Special burgers of the month

Burger joints may have taken the Christmas spirit too far. Several burger specials of the month feature Rudolph, only in burger form.

Fernando Llano/AP/File
Jan. 6, 2015 – A customer glances at a McDonalds' banner menu showing a burger accompanied by arepas or corn cakes, instead of fries, in Caracas, Venezuela. Festive burger specials are starting to be unveiled in restaurants.

For December’s Burger of the Month specials I expected to see some Christmas-themed burgers, especially given the unprecedented number of Halloween- and Thanksgiving-themed specials in the past two months. But I didn’t anticipate that so many operators would be willing to turn poor Rudolph into a burger!

The Nook, in St. Paul, Minn., doesn’t mince words but does mince Rudolph. Its Rudolph the Randolph Reindeer Burger is a patty of ground beef and venison topped with puréed bacon, minced onion and spices; served with sautéed mushroom and onions. The Rudolph burger at Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta tops a venison patty with blackberry ketchup, baby kale, pickled grape tomatoes, red-onion-juniper jam and Tomme cheese “snow.” In Southern California, Slater’s 50/50’s Rudolpho Burger is a Cajun-spiced beef patty that’s topped with reindeer chili and coriander bacon, Cheddar, pickled jalapeňos and cilantro sour cream on brioche. The Reindeer Games burger at The Avenue in St. Petersburg, Fla., is 100% ground venison and is topped with cinnamon-spiced apples and chipotle Gouda.

More burger bars chose to go with a holiday red-and-green concept. 5 Star Burgers in Albuquerque, N.M., has a Red & Green Christmas Burger with a green-chile Cheddar crisp and Rojo Ranch Sauce. Bobby Flay is thinking red and green, too: The Bobby’s Christmas burger at his Bobby’s Burger Palace has red chile sauce and green chile salsa along with Monterey-Jack cheese. The Jingle Bell Burger at The Burger Bar in Amarillo, Texas, has peppered bacon, cream cheese, roasted jalapeňos and roasted red peppers.

Several other burger bars have opted for lamb burgers rather than reindeer as the protein of the month. Check out the Ewephoria (best name of the month) at Burger Revolution in Belleville, Ont. Three joints are featuring 50/50 lamb/beef patties: The Rail in Fairlawn, Ohio; Krazy Jake’s in Wilbraham, Mass.; and Spritz Burger in Chicago.

And then there are the duck burgers. Washington, D.C.’s Burger, Tap & Shake has aChristmas Duck Burger for December. The duck patty is topped with Swiss cheese, ruby red kraut and orange-marmalade aïoli. In Ohio, Flip Side’s Duck Burger has melted Brie, arugula, caramelized pickled red onion and berry chutney. At his Village Whiskey in Philadelphia, Chef Jose Garces’ Quacked Pepper Burger is crispy duck topped with black-pepper foie gras mousse, pickled red onion and baby arugula.

Last week I posted five burger trends to watch in 2016. I can’t help noting that two ingredients mentioned in that post as gaining in favor are represented among the December specials. Buckeye Beer Engine and Kuma’s Corner both feature burgers spiced with harissa. And Burger Revolution’s lamb burger gets flavor boost from ‘Nduja sausage.

Finally, how would you translate the Christmas movie classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” into a burger? Burgerhaus in Indianapolis gives it a try with a Bedford Falls Burger. It’s one of many wonderful burgers for December, so go here to read the complete list of Burger of the Month specials, sponsored by Reinhart Foodservice.

This article first appeared at BurgerBusiness.

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