The annual bratwurst invasion is on with the rollout of Oc(k)toberfest burgers. Then there are those burger joints whose eyes already are on the end of the month. Their October Burger of the Month specials have ghost-pepper cheese, sriracha and a Halloween theme.
But first I want to applaud those burger bars that recognize October as a season and not just host to festivals or holidays. October is autumn and, like all seasons, it has its own foods. Cheers to burger shops that know that. Relish Gourmet Burgers in Nova Scotia know it. Its Autumn’s Bounty Burger (below) this month has beef, cranberry goat cheese, back bacon and crispy squash chips. The Squash Bowl Burger at Kuma’s Corner in Schaumburg, Ill., tops a 10-oz. beef patty with fried butternut squash shavings, seafood and a cheese cake with fresh seasonal vegetables and raspberry maple aïoli.
Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood, Ohio, has a Pork and Pumpkin Burger that combines a chargrilled 100% Ohio grass-fed beef patty on a butter toasted bun with Buckeye Brewing Cleveland Porter-braised pork belly, deep-fried pumpkin risotto cake, arugula and roasted garlic aïoli; with house-made chips and a fried pickle. Kooper’s Tavern in Baltimore has a burger with Wagyu beef, smoked Gouda, caramelized onions and pumpkin jam with greens.
That’s not to say there aren’t some terrific and inventive Octoberfest creations out there. Social Burger in Vienna, Va., starts with a house-made bison bratwurst patty and adds lingonberry jam, house-made sauerkraut, choice of Dijon or grainy mustard on a fresh pretzel bun. Burger Bar Chicago also has a house-made bratwurst patty, which it tops with Gruyère, sliced bratwurst sausage, Bavarian sauerkraut and smoked mustard on a pretzel bun.
For Halloween burgers, I like the Halloween Horror burger (above) at Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap in Chicago this month. That’s a hand packed 9-oz. habanero & Cheddar beef patty that’s topped with pepper-Jack cheese, guacamole, fried poblanos, candied jalapeňos and ghost-pepper mayo. Scary. Drake’s in Franklin, Tenn., offers its guests the Angry Goblin Burger: a beef patty with sriracha-dusted onion straws and ghost-pepper cheese.
Oh, there’s more. So many more. The October Burger of the Month specials are so good that you need to give a look to the complete list, made possible by Burger of the Month sponsor Reinhart Foodservice. Have a great, fun and profitable October.