Four-time winner Michael Symon sat out this year's Burger Bash, giving some of countries best patties a fighting chance at last night's ninth annual burger extravaganza. One of South Beach Wine & Food Festival's most popular events, Burger Bash presented by Amstel Light combines America's love for burgers and beer.
Lure's Josh Capon was crowned burger king by the judges for his bash burger topped with caramelized onion and bacon jam, shaved pickled, American cheese, and secret sauce. While he's no stranger to winning Burger Bash (a feat he's accomplished five times at the New York Wine & Food Festival) this was the first time he won the judges' vote and he couldn't contain his excitement when he went up to collect his trophy. "I wanted the one in South Beach so bad. I'm bringing this baby home to New York City. Burger Bash forever!"
People's Choice went to local joint Pincho Factory, which served up the Croquesta -- a brisket, short rib, and chuck croquette topped with Swiss, pickles, mustard, and mayo in a brioche bun.
Sandwich King Jeff Mauro was on site being himself and celebrating his newest gig as Amstel Light's official spokesperson. As for his duties, he was charged with announcing the winner. "I also get to tell chefs when they have 30 minutes left." But not without eating all the patties. "I told my belly when I walked in that I'm doing it this year." The Sandwich King (now in its fifth season on Food Network) also shared his top grilling tip with us. "Get it hot for 30 minutes before and don't pry at the meat. Stop touching things."
Rachael Ray skipped lines to try each and every burger, but not without apologizing and posing for pictures with fans eager to snap a shot and get a word in with the bubbly personality.
As for the competing chefs, we thought it appropriate to ask what we can expect in terms of the next big burger trend. Here's what they predicted (and what we ate).
Thomas Griese from Michael Mina 74: "For me I think that people always try and add crazy ingredients, but the next one might be crazy vessels like the ramen burger. David Chang started doing some things like that and I think it's just going to continue."
Danny Serfer from Blue Collar: "Turduckens. Kidding. A hopeful trend would be less toppings and more focus on quality of patty. Also, to hat-tip Frodnesor, for more people to realize mayo has to go on bottom so juices can drop in and make that real special flavor only achievable by doing that."
Alberto Cabrera from Little Bread: "Fritas, of course, that's a stupid question to ask me. It'll be the next menu item on McDonald's."
Nedal Ahmad from Pincho Factory: "That's tough. You never know with the burger market which is what I love. Not sure if it'll be croquette burgers -- that's just how we roll."
Aaron from STK: "I think it's gone as far as it can go for right now. Everybody is going to go back to the old stuff. Expect more juicy Lucy's."
Daniel Holzman from the Meatball Shop (NYC): "All rare all the time and I think the next real trend is going to be dollar local burgers."
Jamie Bissonnette of Toro (NYC): "People are going to get away from cheese and go in a different direction of savory condiments. People are getting tired of a traditional cheeseburger."
Burger Bash winner Josh Capon chose not to share his prediction, which if his track record is any indication, it very well might be the next big burger trend.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha
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