While the origins of "National Burger Month" are difficult to trace, the popularity of hamburgers goes back to the early 20th century. When factory workers needed a quick meal that fit in one hand (for productivity? Those early industrial tycoons -- not so big on the safety), burgers suddenly became an iconic symbol of American culinary pride.
From the "Battle of the Beast" to local food truck specials celebrating everything on a bun, National Burger Month is officially on in Miami. However, in order for a burger to reign supreme, the components must all speak loudly -- simply squirting some ketchup and mustard no longer wins the hearts of patty connoisseurs. Click through for a list of the five best burgers our city has to offer, and see where your future cravings lie.
5. Bourbon Steak
The "Signature" burger here ($18) is best served at the bar, with a trio of fries cooked in duck fat. Topped with aged farmhouse cheddar, shredded lettuce, and a confit of balsamic onions, this patty is served on a homemade bun with a generous helping of their "secret sauce." The wine list has over 800 labels, so this is the time to splurge on a nice glass of Burgundy to wash down that red meat.
4. Shake Shack
I was delirious with happiness when Danny Meyer's Manhattan "roadside" burger shop opened on Lincoln Road last year. Black Angus sirloin is blended daily in-house for the ever-popular "ShackBurger," ($ 4.75) which is both hormone and antibiotic free. A basic combo of lettuce, tomato, American cheese and special sauce, recalls childhood memories of beach-side patty stands. And let's not completely ignore the supporting cast. The Shack wins favorite side dish for their crinkle cut fries ($ 3.70) made from Yukon Golds, always soft on the inside and crispy on top. Covered in thick, melty cheese sauce, it's a meal that just begs for an Abita rootbeer float ($4.95).
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3. db Bistro Moderne
Daniel Boulud must be a genuis, how else to explain the "Original db Burger," ($32) a sirloin patty stuffed solid with slow braised beef short ribs. The fanciest burger in town is capped with a generous slice of perfectly seared foie gras and a thin smattering of black truffle, then crowned with a parmesan encrusted bun. It comes with pomme frites and a powerful, but justifiable, sense of guilt for spending thirty-two dollars on a hamburger.
2. Gotham Steak
The Gotham Burger is NYC Chef Alfred Portale's lovingly constructed image of the burger ideal ($24). A ten ounce blend of filet mignon, ribeye, NY strip and beef fat combines in the grinder to create the most flavorful of patties. The meat is cooked sous-vide style and then grilled over hickory charcoal. It's topped with oven dried heirloom tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon, cheese, and frissee in place of regular ole' lettuce. The finishing touch is crispy fried up shallots for a textural crunch. No element goes unattended - the brioche bun is made on the premises by Gotham's pastry chef, Josh Gripper, who brushes each with garlic-butter before baking. Worth every penny. Truffle up your fries for an additional fee ($3).
1. Burger & Beer Joint
What beats foie gras, Alfred Portale and the Shack? Burger & Beer Joint's perfect patty and here's why: complete control. All the aforementioned nominees come in second place because at BB&J, I can put whatever I damn well please on my burger ($12 - $18). In this case, I usually go for the Maytag blue cheese, thick-cut smoky bacon and a side of truffle aioli, although options are plentiful. From a sunny-side up egg to a lobster tail that's poached, then seared; this is where to go for a truly customized burger experience that is always cooked exactly how you order it.