Sure, you’ve probably eaten many a smash burger in your time and thought they were scrumptious. But have you ever tried one with a patty so thin, you’d assume it was run over by a steamroller? Hammer Burger, aka the best brewery magnet food truck, is joining the ever-so-hot Downtown Santa Ana food scene with a permanent, ultra-hip Brooklyn-style eatery, complete with local beer, crispy fries, and decadent milkshakes.
Hammer Burger got its start in 2020 as a pop-up in the early days of the pandemic in the city of Orange, where founder Kevin Hammons took orders via an app that allowed you to pick a timeslot and pay. When you rolled up to his house, a bag would be sitting on a table next to a jug of hand sanitizer for you to grab and go. The first time I nabbed one, I barely made it two blocks before cracking the bag open for a bite due to the intense burger aromatics.
Once things opened back up, Hammons took on a business partner with Curt Scheetz, and the two wrapped a food truck in all black with their hammer logo then sold out at nearly every stop from Anaheim to San Juan Capistrano.
The beauty in a Hammer Burger is the simplicity of combining quality ingredients: prime beef chuck ground with short rib, melty American cheese, house-made pickles, sauce, and shaved onion on a fresh potato roll. The patty’s intense umami flavors are amplified due to caramelization during the smashing process, where lead burger smasher Scheetz notes, “I probably apply around 90 to 100 pounds of pressure to get it that flat.”
When it comes to beer, both men know their stuff. Hammons was a brewer at the Bruery, Gunwhale Ales, and Evan’s before the pandemic, and Scheetz is a Cicerone, having worked at craft beer giants like Ballast Point and Gunwale Ales. They curate quite the tasty list to pair with burgers. Craft beers are sub $8, and they offer a solid list of $6 tallboys from national beer brands. In today’s inflation, grabbing a Hammer Burger and a beer is one hell of a deal!
Hammer Burger, 313 N. Bush St., Santa Ana