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Inside The Mind Of A Culinary Mad Scientist

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Aug 27, 2018

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts. (And please subscribe!)

Tom Ryan (above) is the food science wizard behind two of the most ingenious fast food inventions of all time: Pizza Hut's Stuffed Crust Pizza and the McDonald’s McGriddle sandwich.

This week on The Sporkful, Tom talks about the science underlying his current fast food project, Smashburger, where he is shaking up conventional burger wisdom.

"We smash the burger on a hot grill for the first 10 seconds," Tom explains. "The pressure that’s created on the bottom of that [burger] does three critical things."

What, no grill...no flames?

That's right.

As Tom explains, that cooking method caramelizes the bottom of the burger and locks all the meat juices within a crusty outer shell.

"It’s like biting into a water balloon of beef flavor," Tom says.

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But the meat is only one part of any burger equation. What can science tell us about optimizing our burger toppings? Well that depends, says Tom:

“Do you want [the toppings] to be melded or do you want them to come through as individual vector flavors?”

Listen in to learn how the order of your toppings affects how your burger tastes.

Plus, Tom tells us how he knew stuffed crust pizza would be a big hit.

Today's sponsors:

  • Go to BobsRedMill.com to explore their huge range of products and recipes
  • Go to BuildABear.com to learn more about all the fun ways to celebrate birthdays at Build-A-Bear

Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:

- "Bandstand" by Jack Ventimiglia

- "Rooftop" by Erick Anderson

- "Stay For The Summer" by Will Van De Crommert

- "Hot Night" by Calvin Dashielle

Photos: Flickr/CC: RoboppyFlickr/CC: Patsy, Flickr/CC: tavallaiFlickr/CC: mosespreciadoFlickr/CC: Wally Gobetz, and Flickr/CC: 5chw4r7z

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