San Antonio Burger Week’s creative spins are all about dressing up the staple sandwich

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In addition to plenty of fixin's, Lucy Cooper's Texas Ice House's burger features Dr. Pepper onion jam. - JAIME MONZON
  • Jaime Monzon
  • In addition to plenty of fixin's, Lucy Cooper's Texas Ice House's burger features Dr. Pepper onion jam.
San Antonio Burger Week, now in its third year, brings burgerphiles a multitude of creative ways to experience their favorite food while giving back to the community in a time of need.

Dozens of restaurants, bars and food trucks are serving up $5 or $8 specialty burgers during the citywide event, which runs from February 26 until March 7. Proceeds from each specialty burger sold benefit the San Antonio Food Bank during what’s arguably its greatest time of need in decades.



In years past, we’ve celebrated Burger Week by profiling the spicy sandos slung by SA chefs and celebrated the varied styles of burgers dreamed up at participating restaurants.

This year, we’re looking at everything but the patty.



While the meat in the middle is a vital component of a great burger, innovative sauces, luscious jams, fresh-baked buns, piquant peppers and other savory details help differentiate the specialties being served up by an impressive lineup of local eateries, from longtime burger staple Chris Madrid’s to relative newcomer Max & Louie’s New York Diner.

Let’s take a closer look at the variety of unique additions food lovers can expect from the 2021 edition of San Antonio Burger Week.

Peppers

Jalapeños: pickled, fried, candied. Chipotle chorizo. Roasted habanero peppers. Chiles Toreados. This year’s offerings have no shortage of heat for those who love a good sweat. The Scorch Burger, for example, offers appropriately fiery mouthfuls of pepper jack cheese, roasted Anaheim, habanero and jalapeño peppers atop a six-ounce seasoned ground beef patty served in a brioche bun. Get one for $8 from Mad Pecker Brewing Co. on the West Side. Mad Pecker Brewing Co., 6025 Tezel Road #122, (210) 562-3059, madpeckerbrewing.com.

Aioli

First things first: what’s an aioli, anyway? Simply put, aioli is a rich and creamy mayonnaise-adjacent spread, traditionally seasoned with garlic. This year’s Burger Week participants all but chucked tradition and elevated the emulsified condiment a few dozen levels, adding flavors such as sriracha, dijon mustard, chipotle and sun-dried tomato. Don’t sleep on The Jerk Shack’s offering, which features onion jam, crispy bacon, grilled pineapple, cheddar cheese and an earthy, rich red-pepper aioli to its $8 Jerk Burger. The Jerk Shack, 117 Matyear St., (210) 776-7780, facebook.com/thejerkshacksatx.

Jams

Adventurous eaters will celebrate the sight of unctuous, savory jams adorning at least six Burger Week specialty selections. A well-balanced savory jam takes patience and a practiced hand, which these eateries have in spades. Lucy Cooper’s Texas Ice House’s Dr. Pepper onion jam uses the Texas staple soda pop for a savory, yet still slightly sweet, accent on its towering $8 Triple B Burger. Beyond the jam, the dish features a pair of four-ounce patties sandwiching pimento cheese, topped with two slices of applewood-smoked bacon and fried shoestring onion tanglers. Lucy Cooper’s Texas Ice House, 16080 San Pedro Ave., (210) 462-1994, lucycoopers.com.

Buns

Let’s be real: you can’t downplay the importance of the bun to a good burger. After all, it’s the yeasty vessel on which all that cheesy, meaty goodness travels straight to your gullet. This year’s menu items bring an array of bready goodness, from pretzel buns and kaiser rolls to buttery, fresh-baked brioche. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue brings an unexpected twist straight from the Rainbow State. The eatery’s $5 Ramen Burger features a ramen noodle “bun” — we’re convinced it’s held together by Māui magic — which surrounds a quarter-pound beef patty, sliced green onion, lettuce and a proprietary island sauce. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, 1302 Austin Highwy #1, (210) 474-6699, hawaiianbarbecue.com.

Savory Additions

Sauces, fried eggs, queso and … peanut butter? Yep, these and other extras provide finishing touches on some of Burger Week 2021’s most innovative offerings, rounding out the lunchtime staple with a touch of something more. The peanut butter mention may have you scratching your head, but let us finish. Dog & Pony Grill’s $8 PB&J Sweet Heat Burger features Texas Hill Country beef, peanut butter, Sweet Heat habanero jam, candied jalapeños, bacon and cheddar cheese on a potato bun. Dog & Pony Grill, 1481 S. Main St., Boerne, (830) 816-7669, dogandponygrill.com.

Extra Meat

While this year’s Burger Week offerings largely feature beef patties at the center, a number of the specialty sandos welcome other proteins to the party. Grilled ham, pork belly, jalapeño cheese sausage and chili — bean-free, of course — are just a few proteins that make an appearance this time around. As an example, Max & Louie’s New York Diner is putting an old-world spin on its $8 Deli Burger by topping the quarter-pound patty with savory sliced pastrami. Max & Louie’s New York Deli, 226 W. Bitters Road #126, (210) 483-7600, maxandlouiesdiner.com.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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