Jersey Dawg’s Most Perfect Slider & Morimoto Win the 2016 SOBE Burger Bash
With his hands raised high over his head, clutching the burger trophy of all burger trophies, Rob Goodman stood triumphantly, bathed in the light of a hundred flash bulbs and rounds of raucous applause.
On this night, on the shores of South Beach, he was the Best of the Best.
The man behind South Florida food truck Jersey Dawg, Goodman topped 29 of his ground beef brethren in the year’s biggest burger throwdown, the 10th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash, winning presenter Schweid & Sons’s “Very Best Burger Award” for his true-to-form classic slider. Not only was Goodman’s slider the judges’ top pick last Friday, but the Jersey native’s soft, squishy, melty mash-up of cheese, onions, meat and potato roll was – by far – our favorite of the night as well. In the popular vote, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto was the big winner with his manchi katsu burger, a panko-breaded and deep-fried entry, and showed his appreciation by serenading the crowd at the end of the night.
The only downside of the evening was our failure – once again – to reach our goal of trying each and every Burger Bash entry. After tabulating the numbers, we came up short, downing just 15 of the 30 total entries and leaving our heads hanging in greasy shame for a fifth consecutive year.
Of the burgers we did manage to toss into our faces, 2015 Bash winner Pincho Factory’s Guayabera burger with Havarti, potato sticks and guava BBQ, Fooq’s blowtorch-scorched skirt steak, brisket and short rib entry and Met Burger Bar, which took home Red Robin’s “Best of the Bash” award for its combo of beef, Swiss, bacon, crispy potato, shallot and special sauce, were the ones that delighted our bellies the best.
And the beer. We loved all the beer, too.
Other notable burgers came from D.C.’s-own Spike Mendelsohn who did a variation of his Smokehouse burger but with a grilled pineapple, Tico’s Michael Schlow whose eponymous Schlowburger topped the beef with cheddar, crispy onions and a black pepper horseradish sauce and a chicken fried steak burger from Lonesome Dove Western Bistro out of Fort Worth. But perhaps most surprising was a disappointing entry from one of our all-time favorites, Shake Shack. The 2014 Bash winner hooked up an all-new burger this time, the bacon-topped, Wisconsin aged-cheddar-sauce-drenched Bacon CheddarShack that we found was just way too cheesy. The thick coating of cheese sauce covered up the best part of a Shack burger: the greasy, griddle-smashed beef. It was a shame.
Oh, but did we mention how damn good Jersey Dawg’s sliders were? An honest-to-God legit slider – with beef cooked on a bed of sweet, buttery onions – the palm-sized blend of pure heaven was simple and fantastic. It was perfect. (And you can bet your asses we’ll be recreating it immediately here at Burger Days HQ.)
We’ve wiped the grease from our faces, the smell of ground beef has slowly faded from our skin and we’re now the spitting image of the “before” picture of every diet advertisement ever made. Despite drastically cutting short our collective life span, we survived the 2016 South Beach Burger Bash.
Let the training for 2017 begin.