamy, I transfer it to a small lidded pot to keep it warm.

The burgers themselves are not your typical monstrously large patties with loosely packed meat. Nope, these are pressed and smashed to create the biggest, crispiest crust possible. Against the creamy Hollandaise, gooey egg, and buttery avocado, they provide a welcome contrasting texture.

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Instead of making one wide, flat patty for each burger, I make two smaller two-ounce patties. To smash the patties as they cook, it's best to use two stiff metal spatulas, but I've found that any flat-bottomed, heat-safe surface will work, like, say, the bottom of a small saucepan.

Right after finishing the patties, I cook my eggs in the same skillet until the whites are just set and the yolks are soft and runny. Then I assemble it all: half of an English muffin, bacon, burger patties and melted cheese, avocado, egg, jalapeño Hollandaise, and the remaining English muffin half. On the side, you can take your pick of Bellinis, Bloody Marys, or mimosas—just try not to drink so much that you need another one of these hangover killers for dinner, too.

Then again, maybe that's a great idea...

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