Our Burger Run to Close out 2011

As we inched closer to the New Year, we checked the numbers and realized we had yet to hit our burger quota for 2011. So naturally, a year-end burger splurge was in order. With the blur that is holiday-filled December, we had yet to get a piece of two BOTMs that were on our radar all month, so we penciled in the joints for lunch on the 29th and 30th: brgr:shack and their baby:brgr on Thursday and the BGR's Xmas Burger on Friday. We were all set to ride out the year with these two burgs, when three words flashed across the computer screen Friday morning and threw us for a loop. Bacon. Jam. Burger. Our opinion on the above is well-documented, so to say this was a game changer, would be an understatement. Quick on our greasy toes, we audibled it up and tackled the holy grail of burger toppings for lunch Friday and rescheduled BGR for Saturday. Besides, you don't have to twist our arms to get us to put another burger in our bellies. Here's a look at our last three burgers of 2011:
Our first burger in the countdown to 2012 was the baby:brgr from brgr:shack. The clone of one of our 2011 faves is a lot like like Multiplicity's Doug #4-- it looks the part but  it's not quite as sharp as the original.
The December BOTM is an obvious play on the ShackBurger-- it's a slimmed down version of brgr:shack's regular patty (7 oz. down to 4.5) and instead of the plain white bread, they use potato buns. (After careful examination, we determined these buns were not Martin's and, therefore, left a wee bit something to be desired. Still, any potato bun for a burger like this is appreciated. We've been told the rolls are, in fact, Martin's. Well now, don't we feel like a bunch of assholes.)

Two burgers and a side of fries for lunch? Piece of cake.

As for the toppings, there are no frills here. It's melted American cheese with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and Island Sauce-- pretty much the same jack-of-all trades stuff you find on any number of burgers around, and yep, that includes ShackSauce. Add it all up and the baby:brgr is a success which we think warrants a permanent addition to the brgr:shack menu. While we're always ready to rumble with the big beef, we appreciate the option of a smaller patty. And if we're still hungry after one, we can always choose to double it up. (In fact, during our visit, I housed two of these burgs-- I liked 'em that much.) And again, while the clone can't compare to the original, it's still damn good. Another plus for the burger is the price: at just five bucks, it's a really good deal. (After recommending the burger's addition to the lineup, the folks at brgr:shack let us know that it will, in fact, be available on their new menu coming soon. Score. We'll give you guys the details as soon as we hear more.) brgr: shack | 4125 N. Fairfax Drive | Arlington | brgrshack.com  |@brgrshack   The burger that threw a welcomed and delicious wrench into our year-end burgering plans was from Mad Fox Brewing Company. During our last visit to the Falls Church brew pub, we implored chef Russel Cunningham to alert us the next time he hooked up a burger with the topping of all toppings, and lo and behold, he gave us a shout last Friday morning: "Bacon Jam and cheddar is back at Mad Fox today" read the note alongside a photo of said burger that instilled instant hunger pangs. There was no discussion-- the burger would be inside us in the next few hours.

Bacon. F*$@-ing. Jam.

If you've never experienced bacon jam, words alone cannot do it justice. But we can try.
It's an amalgamation of bacon, onions, brown sugar, spices and other tasty stuff, all cooked down into a gelatinous mix that combines sweet, salty and savory with dashes of pure fucking deliciousness. It's magical. With a healthy dollop on top of a cheddar-blanketed patty, the jam infiltrates your mouth with each bite and attacks every taste bud at once. And it's not so much that it covers up the rest of the flavors-- both the bun and the mellowness of the beef do a valiant job at balancing out the bite. The thing that gets you, though, is the addictiveness of the jam. The second we were done with one mouthful, our next bite was all lined up and ready to go. Bottom line: a bacon jam burger does not last very long on the plate. Mad Fox Brewing Company | 444 West Broad Street | Falls Church | madfoxbrewing.com | @madfoxbrewing  

The final burger of the year was courtesy BGR, and even though Christmas was but a memory, we still grabbed their red, green and white December BOTM, the Xmas burger. This burger takes all those Joe Blow, run-of-the-mill toppings and replaces them with their fancier, more worldly cousin. It's like the Patty Duke Show of beef. American cheese, lettuce and special sauce? Please, that's for the peasants. With the Xmas burger, you get a fresh hunk of buffalo mozzarella, haughty roughage with some basil, a fat-ass slice of beefsteak tomato and some fancy-as-hell aged balsamic.

The last burger of 2011.

It wasn't the flavor explosion of a bacon jam burger, but the combination worked. The mild mozzarella mixed with the basil are much more subtle flavors, with the balsamic providing a nice little kick to the mix. Simple. Rustic. Refined. It's not every day we eat with our pinkies aloft, but this burger got us in a hoity-toity mood. (Side note: we also jumped on BGR's lamb burger, The Greek, and holy hell, that's a great burger.) BGR The Burger Joint | 8 Locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia | bgrtheburgerjoint.com | @bgrburgerjoint While we closed out 2011 in burger style, we have yet to crack the beef in the twenty twelve. What do you guys think-- what should be our first burger of the New Year? Give us a shout an let us know.

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