Denver, Meet Smashburger

When a half-pound of ground, nicely fatty Angus beef is whacked onto the hot steel, it produces a flood of meat juice that caramelizes instantly into a crispy halo of blood and fat around the edge of the burger. It’s like meat candy, the delicacy you lose when a burger is cooked on a slotted grill, which is the traditional cooking surface for burgers smashed by hand.

Line up, vegetarians, for your meat candy, your halo of blood and fat.

Although I’m not going to make any new friends this week among Denver’s gentle herbivores, all you meat-eaters should be happy. Because I’ve just found two fantastic burger joints where we can get our fix. One is Smashburger, a new outpost at Colorado and Mississippi (there’s a second in Wheat Ridge), where the Cervantes Capital investment group has come up with a better burger for burger-lovers. The second is an export from the Midwest to Thornton: Culver’s, which serves a butterburger -- much to the delight of gastroenterologists and cardiac surgeons everywhere. Come back here on Wednesday for the full details. – Jason Sheehan