Burger binges are on a roll. If 45 specialty creations at the recent Burger Bash at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival were not enough to sate a meat lover’s inner (and outer) carnivore, then Miami food blogger Sef “Burger Beast” Gonzalez has the dream afterparty: 20 more burgers to devour in one night.
Gonzalez will stage his annual Hamburger House Party on Saturday, March 10, at Magic City Casino in Miami. In past years, Gonzalez held the event in May to coincide with National Hamburger Month, but this year, he moved the date because of other events he has planned. In Burger Beast’s mind, there is no such thing as patty overload.
“My wife was a little concerned that it’s too soon after Burger Bash, but we have different demographics and different scale,” Gonzalez says. “That’s the Super Bowl of burger events, with burgers and people from all over the country. This has always been more hyperlocal. The winners of our judges’ award and people’s choice award get automatic entry into Burger Bash, so we’re like a satellite event.”
Entrants include past Burger Bash winner Jr’s Gourmet Burgers of Miami Springs, Killer Melts of Miami, Bird and Bone of Miami Beach, recently opened Bottoms Up Gastropub of Coral Springs, Orange Bear Grill of Dania Beach and regional chain Pincho Factory, which recently opened locations in Fort Lauderdale and Sunrise.
Burger Bash had epic size (more than 3,000 people paid $250 to graze in a big white tent on Miami Beach), but the Hamburger House Party is undoubtedly a better value. Tickets cost $45 in advance ($60 at the door if still available) and include burgers, desserts and craft beer, wine, sangria, Tito’s vodka and John Drew whiskey. Capacity will be limited to 1,000 at the Stage 305 venue in Magic City Casino. New this year is a separately judged dessert competition, SugaPie, which will feature pies and confections from 10 entrants.
Gonzalez says there was some grumbling last year when the lone out-of-town burger entrant, Hard Times Sundaes of New York, won the judge’s award. “It’s never well received by the crowd when a nonlocal wins,” he says. This year, the competition goes international with the participation of Luz Camera Burger from Brazil, which will feature a Samba burger with Brazilian cheese (minas padrão), beef jerky (carne seca) and sugarcane brandy (cachaça) with crispy fried kale. Gonzalez says he hasn’t eaten the Luz burger or traveled to its store, usually a prerequisite for an invitation, but he was enamored by the proprietors when they toured South Florida for an internet food show they produce.
Two other nonlocals will take part: Boyce General Store of Alvaton, Ky., and Toasted of Orlando.
Gonzalez says he came upon Boyce while traveling in Kentucky to collect memorabilia for the Burger Beast Museum, which is scheduled to reopen in April at Magic City after closing in November 2017 for expansion and remodeling (including the addition of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor).
“It’s this general store that has been around since the late 1800s and they added burgers and food in the 1980s,” Gonzalez says. “I couldn’t believe it, because it’s in the middle of nowhere. But I had this great pimento cheeseburger with a fried green tomato. I had to invite them.”
Boyce General Store is scheduled to make a “Pigmento” burger for the event, with jalapeno-pimento cheese and pig candy, a bacon variant.
Gonzalez says other events he’s planning this year include a hot dog festival at the Hialeah Arts District in July, Croquettapalooza at Magic City in August, a charity event to mark the 10th anniversary of his Burger Beast blog in September (location TBD), and a new chicken event, Love Me Tenders, at Magic City on Nov. 11.
Hamburger House Party will take place 7-10 p.m Saturday, March 10, at Magic City Casino, 450 NW 37th Ave., in Miami. The event is age restricted to 21 and older. Tickets ($45, $60 at the door if not sold out) are available online. For more information go to HamburgerHouseParty.com.