If you’ve been following the blog for a while, then you know that Burger Battle is one of my top most anticipated food events every year. And, since we know that I hate driving, the fact that I drive up to Ft. Lauderdale every year for this should say it all. You’ve got all of these popular Broward restaurants competing to see who makes the best burger, and you get to TASTE EVERY SINGLE ONE! It’s like being a kid in a candy store, only a grown woman instead of a kid, and burgers instead of candy. Okay, so that analogy failed, but it’s a great event!
Which burgers rose to the top of Burger Battle 2015, and which ones floundered? Let’s find out!
Unusually, there was not a very long line to get into the event, this year.
As usual, however, the smell of the burgers cooking helped me work up an appetite while I waited in line to get in. By the time I entered the event, I was famished. Certainly, it’s a good thing to be when you’re about to chomp down on 16 burgers. Here we go!
- Burger 1: The Beverley Burger from Big Bear Brewing Co.
- All beef patty topped with house made bacon jam, cheddar cheese, picked red onion and garlic aioli
- This burger got my vote by sheer virtue of having enough uniqueness to make it interesting (pickled red onion), but still some familiar ingredients that I look for in my burgers (good cheese and bacon in some form). Simple, but delicious. The patty was juicy and had a great flavor, too.
- Burger 2: The Mac Attack Burger from Shooters (Winner Best Knife and Fork Burger)
- A burger with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, penne mac and cheese, fried onions, lettuce, tomato, and house made BBQ sauce
- This burger sounded a lot better than it actually tasted. The mac and cheese was kind of mushy and bland. It drowned out the taste of all of the other ingredients. I didn’t even realize that there was bacon on it until I read the description.
- Burger 3: Gulfstream Park
- Grass fed beef and chorizo patty with smoked Gouda cheese, red onion jam, and crispy shiitake mushrooms
- I’m not usually a fan of mushrooms in burgers, but this one wasn’t bad. Of course, I couldn’t really taste the mushroom in it, so that might have had something to do with it. I am not sure if that means that the burger was a success or a failure, since I’m sure the presence of the mushrooms was supposed to be in the spotlight.
- Burger 4: Southwest Smoked Burger from Rivals Waterfront
- A smoked burger patty with pepper jack cheese, candied onions and jalapeños, and Chipotle cilantro aioli on brioche
- When I took a bite of this burger, my first thought was “This is what Burger King might taste like if they made gourmet burgers.” I mean, it had a great smokey flavor, and it was nice and juicy. The southwestern flavors gave the burger a nice heat without being overwhelmingly spicy.
- Burger 5: The Metropolis from American Social (Winner Media Foodie’s Choice)
- brisket, chuck, and short rib patty with lettuce, tomato, onion marmalade, creamy bleu cheese, crimini mushroom and avocado mousse, and garlic aioli on a toasted sesame bun
- At first bite, I was shocked at how “creamy” this burger was, and how prominent the taste of the mushrooms was. I decided that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Somehow, the creaminess of the burger worked with the beef patty. I really liked it.
- Burger 6: The Spicy Lola from Tucker Duke’s (Winner Best Burger and Fan Favorite)
- A steak slider with sharp English cheddar cheese, 7-day cured and smoked pork belly, red onion confit, maple infused jalapeño jam, shoestring potatoes, lettuce and tomato on an onion bun
- I liked this one better than their burger from last year, but not enough to get my vote. Obviously, this wasn’t the case for the judges and the rest of the attendees. I just thought that the flavors were a little bit too “busy.”
- Burger 7: The Bite Me Burger from Georgie’s Alibi
- This burger had Asian slaw, jalapeño cream cheese, spicy mayo, cilantro, Thai sweet chili sauce, and other secret ingredients. It was inspired by a Bahn mi.
- I did not expect to like this burger, but I did. In fact, they almost got my vote just for the sheer shock of turning something as American as a burger, making it taste Asian, and pulling it off. Bravo.
- Burger 8: The Billy The Kid Burger from Grill Republic
- Beef and Chorizo patty with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, shoestring potatoes, and spicy mayo
- This was a good, but unremarkable burger.
- Burger 9: The Au Poivre Burger with Brie from Big City Tavern
- A black peppercorn crusted burger patty with spinach and porcini mushroom butter, Brie cheese, Funions, and peppercorn sauce
- This burger was clearly inspired by Steak au Poivre, but kind of fell short. Instead, it tasted like a burger with soggy Funions on it.
- Burger 10: The Beef with Bison Burger from Beauty and the Feast
- Beef and bison patty with bacon and onion marmalade and cheddar cheese
- This, I believe, was a Burger Battle first. No one had ever entered a burger that had bison meat in it. It was also my first time trying bison, much like it was my first time trying foie gras at last year’s event. And, like last year’s event, I discovered through this burger that I don’t much care for bison.
- Burger 11: The Bar and Grill Burger from Franky’s Sports Bar
- A burger with Guiness cheddar cheese, smoked tomato jam, and crispy red onions on a medianoche bun
- I feel kind of bad for judging a burger based on the bun, but I REALLY did not like that medianoche bun. The dry bun took away everything else so much that I barely even remember how the rest of the ingredients tasted.
- Burger 12: The Bacon Cheddar Burger from Timpano Italian Chophouse
- This burger had maple cheddar bacon (house-smoked!), sharp cheddar cheese, leaf lettuce, roma tomato, and chipotle dijoinnaise on a brioche bun.
- First off, EVERY restaurant needs to start smoking their own bacon immediately. Seriously. That being said, this was a good burger, but it lacked the “wow” factor that would have gotten my vote.
- Burger 13: The Wagyu Short Rib and Bleu Burger from Bokamper’s
- A Wagyu beef patty with bleu cheese, cured apple cider bacon, pickled ginger pear relish, and secret cheese sauce,
- No. Just, no. I couldn’t bring myself to take a second bite of this one. My friend enjoyed it, though. The sweet relish, which tasted more like the filling to a fruit cobbler, was horrifically out of place on the savory burger.
- Burger 14: The MYM Burger from Mind Your Manors
- This burger had a patty made of brisket, short rib, and chuck and was topped with bacon, fig jam, caramelized onions, garlic aioli mayo, and brie cheese.
- Both of my companions voted for this burger, although I suspect one voted out of fear of having to sleep on the couch that night if he didn’t. Personally, I couldn’t get past the taste of the fig jam. It didn’t work for me.
- Burger 15: The Southern Belle from M.E.A.T Eatery and Taproom
- A patty made of brisket and 80/20 chuck and topped with molasses and beer BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, house made bacon, and house made pimento cheese.
- This station had the longest line the entire night, so I had high hopes. I, on the other hand, hope to never have to eat pimento cheese – homemade or otherwise – ever again. Any other kind of cheese, and they might have won me over.
- Burger 16: Burger Fi: This is technically not a contestant. But, since they were giving out samples, I figured that they were worth mentioning. The burgers were definitely better than the fries that I had from them the year that they catered the french fry bar.
Speaking of french fry bars, this year’s french fry bar was catered by The Downtowner.
Free popsicles, in Watermelon or Cucumber Lemonade flavors, were being offered by Pop Lab.
Congratulations again to all of the winners of Burger Battle 2015, and thank you to all of the competitors for coming out and showing us what you’ve got. I will be looking forward to next year!