Pimento & Pizza Shine in November’s Burger Crop [BOTM Review]
We’re champions of creativity here at Burger Days– it’s one of the reasons we highlight the area’s special monthly burgers with our BOTM posts. Not content with just reading about them, we also make it our mission to seek out and throw each of these creations into our faces.
And now, we’re hitting you with the reviews while THESE BURGERS ARE STILL AROUND, so you can actually find out which of the BOTMs you should eat…or avoid.
Our review of November’s BOTMs:
Prime Rib Burger – BGR The Burger Joint
Curiously, BGR decided to ditch their popular Thanksgiving on a Bun this year and instead go for a more all-encompassing seasonal Prime Rib burger. I have mixed feelings about this. Now, I’m never going to complain about a bird burger being kicked to the curb for some beef, but I am a little sad to see the end of BGR’s annual tradition.
I was heartened to learn that rather than ditch the shove-an-entire-meal-into-a-bun concept, BGR stuck with it and again managed to put a whole plate’s worth of food onto a burger. Since this thing is a replacement, rather than a standalone review, I figure the only right thing to do is compare it, piece-by-piece, to the burger it bounced from the spotlight this holiday season.
Patty: Turkey vs Beef
Sorry, turkey, it was over before it started. Not that it would have mattered, but we’ll be eating plenty of you this Thursday so we’re not missing you one bit.
Prime Rib 1, Thanksgiving on a Bun 0
Topping 1: Cornbread Stuffing vs Mashed Potatoes
Carbs vs. carbs. In a one-on-one matchup, stuffing would win every time. Every. Damn. Time. Surprisingly, however, it was a different story when all this was thrown onto a bun. We were ready to dismiss the creamy spuds inclusion on this burger but actually found them to be a pleasant addition. Though a tad bland, the mouthfeel provided by the taters was not unwelcome, the proportion was spot on to the rest of the burger’s components and they contrasted nicely with the mushrooms, bread and meat. This was in contrast to our previous experiences with BGR’s stuffing-topped burg. In year’s past, we found the stuffing – while sufficiently herbed and flavorful – dry and when combined with the bun, it was just too much bread. In an upset, mashed potatoes win.
Winner: MASHED POTATOES
Prime Rib 2, Thanksgiving on a Bun 0
Topping 2: Gravy & Cranberries vs. Wellington Mushrooms
I decided to lump the two turkey burger sauce toppings into one because, well, I can. The savory and sweet combination is pretty fantastic with the cranberries giving that wonderful tart bite that cuts through all the salty, savory meatiness of everything else. Plus, the two helped alleviate some of the dryness with all that damn bread. As for the Wellington mushrooms, for a guy not big on ‘shrooms, I really, really liked them and wouldn’t hesitate to add them to a burger again. I really dug the rich creaminess from the ample serving, though it was undoubtedly the dominant flavor in the burger; not so much that it drowned out the patty, but it did overwhelm one very important topping…
Winner: GRAVY & CRANBERRIES
Prime Rib 2, Thanksgiving on a Bun 1
Bonus: Prime Rib vs. NOTHING
What should have sealed the deal for this month’s burger, the prime rib, actually brought it down. Way down. Now, bear with me as I get all analogous for a minute. To put it in fantasy football terms, this would be like going into the Monday Night Football game with a three-point lead and, while your opponent has no players remaining, you have only your kicker yet to go. Fast forward four quarters and three shanked field goals later and you just lost to a team named Robert Griffin the Turd. Yup, that’s what happened here. Prime rib….PRIME RIB!… should have been a lock to catapult this burger over the top but, instead, it sent it face first into the crossbar. There was no fat, glorious slab of salty, juicy, rare goodness on this burger. No, in its stead, there was one – maybe two – slices of thin grayish meat hidden beneath the mushrooms. The flavor was barely perceptible and the only time I actually tasted it was with my last bite.
(and -1 to the Prime Rib burger for shitty meat implementation)
In the end, a missed opportunity and poorly prepared and implemented meat crushed BGR’s new seasonal burger. And because poorly prepared and implemented meat pisses me off, I’m docking this thing another point. This is probably the one and only time I’ll ever say this but, come on: bring back the turkey burger.
Final Score: Prime Rib 1, Thanksgiving on a Bun 1
– Jody (@burgerdays)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 5.5; Creativity: 6.5; Overall: 5.5
Pimento Cheese Burger – Bobby’s Burger Palace
I’ve made a lot of really big steps where it comes to breaking down food boundaries. I no longer recoil in horror when I see a pickle or gag relentlessly when mustard drips out the side of my sandwich. Heck, I’ll even ask for a little swipe of mayo when ordering at at deli. Yup, I’m really eating like a big boy these days….but a cheese-like relish with all of my vanquished food foes “blended into a chunky paste?*” Sigh…the things I do for burger journalism.
As with all intolerance, mine was rooted in ignorance. The Pimento Burger from Bobby’s Burger Palace was really good. I mean.really, really good. The cheese spread was creamy, salty and tangy – with nice heat coming from the peppers – and it worked perfectly as a burger topping. And then there was the bacon. Wow. For this burger, BBP applied a generous amount of dry rub to the bacon which added a little more heat and a helluva lot more flavor. This naturally begs the question, why the hell aren’t they using this bacon for every one of their burgers? Between the dry-rub bacon and the southern caviar, this burger did raise my sodium levels to unhealthy levels, but that’s a small price to pay for the most flavorful burger I’ve had from BBP, and really one of the best BOTMs I’ve had all year.
* Those horrifying words were actually contained in the Wikipedia write up. “Chunky Paste?” Gross.
– Matt (@yaysaps)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 8; Creativity: 7; Overall: 8
In our small world of BOTMs, a truly original idea is hard to come by. Rehashed seasonal offerings come with regularity and make what should be an exciting moment (trying a new burger!!) into a pedestrian occasion. Oh look– another burger with bratwurst in October! What’s this? Another pizza burger? At least this year, there is a shortage of Thanksgiving burgers.
I understand it’s hard to come up with a new twist on a burger every month, but some places are doing new ones weekly (Mad Fox, Holy Cow and Dogfish to name a few). BTS is normally the exception to the rule of contrived BOTMs and this month, their BOTM creation is a novel take on a regional classic.
The Burger “Beef” on Weck, while original, succumbs to the top BOTM issue I’ve seen. New items on the menu means an unfamiliarity and comes with risk. So many BOTMs have missed the mark on execution and, unfortunately, the Beef on Weck is another in the long line of great concepts that misses the mark.
I was very excited for this burger. There’s some debate about whether sticking a beef patty on a normal sandwich is a good thing. In my book, meat plus more meat, in a combination that’s already loved, is a winner. However, you have to be true to the original sandwich, otherwise you’tr ruining both a sandwich and a burger. I wouldn’t say BTS ruined the weck but mine was missing two key staples of what makes a weck a weck. The first was a scant amount of caraway seeds and salt on the bun. In all the research I did, it mentioned this sandwich was created with coarse salt on top to encourage drinking. Well, I had a hardly any caraway seeds on my bun and a dearth of salt. Additionally, the weck is supposed to have the bun dipped in au jus but mine came dry as a bone.
The burger as whole wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a true “beef on weck” and thus missed a chance at being really great.
– Adam (@addc)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 8; Creativity: 8.5; Overall: 7
2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW | DC | burgertapandshake.com
Pizza Burger – Dogwood Tavern
Why the devil do people keep trying to make pizzas burgers? Do I have to explain again what’s wrong with that, and why it won’t work? “Hey, what if we put weak tomato sauce and string cheese on top of our regular burger with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayo, ketchup- y’know, burger stuff?” No. No no no, stop. And then Dogwood shut me the hell up.
No ketchup or mayo, no weak tomato, (still could’ve done without the lettuce, maybe roast peppers instead,) but plenty of onions. The pizza sauce was actually a pizza sauce, rather than a watered down Sunday gravy. Also, it wasn’t too salty, because if you let it sit too long stewing, it just gets saltier and saltier. Plus you’re putting it on a salted burger patty. Oh yeah, seemed like they switched up their burger patty recently. It tasted fresher, and was cooked to a perfect mid-rare. Weak cheese? Nope, an actually flavorful mozzarella, rather than stringy blank rubber cement. Now I’m not a pepperoni fan (total salami snob,) but the pepperonis weren’t bad. Like bacon, the pepperoni should’ve been sliced up into lardons so you get a bit in each bite. But the pepperoni was stuck to the burger with the cheese, which was smart. Shocked. Shocked how good this burger was.
Why must I be proven an asshole? Oh, that’s right. Because I am.
– Jeb (@jebgavin)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 8; Creativity: 2; Overall: 7.5
132 West Broad Street | Falls Church | dogwoodtavern.com