Just months after having the Oak-Fired Prime Steak Burger from his Georgetown-based Bourbon Steak restaurant named "Best Burger in DC" by Thrillist, chef Michael Mina won the Food & Wine All-Star Weekend's burger competition held this past Saturday in Las Vegas.
Food & Wine All-Star Weekend is an annual partnership between Food & Wine magazine and MGM Resorts, with the burger competition one of a series of formal and casual culinary events hosted by Aria, Bellagio and MGM Grand.
Mina, who operates four restaurants in Las Vegas, entered a double smoked, double bacon burger from his Pub 1842 restaurant (named for the year Pilsner beer was invented) at MGM Grand.
Competing against seven other MGM Grand restaurants, Mina took top honors, even defeating "chef of the century" Joel Robuchon's Le Burger -- a beef slider topped with foie gras and caramelized red bell pepper, served at L'Atelier.
We were there to sample each of the entrees, and wholeheartedly agreed with the judges' choice.
Speaking with Mina during the competition, we asked him for his thoughts on what makes the perfect burger. He replied that first element of any good burger is the grind. "You want to have brisket or short ribs -- something that has a high fat content -- as well as traditional chuck. We use Angus or American Wagyu."
Once you have the meat for your grind, Mina cautioned against packing the burger too tight. He also said that "all of your ingredients that are in [your burger] have to balance out with a nice amount of acid, sweet, spice and fat."
For the bun, which Mina believes can make or break a burger, he recommends finding a bread that will hold together well with a large, juicy burger, saying, "I'm a big advocate of a recipe that we have used for a long time, which is a potato bun."
You could, of course, skip all of the fuss and have Mina's restaurant make it for you.
Bourbon Steak is located inside the Four Seasons Hotel at 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 202-944-2026.
[Photos: 2013 Food & Wine All-Star Weekend Burger Bash. Credit: Troy Petenbrink]