The Real Reason The Internet Is So Divided Over Ina Garten's Hamburgers

Smash burgers have been popular for a while, and for good reason. As Quora notes, what makes a true smash burger recipe is that the hamburger patty is cooked on a griddle or flat-bottomed pan, not grilled. And right when it hits the hot surface, it's pressed down hard, usually with a spatula, so the patty becomes flat and thin. And according to Quora commenters, smash burgers should be flipped only once. 

Usually, the meat is put into the pan in a ball form and then pressed down into a patty form, per The Journal-News. Because of the pressure, the entire patty then comes in contact with the griddle, resulting in the fat oozing out when cooking. That gives it a crispy, brown crust on the outside of the patty but keeps the juices inside, Bon Appetit explains.

But people are pretty specific about the correct method to make smash burgers. So the internet was a bit up in arms when celebrity chef Ina Garten posted a YouTube video from her "Barefoot Contessa" show, making smashed hamburgers with caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. In the video, Garten first makes the patties, freezing them for 15 minutes, which she indicates ensures that they're crispy on the outside. What caused the controversy, though, is that when she puts the burgers in the pan, she lightly pats them with her metal spatula and doesn't press hard on them at all. 

People said they weren't smash burgers as she didn't remotely smash them

While Ina Garten is a beloved and well-respected celebrity chef, people aren't opposed to calling her out when they feel she's wrong. And in this particular video, it was pretty clear that most people felt that what she made were just regular burgers — nothing close to resembling a smash burger. First, she starts with pre-made, thick, flat patties, instead of the traditional ball form. But the main beef people had with her technique is that she didn't actually smash the meat at all.

A general consensus in the comments section of the YouTube video was that while the burgers looked tasty, they in no way were smash burgers, instead being "lightly tapped" or "patted down" instead of smashed. As one user declared, Garten "forgot the smashed part of a smashed burger." Another commented, "I mean as a regular burger it looks fine but has none of characteristics most people associate with a smashed burger," with still another stating, "That's not a smash burger. That's a lightly pressed burger. But it looks great still." One user called Garten out specifically, writing, "That ain't smashed, Ina! put your back into it lol. it's not smashed until it makes McDonald's cooks blush."

The love for Garten was evident in all of the comments, though, so we'll see if she takes heed and updates the recipe with a little more gusto in her efforts at "smashing."