Burger Bash 2018 Winners: Alex Guarnaschelli's Butter and Swine Southern Table & Bar
We've got the scoop on the winning burgers and more of the between-the-bun creations.
Though February is hardly considered outdoor-dining season, down here in Miami, all eyes were on the grill last night as the fan-favorite Burger Bash competition took over the beach at the 17th-annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival. This sold-out event hosted by Guy Fieri drew meat lovers from near and far, and like in years past, there was no shortage of juicy, cheesy burgers (or meat sweats) up for grabs, and the crowds moved from station to station to sample each bite.
This year's judges' panel featured both top-notch chefs like Marc Murphy as well as passionate food enthusiasts, including the one and only @foodgod Jonathan Cheban, David Grutman and fashion designer Zac Posen, all of whom had one mission: pick the best burger. When they weren't mingling with fans and posing for impromptu selfies, the judges sampled the more than two dozen between-the-bun creations and ultimately awarded their top pick to Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and her team at her New York City-based restaurant, Butter. They offered up a downright satisfying cheeseburger topped with a rich bacon-jalapeno jam and cool pickles. Though not an official judge last night, Bobby Flay's daughter, Sophie, stopped by Alex's station to taste the Iron Chef's burger and instantly declared, "Best burger, baby!"
Of course, hungry partygoers too wasted no time in trying every. last. burger. Everyone was given one vote, and when the tokens were tallied, the beef-pork belly mashup called The Swine Burger from Swine Southern Table & Bar earned the title of People's Choice.
We spent some time at Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's station as he and his team dished out a one-of-a-kind tempura-fried ribeye burger doused with teriyaki sauce and served with deeply savory kimchi. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, these shockingly light golden-brown patties were both flavorful and fun to eat, and the teriyaki sauce had us licking our fingers afterwards.
Shake Shack is often known for bringing the party to Burger Bash, and last night was no exception. We visited their booth toward the end of the night and fans were still waiting in line to get their hands on a Smoked Cheddar Shack, built with salty bacon and plenty of gooey cheese.
At her New York City restaurant, The Beatrice Inn, Chef Angie Mar offers a menu of the finest meat, so it's no surprise that her Burger Bash presentation was one not to miss. Her Animal Burger brought together the best parts of a classic burger — tomatoes, onions and cheese — but each element was done a little differently. The tomatoes were heirloom, juicy and ripe, the onions sweet and grilled, and the cheese a subtle but funky blue. We were really into this one.
While many restaurants experimented with ingredient combos to create all-new burgers, the team behind Brooklyn's Emmy Squared Pizza stuck to their signature: the Emmy Burger. And simply put, we're glad they did. Built on a split pretzel bun, this moist, tender burger was dripping with their fan-favorite Emmy sauce, a bright-orange topping that's at once spicy and sweet.