Saturday’s very inclement weather couldn’t keep nearly 200 burger enthusiasts away from the QBQ BBQ at Water Taxi Beach, brought to us by A Hamburger Today and Gothamist. The shindig recreated some of our country’s more idiosyncratic burgers, featured in George Motz‘s very entertaining documentary, Hamburger America, which was also screened that night.
Motz was on hand, working behind the grill with Schnack‘s Harry Hawk to make sure the burgers were as authentic and delicious as possible. While I can’t personally speak to the former, the latter was definitely achieved, and the whole evening was a blast.
Those first three Qs and Bs stood for Quality Before Quantity which meant care was put into cooking them properly. The meat was ground that morning and the patties started as a ball of ground meat on the griddle, smooshed, and flipped only once. At the peak, lines for the food reached a half-hour wait but nobody seemed to mind (the beer helped). You could also get rare and well-done, but all ours (with one exception) were served medium, which seemed to be the best combo crispy outside — maillard reaction in full effect! — while remaining juicy.
Here’s what we had (and my subjective one-to-five rating):
- Elk Burger: By the time I got up to the front, they only seemed to be serving well-done elk burgers. The meat was so lean, it really needed to be rare; instead it was tough and stiff, but you could still taste the gaminess. Two stars. (A rare burger probably would’ve rated higher.)
- Motz Burger: Created by Hamburger America director George Motz, it’s a regular burger with American Cheese and Schnack Sauce (a tangy mayo-based sauce of some delicious kind)… only there was no cheese on them. The ones they sell at Harry’s at Water Taxi Beach, however, do have cheese. Either way a very good burger. Four stars.
- Guber Burger: Based on the specialty of the Wheel Inn Drive In in Sedalia Missouri, it’s a four-ounce burger topped with Peter Pan peanut butter. They were good, better than I thought they’d be, but they needed something more as when the peanut butter is heated it becomes a little bland. Maybe it just needed salt. (Actually all the burgers coulda used a little more salt if you ask me.) Or some kind of spicy kick. Three stars.
- Green Chile Cheeseburger. Based on the burger of the same name from Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe, NM, these were topped with New Mexico chiles, which were flown in just for this event, and cheddar cheese. This was the night’s best burger, and the only one we got seconds of. It really made me wish you could get New Mexico chiles here more readily. Five stars.
- Butter Burger. Our group left before this one came out but it’s based on the one served at Solly’s in Milwaukee, WI. During the Hamburger America screening, the crowd audibly freaked out by the amount of butter put on these (three tablespoons? four?) and I really wish we had gotten to try one, but after four hours of burgers, beer, and humidity, we were done. Not like you couldn’t recreate this on your own.
Thanks again to Adam and Matty at AHT, as well as the Gothamist crew for putting on yet another great food-obsessive party (even if it didn’t quite achieve the debauched heights of the Slice Pizza Party in March). Pictures used here were taken by Kate of Ponyheist.com from her Flickr photostream.
If I have one complaint, it would be that the music was a little lacking. If we have to hear Jimmy Buffet (and I really don’t think we do) shouldn’t it have been "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and not "Margaritaville"? I have a feeling Adam didn’t have any choice in the tunes. But here’s one I woulda played…