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No Kid Hungry

This summer sure has been a hot one! Feeling like I’m walking on the surface of the sun every time I leave the house has limited my usual burger-eating enjoyment, as well as impeded my backyard BBQing (Who wants to stand in front of a grill when it feels like 105 degrees out?). Luckily the weather cooled down this week just in time for Shake Shack to team up with No Kid Hungry and Al Roker for a special burger. The Roker Burger is a 100% all-natural Angus burger topped with Niman Ranch BBQ pulled pork, double American cheese, red-eye mayo and pickles. And every $1 from the burger sales will go to helping No Kid Hungry in its efforts to end childhood hunger in America. I’m always down to eat burgers for a good cause, so I headed over to my local Shake Shack to check it out.

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I thought the burger was great. I loved the sweetness of the BBQ sauce and the pulled pork was juicy and tender. I also loved the crispy sweetness of the pickles (my usual go-to burger at Shake Shack is the Smoke Shack, so I’d been missing my pickle fix). And a burger topped with BBQ pork is the perfect way to combine your summer favorites!

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If you wanna try it, you better hurry – it’s only available in Shacks nationwide from now until Friday, August 26th (So run like you’re in the White House about to poop your pants… just try not to in the process).

Keeping It Local

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally made it out to West Philly to try the final link in the “chain” of amazing beer bar/restaurants from the people who brought you Strangelove’s, Resurrection Ale House and Memphis TaproomLocal 44. So far, all three have had pretty solid and delicious burgers. Would Local 44’s burger – topped with house-made American cheese, pickles, BBQ 1000 island, and lettuce – hold up to the others?

The pickles were more sour than I’d prefer, but the smokey tang of the BBQ thousand island helped mellow them out. Unfortunately, my burger was cooked past medium to medium-well. While lamenting my overcooked burger, a nearby table was seen sending their burger with a warm, pink center back to the kitchen. Alas, someone else had gotten my perfectly cooked burger and had the nerve to reject it! But despite the inaccurate temperature, the burger was still rather tasty. The only other downside was the burger to bun ratio was way off. The picture above is hiding the empty space of the bottom bun, but just know that I eventually gave up on the excess bun altogether. I tore the rest of the bread off and finished the burger without it, instead of trying to eat my way around to compensate for the lack of bun. It might not have been the “golden child” of the burger family, but it was still a treat.

And speaking of treats, don’t leave Local 44 without getting an order of their amazing hush puppies – Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Burger rating: “B”

Goodness Gracious

Ever since Shake Shack touched down in Philly two years ago, a lot of other fast-casual burger chains have come to the area trying make an imprint on the burger scene (Smashburger, BurgerFi, Burger21, to name a few). So when Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef fame announced he would be opening a branch of his DC based burger joint, Good Stuff Eatery, I was anxious to see how it would turn out. And then I became increasingly more anxious as the projected opening date being reported by local food blogs kept getting pushed back again and again. Finally, just in time for July 4th weekend – aka Philadelphia’s time to shine – the doors opened and the burger angels sang their siren song.

They have an assortment of burgers with specialty toppings on potato buns, as well as hand-cut fries and shakes. Sounded awfully familiar to me, so what would set Good Stuff’s burgers apart? First off, their burgers are a blend of short rib, chuck and brisket and a whopping 5-6 ounces. As far as the fries go, instead of using classic Idaho potatoes like some places, Good Stuff uses red bliss potatoes that are aged and then hand cut and double fried. And for your dipping delight,  they’ve got a “mayo bar”, featuring Chipotle, Mango, Sriracha and Old Bay (a DC & Philly favorite). If you remember from my recent post about my trip to BurgerFi, I wasn’t pleased with them charging $13 for a burger, fries & a drink when you can easily get the same combo at Shake Shack or Five Guys for less. Good Stuff’s lunch special (running Monday-Friday from 11:30 AM-2:30 PM) features their Farmhouse Cheeseburger (topped with tomatoes, lettuce, onion, pickles and “Good Stuff Sauce”), fries and a drink for only $12! That sounded like a great deal to me and so, that’s what I opted to get.

So, the first thing I noticed was that I was not given the Farmhouse Cheeseburger. I’m not sure if this was an oversight or if maybe the lunch special burger changes daily; either way, I wasn’t complaining. Checking the menu again, it appears I was given the Coletti’s Smokehouse burger: topped with Applewood Bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings & chipotle BBQ sauce. The second thing I noticed was how big the patty was. This thing was no joke! Five Guys gives you two patties off the bat and Shake Shack will let you add a patty and both of those barely come close to this bad boy (and honestly, I feel like less of a pig if I have one big patty instead of getting two). Thirdly, while I was not asked how I wanted my burger cooked, when I bit inside, it was a perfectly pink medium. Already this burger was leaps and bounds over its competitors!

The cheddar was nice and gooey. The bacon, crispy. The BBQ sauce, tangy. The onion rings had a good crunch to them and weren’t too stringy. The bun, soft and proportional. Good Stuff Eatery was good stuff, indeed. I can’t wait to get back and check their burger out in its “pure” form.

Burger Rating: “A”

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