October 1, 2012

More Burgers at Smokin' Betty's

I promise we're not trying to be a burger only blog, but life has been crazy with this whole wedding thing and we haven't been as good about documenting all of our eats.  Thankfully I was able to sneak away from making centerpieces and wrapping silverware and participate in this month's Burger Club meeting.  I've missed the past few meetings thanks to the brilliant decision to take a class this summer, so I knew I needed to make it this month!

This month's burger venue of choice was BBQ joint Smokin' Betty's, located directly across from Jefferson Hospital.  I've been here several times for pretty average BBQ, salads, and sandwiches but had somehow never tried any of the burgers.  For our meeting, Smokin' Betty's cordoned off a section of their upstairs dining room for us burger eaters, and even printed out special menus with our logo- so fancy! Contrary to what my photo depicts, there are five burger options at Smokin' Betty's- standard Angus, turkey, or veggie burgers plus a couple of spruced up, unique sandwiches.  

Before my food arrived, I snapped a pic of a friend's housemade veggie burger ($9.95), which I thought looked representative of a really well-formed meat-free patty- nothing too crumbly or wet.  The patty appeared to include quinoa, carrots, lots of herbs, and possibly peas- a good mix of ingredients typically lends a more flavorful hand. Decorated with poblano relish, sprouts, and the requisite lettuce and tomato, the burger also comes with a side of decent hand-cut fries.

Is there some sort of sprout shortage?

I was feeling particularly adventurous (nothing new there) and opted for the Tur-Duck-En Burger ($12.50).  I have to preempt my description with my opinion that this doesn't qualify as a burger- it was actually a Thanksgiving sandwich.  Reminiscent of a solid day-after-Thanksgiving lunch of leftovers, the patty is a mix of turkey, duck, and chicken.  Juicy and flavorful, though the second patty slipped underneath the meat demanded it's share of tastebud attention.  Homemade stuffing full of sage and thyme is shaped into a smaller disc and crisped up a bit, distributing its flavors through each bite.

A chunky cranberry sauce adds sweet and tart elements and replaces any moistness that you might typically get from ketchup or other condiments.  The menu advertised southern style gravy, but I didn't notice any.  The last element was curly ribbons of sweet potato- slightly chewy and without much flavor, but they did add a bit of textural interest to an otherwise all-soft sandwich.

The other jazzed up option is the Betty Burger ($12.95), based around a hefty 1/2 pound sirloin patty.  Perfectly formed and cooked exactly to order, the meat set a delicious tone for the rest of the sandwich.  The Betty tries to do it all- a thick layer of melted white cheddar, a few pieces of shredded confit pork belly, slices of ripe avocado, roasted garlic aioli, AND a runny fried egg, all on top of the usual lettuce and tomato.

I thought that the overall flavor combination was superb, but my more minimalist boyfriend was a bit overwhelmed by this admittedly somewhat ridiculous conglomeration.  The avocado and egg made the burger lopsided, making for a bit of a mess as the bun tilted precariously after a few bites.  Speaking of the bun, the one's they use are unoffensive- not distracting in taste, texture, or density.

The two sandwiches were drastically different, but I enjoyed both- though the Tur-Duck-En alone isn't going to quench any burger cravings.  Overall I thought Smokin' Betty's was a great choice for Burger Club- the open space easily fit our larger group and the range of choices meant everyone left happy.  Smokin' Betty's is actually currently holding the second place overall rating amongst our club's rated burgers!

Smokin' Betty's
116 S. 11th Street

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