Restaurant Equipment Club are no strangers to the Jersey Shore. And we’re even less than strangers to a good burger and beer combo. Pairing a craft beer with a delicious burger can be an art in itself, and that’s a conversation for another day. This past Saturday, April 15th, REC had the pleasure of sponsoring The Great Jersey Shore Burger Contest And Craft Beer Fest.
Located at Bar Anticipation in Belmar, the event played host to a wide variety of deliciously hand-made burgers, a plethora of craft beers for everyone to try, and even a slew of millennials dressed in pajamas and onesies. That last part is absolutely true, and I’m assuming it was for another event later in the night.
I was immediately greeted by a nice cool breeze, live alternative music, and my own beer tasting mug. After grabbing my first funnel cake brew, I made my way to the burgers. Everyone who ran each stand was overwhelmingly generous and confident. The contestants in the burger contest were all New Jersey restaurants, and included:
- Bar Anticipation
- Brielle Ale House
- Burger 25
- The Committed Pig
- Reef & Barrel
- St. Stephen’s Green Publick House
Eager to try all the options, I began making my rounds, starting with Bar Anticipation.
Brisket & Short Rib Burger – Bar Anticipation
Bar A themselves decided to step up and craft quite a delicious contestant. The Brisket & Short Rib Burger contained ground brisket, short rib, house smoked applewood slab bacon, white cheddar cheese sauce, crispy onions, and a slight drizzle of smokey bbq sauce. The presentation was clean and appealing, and every bite made me want to transport to a summer bbq.
Mac Daddy – Brielle Ale House
Brielle Ale House whipped up what became one of my favorite burgers; The Mac Daddy. This burger was created with a ground chuck/short rib blend, topped with American cheese and house made sriracha aioli sauce. But the best part? This deliciousness sat between two hand-breaded mac & cheese buns. A 4-cheese burst of flavor with every bite!
MA-22 – Burger 25
Now this was an impressive contender. The MA-22 burger had a seasoned certified Angus beef patty, topped with melted cheddar cheese, smoked pulled pork, a crispy onion ring, bbq sauce, house made sweet mayo and pickle chips on a fresh-baked onion roll. It was like a flavorful explosion every time I bit down. The combination of meats and sauces was quite an experience. And here’s the kicker; For every MA-22 burger sold this month, Burger 25 will donate $1 to Ma Deuce Deuce (MA22) – a local veterans organization raising awareness for veterans with PTSD and eradicating the 22 veteran suicides a day epidemic. Tasty and thoughtful!
Pig Mac – The Committed Pig
At first glance, the Pig Mac definitely resembles a fan favorite in the fast food world. And heck, it even tasted pretty close to it. The Pig Mac included two Pat LaFrieda burger patties, American cheese, sliced pickles, shredded lettuce and onion, topped with a special sauce. With a new twist on such a classic, it’s easy to see how this was a fan favorite.
Blue Label Blend Burger – Fromagerie
The Blue Label Blend Burger by Fromagerie was a simple yet flavorful entry in the contest. This burger contained a proprietary blend of 35-day dry-aged ribeye, short rib, and brisket, blended by Pat LaFrieda himself. It was like eating a fine wine or an aged whiskey. Next time I’m in Rumson, I will be checking out the Fromagerie.
Oh, and quick side note; They also provided decadent deviled eggs for judges to try.
60/40 Mini Mac – Reef & Barrel
Next came the 60/40 Mini Mac by Reef & Barrel. This burger had twin patties made from a juicy blend of 60% sirloin, 40% bacon, with American cheese, shredded lettuce, diced raw onion and a special sauce, served on a potato roll. It seems that this was a theme throughout some of the options at the contest. Can’t blame these chefs though; It totally works.
The “Remy” Burger – Remington’s
Just look at it. It’s beautiful. The “Remy” Burger was made with an American wagyu beef burger, smothered in sumptuous Worcestershire glazed onions and aged white cheddar, accompanied by spicy tabasco-bacon cole slaw. Remington’s burger made me feel satisfied and craving more.
Maui Burger – St. Stephen’s Green Publick House
And the final burger I tasted at the contest was the Maui Burger by St. Stephen’s Green Publick House. I gotta say, I was beyond impressed. The Maui Burger was constructed with Kobe beef, topped with teriyaki cured bacon, grilled pineapple, fontina cheese, avocado, arugula and sriracha mayo, served on a brioche bun. So many flavors hit my taste buds at once that it was overwhelming. I wanted 10 more honestly, but by this point, I had already consumed half my body weight in meat and beer.
After giving it a lot of thought, my final vote went to Burger 25 for their MA-22 burger. It was a tough call indeed, but I found myself in a meat-induced trance after eating one of these. The pulled pork paired excellently with the Angus beef, and the cheesy goodness was a pleasant compliment to the crunchiness of the onion ring and sweetness of the pickle chips and mayo.
Have you eaten at one of these great restaurants before? Got a burger you think is too good to remain contained? Let us know in the comments!