May is National Hamburger Month, a celebration of the meatiest of sandwiches. According to What's Cooking America, Genghis Khan might have indulged in the first burger — a sandwich made with raw ground beef whose portability was perfect for his soldiers to eat while in the saddle.
After all of these centuries, the burger has found a home in the USA. In fact, this sandwich is synonymous with everything Americans love — picnics, barbecues, and good times. Miami, especially, has embraced the burger, thanks in large part to Burger Beast's Sef Gonzalez. The blogger and burger maven has shared his love of the burger for several years and is even planning a museum dedicated to this classic dish, along with other comfort foods.
Gonzalez is also planning the ultimate burger event — the Hamburger House Party. This Friday, May 6, the heady smell of grilled beef will waft through Magic City Casino from 7 to 10 p.m., when 19 of South Florida's top burger restaurants (and one from Bonita Springs) will offer their best.
Gonzalez says he chose the burgers and restaurants over several months, making notes of items he especially wanted at the event. He also looked at the location of the restaurants, making sure to have eateries that represent different neighborhoods. "You can see the restaurants are spaced out throughout South Florida." Then the burger expert hoped the event would work with each restaurant's schedule. "You write a list and hope everyone can make it."
Brave burger fans can sample all 20 burgers and vote for the one they like best. In addition, a panel of judges including South Beach Wine & Food Festival founder Lee Schrager, Blue Collar's Danny Serfer, Que Riko con Kiko's Kiko Suarez, Rebel House chef Mike Saperstein, and I will choose a judge's best burger, with the winning restaurant competing in the 2017 South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash.
The evening will also boast live music from Retro Sky and DJ Volksmusik — both playing '80s music. In addition, guests are encouraged to don their best '80s garb.
Each restaurant has gone out of its way to create completely over-the-top entries, utilizing everything from bacon to mofongo. Here are the burgers in the lineup:
109 Burger Joint
Morning in Havana - Two smashed coffee rub seasoned Angus beef patties with espresso-and-brown-sugar-cured bacon, Swiss cheese, cortadito sauce, duck-fat-fried yuca, and croqueta de congri on a honey-garlic glazed bun.
Juicy Smashed Burger - 100 percent Angus beef patty with melted cheddar, bacon, grilled onion, and mushrooms topped with garlic chipotle sauce, secret sauce, and cilantro sauce on the side.
Chefs on the Run
The Beastie Boys Burger - Angus 80/20 blend of churrasco, chuck, and brisket topped with herb de Provence bacon, provolone cheese, Gorgonzola/bleu cheese mousse, and ghost-chili-habanero butter.
Crackers Casual Dining
Southern Hospitality - Signature burger patty topped with spicy barbecue mayo, deep-fried pickle spears, pulled-pork cheese crisp, smoked Gouda, and sweet potato frizzles.
Doce Burger - Short-rib blend patty topped with queso frito, truffle aioli, pickles, tomato, and frisée.
Miami Burger - Fat Moe's secret-blend patty topped with fried plantains, pepper jack jalapeño cheese, candied onions, and Moe's secret sauce.
Gilbert's 17th Street Grill
The Mofongo - Certified Angus beef stuffed with mofongo and topped with Swiss cheese and homemade sofrito.
Hate Mondays Tavern
Warehouse Burger - Sirloin/brisket/smoked rib patty topped with pesto blend with dry slaw, maple bacon, Gouda cheese, and homemade barbecue sauce.
Classic Slider - Ground beef slider cooked on a bed of steamed onions, topped with American cheese, and served on a Martin’s potato roll.
Jr's Gourmet Burgers
It's a Wrap - Burger patty, fried egg, cheddar, and Swiss cheese between two slices of bread, all wrapped up in bacon.
The Steamed Champ - Butter-steamed beef, five-cheese fondue, candied bacon, butter lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, and roasted aioli on a brioche bun.
The Local Craft
The Death of Disco, AKA the Ronald Reagan - Slider topped with a house-made ham croqueta smothered in house-made American Cheez Whiz and bacon gravy.
MEAT Eatery and Taproom
Dr Jelly Finger - Burger topped with bacon, bananas, an onion ring, jack cheese, and blueberry-chipotle jam.
The B&B Burger - A 50 percent Wagyu and 50 percent applewood-smoked bacon burger patty topped with avocado, tomato, red leaf lettuce, pepper jack cheese, house-made chipotle aioli, and bacon on a toasted bun.
Orange Bear Restaurant
Double Bacon Cheddar Bourbon Burger - A chuck/short rib/brisket burger patty topped with roasted garlic aioli, habanero bacon jam, sautéed bourbon onions, bacon, and bourbon sauce on a butter toasted roll.
The Backyard Burger - Short Rib/brisket/chuck patty topped with American cheese, caramelized onions, papitas, and pink sauce on a brioche slider bun.
ShackBurger – 100 percent all-natural Angus beef cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce.
Tucker Duke's Lunchbox
Ari 2.0 - Pastrami-seasoned burger with house-made kimchee, bacon, and HoneyCrisp apple chutney with salted caramel honey yogurt.
Wholesome Rollers Food Truck
The Wisconsin Butter Burger - Cheddar cheese, bacon, bacon-fat caramelized onions, and jalapeño ketchup on a pretzel bun.
Tokyo Burger - Teriyaki beef (sirloin/chuck/brisket) patty topped with caramelized bacon and onions, wasabi mayo, and pickled ginger.
Tickets for this 21-and-over event cost $45 and include unlimited sampling of all 20 burgers, along with desserts and cocktail sampling from Jim Bean and Tito's Vodka, soft drinks, and water. Purchase tickets at hamburgerhouseparty.com.