Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and now Food & Wine; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival. Follow him on Twitter @OzerskyTV.
Happy burger season! As we do at this time every year, we begged our favorite burger expert, Josh Ozersky, for his Top 10 Must-Try Burgers list for 2014. Ozersky is the author of the excellent "The Hamburger: A History." He gave it some thought, and then handed over his awesome list, plus intel on why these places made the cut.
Only a madman or a glutton with infinite resources could hope to eat every hamburger in America. Think of how big the country is! And yet, it would be equally ludicrous to suppose that the 10 burgers I listed here last year are still the country’s best. Every year new hamburger debutantes have their coming-out parties, and each year obscure starlets emerge from the hinterlands to enchant even the most effete of critics.
Here then is this year’s edition. Not all are new; and not all are necessarily mind-blowing. A few, like Hildebrandt’s and Dyer’s, owe as much to their picturesque surroundings and rich history as they do to the salt and blood of their beef. But all 10 of these burgers deserve our attention, our respect, and most of all, our willingness to eat several of them, one after the other.
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
We Americans, we do like our beef. The average citizen of the US of A eats somewhere around 70 pounds of beef per year. And we eat more of it on Memorial Day than any other day of the year—not all 70 pounds in one go, necessarily, but still. Evidently we, as a people, cannot resist the urge to slap round patties of ground cow flesh onto hot metal and then devour the results.
There are, however, some suspicious characters floating around—veggie refuseniks, fifth-column lamb lovers, turkey-burger saboteurs, whatnot—who reject the classic burger in all its beefy, juicy wonder. Well, it’s a democracy, at least last I heard, and everyone’s entitled to their own viewpoint. (And, you know, a good lamb burger is mighty hard to resist, I do have to admit.)
So, in the spirit of diversity, brotherhood and universal burger tolerance, here are some wine recommendations for a whole variety of grilled-things-between-buns.
If the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival had a Mayor, Vance Vaucresson could be a serious contender.
Even when he's behind his family's sausage po-boy tent, tucked under a New Orleans Saints ball cap and wearing sunglasses, five minutes don't go by without someone stopping by to say hello to him.
"It's like a reunion around here," Vaucresson said between visits. "We're a family, all the vendors."
He shakes a lot of hands, and says a lot of hellos.
"He's just a super friendly, personable guy," festival food director Michelle Nugent said.
Besides Vaucresson's friendly disposition and sparkling blue eyes that make him political gold, he also has history on his side. His family has been a staple at the festival for 45 years.
One beeeeeelion years ago (okay, 13), chef Daniel Boulud's DB Bistro Moderne unleashed the Original db Burger uponst the New York dining public. Yea and verily, they quaked and drooled in the face of the "monster burger's" lavish short rib, foie gras and truffle-stuffed extravagance - and its then-unparalleled $27 price tag.
Boulud's seasonally-available Double Truffle Burger variant was, for a time, Guinness World Records-certified as the world's most expensive burger. Its $120-$150 cost has since been topped by others including Serendipity 3's limited-time $295 "Le Burger Extravagant," made from white truffle butter-infused Japanese Wagyu beef, topped with James Montgomery cheddar cheese, black truffles and a fried quail egg and served on a gold-dusted campagna roll spread with white truffle butter.
Blini, creme fraiche and caviar added to the beefy tally, but this might make the whole thing a little easier to swallow: Bowery Mission, which serves homeless and hungry New Yorkers, was the beneficiary of the profits.
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.
Join 8,075 other followers