Capon Bests the Rest…AGAIN. Wins 5th NYC Burger Bash Title in 6 Years
“It took Jeter 14 years to win five titles. I did it in SIX!” Josh Capon screamed to a horde of greasy, beef-stuffed revelers in New York City last Friday night.
In what’s becoming another October tradition, Capon clutched the microphone in one hand and pointed to the sky with the other, giving his victory speech for the fourth consecutive year and fifth time overall, at the 7th annual Blue Moon Burger Bash at the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Once again, Capon took home the Bash’s People’s Choice title, besting 29 other participants on Pier 92 in Hell’s Kitchen. Capon, reppin’ his restaurant Burger & Barrel, hooked up his Bash Burger featuring the winning combination of a beef patty topped with caramelized onion and bacon jam, shaved pickles, American cheese and secret sauce on a Martin’s potato bun.
And in what may be a first, at least in our experience with the NYC and South Beach Burger Bashes, a non-beef burger took home some hardware as Marc Murphy’s lamb burger won the judge’s top pick. The four-judge panel consisting of Adam Richman, Anne Burrell, Andrew Zimmern and hulking Nick Mangold of the New York Jets selected Murphy’s mint chimichurri-topped spiced “Lamb-Marc” burger as their favorite on the night.
Also for the first time, host Rachel Ray revealed the two runners-up for the People’s Choice title: Robert Irvine’s Bavarian Burger with a thick slab of Black Forest pork belly, caramelized onion and apple jam, Gruyere, red cabbage and spicy mustard dijonnaise came in second and Shake Shack’s MesiterShack, the off-menu crispy, beer-marinated shallot-topped cheeseburger (and 2014 SoBe winner) was the crowd’s third favorite.
When it came to our tangle with the beef this go ’round, while we didn’t set any records, we did get up close and personal with 12 of the participants, equaling our all-time best showing set at last year’s Bash. We made it a mission to hit all past champions we knew of, so we downed Capon’s perennial winner, Paul Denamiel (last year’s judge’s pick) of Le Rivage’s entry of a Pat LaFrieda Denim Blue (no idea what that is) blend patty topped with Ventreche bacon, cornichon relish and mimollette cheese and PJ Calapa’s 2012 winner, the White Label burger featuring a dry-aged beef blend with bacon marmalade.
As we continued to chew our way through a dozen entries on the night, we ate a few unspectacular burgers, several good burgers and a few great burgers. But there was one creation that just about reached the unattainable level of burger perfection.
Everything starts and ends with the beef. The best toppings in the world won’t save a shitty patty. But at the same time, a great patty can be undone by an unnecessary and mismatched pile of condiments. The key to burger perfection is balancing the two, and, in all our burger-eating years, we’ve found that nothing tops simplicity. At this year’s Burger Bash, nobody did simple perfection better than BLT Steak.
It wasn’t necessarily the toppings that made this our favorite burger on the night, though the muenster, ramp relish, truffle aioli and Bibb (which just happens to be the best burger lettuce EVER) were ideal in their selection and ratio. No, it all started and ended with that beautiful meat. The blended Pat LaFrieda beef was a near tear-inducing pinkish-red on the inside, glistening with juicy deliciousness and a wonderfully stark contrast to the patty’s outside: an expertly-seared crusty and salty beef shell. Each bite we took was an eye-closing experience as the crispy border gave way to the tender, succulent mass of beef. If we didn’t have so much more to eat, we would have stayed at the BLT booth all night. It was that damn good.
After an evening of intense burger consumption like this one, it’s insane to think we’re already planning to do it all again. But we are. It’s only four months until the South Beach Burger Bash and tickets are already on sale.