Chefs’ Picks: Miami Burgers

Miami chefs shared their favorite burgers, just in time for the 15th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
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Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

We’re making our way across the country, finding chefs’ favorite burgers in a variety of cities. We’ve talked to chefs about their picks in New York City and Chicago. Now we’re hitting Miami, just in time for the 15th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

Buns of Liberty, Sweet Liberty

“This is easy,” says John Iatrellis of Lure Fishbar, citing cozy Miami Beach neighborhood joint Sweet Liberty. “Buns of Liberty will hit the spot with crunchy onions, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, housemade pickles, special sauce on a delicious brioche roll … on point! Since this is about burgers, I won’t go on about their amazing craft cocktails and fun and inviting atmosphere.”

©Ra-Haus Fotografie, LLC

Ra-Haus Fotografie, LLC

The Original db Burger, DB Bistro Moderne

The Original db Burger is an epically indulgent affair, mixing sirloin with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle on a Parmesan bun, with a side of pommes frites. So when Meat Market’s master of meat, Executive Chef-Owner Sean Brasel, wants to indulge, he knows exactly where to turn. Brasel, a fan of lean proteins who cooks himself Southwest-inspired bison burgers, likes the flavor that the foie gras adds to Daniel Boulud’s beefy mixtures. “When I get the chance to get away from the restaurants and splurge a little, I go to DB Bistro in downtown Miami for that foie gras burger.”

Sympathy for the Devil, Burger & Beer Joint

Burger and Beer Joint has legions of beef-loving fans. Award-winning chef Makoto Okuwa of Makoto is one. His favorite is topped with hearty chili, cheddar, pickled jalapenos and a habanero sauce that he swears “is to die for.” Elaborating, he says, “The flavors are well balanced, and the richness and umami of the patty are great. I usually go for that with a side of the duck fat fries.”

Secret-Style Burger, The Local Craft Food & Drink

Nedal Ahmad, chef-owner of Pincho Factory, is constantly racking up awards for his creations, but when he doesn’t want to make himself a burger, he heads to The Local for an off-the-menu take. “Phil [Bryant]'s burger changes frequently and is consistently good,” says Ahmad. “But in-the-know guests can always order whichever burger graces the menu secret style, which adds a fried egg and switches out the regular bun for The Local’s Mc'Disco’s — two disks of melty housemade pimento cheese, hot-pressed between a potato roll.”

“Mamita” Backyard Burger, Homemade

Matt and Priscilla Kuscher, owners of LoKal, Kush and The Spillover, make a lot of burgers for their restaurants. When they’re not at one of the three and they’re craving ground meat, they make a Puerto Rico-meets-Maryland mash-up marinade with Old Bay, yellow mustard, local lager, orange, garlic, onions and Sazón mixed with grass-fed ground beef. After letting it sit for a few hours, they cook the patties and serve them on potato buns with mayo-ketchup, potato sticks and provolone cheese.

Photos courtesy of the restaurants and   Gil Bitton
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