Love beef burgers? And mushrooms? You’re in luck.
Twenty-five Texas chefs are tackling the James Beard Foundation’s national Blended Burger Project contest by creating meat burgers made by using at least 25% mushrooms. Chefs have faced increasing pressure to offer healthier meals and become more sustainable with their menus and The Blend concept provides a delicious opportunity to meet diners’ changing tastes.
For the fourth annual Blended Burger Project, the public is invited to taste at participating restaurants and vote for their favorite burger online. Every major Texas city is represented in the contest including Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, in addition to smaller cities in Texas. The contest pits about 300 cooks across the country in a social media-driven battle (#BlendedBurgerProject and #contest) with the top five winners earning a chance to cook their version at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.
Vote here for your favorite burger by July 31 and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to score an expenses-paid trip to the Blended Burger event at the historic James Beard House. A win win! Here are a few mouth-watering bites of the Texas competition you don’t want to miss (not all restaurants are listed):
Participating Texas Restaurants
Wink Restaurant & Wine Bar: The Duck Burger patty is made with ground Peking duck and assorted mushrooms, garlic, shallot and truffles shavings. It is crowned with creamy vegetable slaw and a sunny side up duck egg on a house-made bun.
District Kitchen + Cocktails: This thick, nicely charred patty dubbed Umami Melt is made with shitake mushrooms and Texas Wagyu. It rests on a Hawaiian bistro bun topped with Japanese Island sauce, pickled bok choy, sliced cucumber and Delice de Bourgogne cheese.
Ancho’s at Hotel Omni Downtown: The Texas Beef Burger is blended with crimini mushrooms and topped with roasted poblanos, Texas gold Cheddar, and whiskey barbecue sauce on a toasted brioche bun.
Tick, Tock! Vote for your favorite burger by July 31
The Kitchen at The Dunlavy: “Not Your Basic B” is blended with 25% crimini mushrooms and 75% brisket chuck, skirt steak, and short rib seasoned with pasilla pepper. Served on a Kraftsman brioche bun, it’s luxuriously dressed with cilantro-avocado, green goddess dressing, bibb lettuce, pickles, red onion, Whitehurst Farms heirloom tomato citronette and jalapeño cheese.
Tipping Point at Hotel ZaZa: Chef Jonathan Wick’s burger on a sesame seed brioche bun comes stacked with double patties, melted cheese, shredded lettuce and grilled onions. The hidden house pickles are a few notches sweeter than a standard dill. This choice plays well against the spicy kick of the chef’s homemade hot sauce and Dijon mustard blend. This is one messy meal!
Kiran’s Houston: Cumin scented garam masala-infused ground bison and wild mushroom patty is topped with melted Swiss cheese, onion jam and a fried duck egg on a brioche bun.
Texas Spice: American Redneck Burger is a double smash patty with crimini mushrooms, American cheese, dill pickles and ranch dressing (you can add bacon or caramelized mushrooms).
Dover’s Grille: Portobello and sirloin burger topped with smoked Cheddar, Applewood bacon, and mesquite heirloom tomato relish, barbecue chili aioli and crisp cigar onion strings on a brioche bun.
Boiler House: The Texas Wellington made with prime rib, brisket and Maitake mushroom blend is crowned with red wine steak sauce, cambozola cheese, duxelle mushrooms, escarole and horseradish aioli.
Bolo’s: The Brava Burger is 50-50 Angus beef and chipotle-infused Portobello mushroom patty topped with smoked Swiss and habanero garlic aioli on a homemade bun with bibb lettuce, and sweet potato straws.
Ghost Hill at Treaty Oak Distilling: Ghost Hill Smoked Mushroom Burger made with Texas Wagyu, live oak smoked mushrooms, barrel aged pickles, smoked gouda, chipotle cream and, of course, Treaty Oak Texas bourbon on a house-made bun.
Shoreline Sandwich Company: T’s Umami Burger made with a beef and shitake mushroom patty seasoned with fish sauce, garlic and sugar, topped with tea smoked King Oyster mushrooms, bacon, grilled green onions, cucumber, cilantro, basil, mint, and black garlic lime vinaigrette on a toasted sesame seed bun with hot chili aioli. Whew, a mouthful!
Cover photo “Not Your Basic B” Blended Burger from The Kitchen at The Dunlavy, courtesy Clark Cooper Concepts
Robin Barr Sussman is a freelance food and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America/Greystone, California. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.