Saturday, June 8, 2013

Burger Week is about to End

Burger Week is about to End

The week long annual event known as Burger week is about to come to a close with Sunday's take on the McRib. And while I haven't had that one yet, tackling the other burger creations and take-on other fast food's version is something well worth talking about.

I'm getting ahead of myself here. You see, Oinkster is a little burger shack that reshaped an old Wienerschnitzel into something really neat in the Eagle Rock area. Each year they throw a week long event called Burger Week. In which they go about and celebrating all things burgers. Ironically enough it happens the week after National Burger day.

What they do is they take on other fast food place's version of burgers and give it their own spin. Some are 1-for-1 recipes. Others have a slight twist to them and many are just amazing creations pulled out of thin air. No matter what you try, they're all going to be amazing. As you can imagine, during this event the place gets packed. Often the line twist all the way out into the parking lot, with a solid 30 minute way to get to place your order. It draws in a lot of people. How the staff tackles this with a clear head and a calm sensibility, I do not know. I applaud them for their amazing skill in it.

So what type of burgers make all this waiting in the crowds worth it? Well then, I'm glad you asked. Here's a run down of all the burgers of each day and my opinion on how they came out. Hey, remember that this is just one man's opinion. Yours will vary, but then again, you'd have to go down to Oinkster to have tried them.

So let's get this ball rolling;

Day 1: The Oink-o-nator   

Say what you will about the wonders of bacon. It is on just about every thing and everyone is demanding it be on much more items. From chocolate to salts. The Oink-o-nator was a take on the simple Wendy's baconator. A sandwich that cuts out all the middle stuff and just gives it to you straight with pure bacon, cheese and meat. Very little room for much else. I think you just get some mayo on that mofo.

And while I have had the Wendy's version in the past and I can easily say that the Oinkster's version is far better, I felt like this was a low start of the week for me. I have my reservations on bacon being the star of the show. Which is why I'll never acknowledge B.L.T's as anything more than you not being able to find some deli meat. Even with six bacon strips on this sucker, I felt like it was just too much protein.

Again, it's the fault of the burger construct itself. You need those other elements to highlight how bacon is awesome. Because on its own, it doesn't bring the entirety of the burger together. I scarfed it down, of course. But add in the 3oz patties instead of a bigger single patty, thus causing the meat to get a bit more cooked than needed, the OInk-o-nator wasn't the best start to the races.

Though again, they did do it justice. 3 stars out of 5

Day 2: Nino Grande 

On the second day Oinkster tapped into my nostalgic routes and put their spin on a classic burger that I loved growing up. In fact, it's probably one of the only Father/Son memories I have of me and the old man eating out. We use to go to Bob's Big Boy and I loved me a Classic Big Boy. You may very well have eaten one like it since McDonalds pretty much ripped them off to create the Big Mac. It's the same concept. Two patties with a sort of middle bun. Lettuce and special sauce - which was pretty much thousand island but the secret didn't bother me.

How did Oinksters on this one? Oh man, they nailed it perfectly. Then again, they did do a Big Mac version last year. So practice does make perfect. And the reservation I had the day before of the 3oz patties - all gone. I got some pretty good cooked patties on this one, and while it's not the same as a bigger 5 or 6oz meat patty, it did taste exactly like my childhood remembered a Big Boy Classic burger to be.

A solid 5 out of 5 stars on this one for nostalgia sake. 

Day 3: The Burgerlord of the Wings

I have no idea if this is a take on someone else's burger or if this is just  a play on words. And while I do appreciate the creativity behind this one, I thought too much was going on at once. Let me explain. You have a penko crusted pineapple ring in this sucker on a bagel bun with some cream cheese and then sauteed onions. For one thing, the picture from the burger week menu threw me off as it does seem like you'd get onion rings - as it does fit the theme. But then again, that would be too much deep fried toppings.

I liked the penko crusted pineapple. It was great, and on a burger it was delicious, especially with the sauce they poured on it making it very island time tiki friendly. I think that on its own would have made a great burger. The bagel bun, cream cheese and onions worked great on their own as well. But putting them together just sort of clashed with the taste. Not a terrible thing, but it felt like the flavors were very much conflicting. One minute you'll take a bite and it'll be this interesting bagel burger. The next it's a sort of pacific islander deep fried pineapple goodness. A sort of coin flip of a burger bite.

I'd still give it 3 1/2 burger stars out of 5

Day 4: Weed Eater

Oh man, my boys at Grill 'em All know how to party. The past burgs came in at 3oz patties or 5oz, but Grill 'em All was taking no prisoners and doing a 6oz sucker that was beyond amazing from their good ol' truck days. The Weed Eater. It's got jalapeno bacon, pulled pork and sauce all on a burg that will make you drool. Even had funnions on it - which after you get past the initial reaction, they work amazing on the burger as the juice just gets soaked up by them and gives you some delicious little flavor bites.

Ryan and Matt were there as well to say hello and be as excited as they normally are. Which was great and it was nice to see them not have to be in the kitchen going crazy. But this hamburger was something else. Very much delicious in every possible way. It's only a shame that this was its retirement party. 

Can't show any less love for my boys Ryan and Matt - 5 out of 5. FEEDING THY FACE! 

Day 5 Thrilla from Manila 

This was the one that threw me for a loop when I read the description. Inspired by Chef Andre Guerrero's heritage in his own Filipino cuisine, this burger was something amazing. It was hands down the best burger of the week - and I say that not having had the McRib take on burger yet. The Burger was a Lumpia patty, made with pork shrimp and slew of other things that were then deep fried. It was as if you took the Filet-o-fish and actually made it delicious in every possible way. 

Crispy where it needed to be and then once you get past that crunch the flavors, oh man the flavors. You had them all meld together to make something that was different, yet entirely familar and not alienating to those who didn't grow up in a Pinoy household.

I would buy this regularly if it was on the menu as it was just that good. I wanted to get back in line and get another, though it was already late enough. If burger week is good for just one thing, it's for cranking out creations like this into the world and making it a happier place.

6 stars out of 5. Like the burger, this sucker broke the mold

 Day 6: The Doritos Bell Beefer

As a youth I use to go to Taco Bell a lot. Back then it was a lot more junky of food than it is now. One menu item was their Bell Beefer. Think of it as a sort of sloppy joes version of their tacos - only they put it on a burger bun to be more acceptable to you white people. It wasn't the best, but it had all the taco fixings on a burger bun instead of a crunchy taco. Go figure.

Was it good? Eh, I enjoyed the shredded lettuce and other basic taco stuff on a burger. But this-  this Oinkster's version of it was just something else entirely. Let's put it out there, they gave it a modern day spin and they crusted the meat with crunched up doritos. Because let's face it - Everything taco bell does lately has something to do with those fake cheese flavored chips. It's just unheard of otherwise.

Well, those chip crusted on the burger added with the taco topping fixings of shredded yellow cheese, lettuce and diced tomatoes just worked so well. Even better is that they put some tapatio on it. Nothing turns me on more than some of that on my food. I even went and poured a bit extra on it. The end result was that it really did have that taco like flare while being a really tasty burger. I think that if Taco Bell were to ever bring back the Bell Beefer, this would have to be the type of style they would do it in.

It had an interesting crunch as well as unique taco-burger kick to it. All in all, it was really good and very creative spin on Taco Bell then and now.

4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Day 7: McRibster 


I really don't know how that is going to come out. I'll be honest with you, many moons ago, when I was a young lad - I had my share of McRibs. They were good during that limited time only release. Then the next time they rolled around I must have developed something of along the lines of taste, as it really didn't have the same taste at all. Perhaps the animal they use to make it out of went extinct.

Either way, I can't help but think that anything is an improvement over what McDonalds is doing in the field of science pork and bbq. Especially a place like Oinkster, that has a wide selection of amazing pork meals in itself. I know I'm looking forward to it and completing the task of 3rd Annual burger weeking.

It was fun and had a lot of creative twist and turns. Even if it didn't start off with a sort of bang... unless you count the feeling of your heart stopping to the tune of bacon, cheese and meat as a form of bang. Still, I really liked how Burger Week reached over the past couple of days. Till next year's Burger week, Oinkster. Well, after McRibster, that is.

And with all that, I think I'm going to go on a crash diet.... 

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