November’s burger specials go something like this: a turkey patty with cranberry sauce/aïoli/compote, stuffing, sweet potato fries and Brie cheese on a brioche bun. Nothing wrong with that burger, of course, but, gosh, there 30—thirty—burgers that are variations on that build on the list this month. Wow. And most seem to be called The Thanksgiving Burger or The Gobbler.
A turkey burger’s certainly an obvious and popular choice for a November special, but there’s always room for innovation. And the list has some of that, too. I’m all in for the vodka-cranberry relish Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood, Ohio, has on its Gobbler Burger and a turkey stuffing patty, as The Burg Bar & Grill, St. Petersburg, Fla., does it sounds savory and fun. The Burg also puts its sweet-potato fries on the side with brown-sugar-marshmallow dipping sauce.
The BurgerHaus in Indianapolis marries a traditional Monte Cristo with a Thanksgiving burger. It puts a turkey patty on a bed of arugula and cranberry-habanero mayo topped with ham, bacon, Swiss cheese and a Haus-made cranberry-habanero sauce, all between two pieces of grilled French toast and serves with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. Denver’s TAG Burger Bar’s Not Your Mamma’s Turkey Sandwich starts traditionally with a turkey patty and sweet potato fries but then gets funky with pickled carrot, red wine cranberries, honey goat cheese and honey mustard.
Acknowledgement is due to the three burger bars that went beyond the call of Thanksgiving duty by constructing turducken burgers. Seattle’s Blue Moon Burgers’ version has house-made stuffing, turkey, two slices of duck bacon and chicken breast topped with cranberry relish and served on a toasted brioche bun. Burger Bar Chicago’s inventive take starts with a turkey-duck-chicken patty that it tops with crispy duck bacon, Brie cheese, apricot-ginger chutney and spinach. The Thanksgiving Turducken Fusion Burger from Burger Fusion Company in LaCrosse, Wis., is just wild: Ground turkey, ground duck, and ground chicken fused together and topped with Cheddar cheese, Black Forest ham, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato fries and cran-apple marmalade on a potato bun.
And of course some didn’t do a Thanksgiving–theme burger at all. Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palaces are featuring a Pacific Northwest Burger with white American cheese, cremini mushrooms and house red wine BBQ sauce. The Oinkster in Los Angeles pays homage to a famous burger fan with its Nick Offerman “American Ham” Burger (a 6-oz. burger patty topped with shaved ham, two layers of Gruyère cheese, hot sweet mustard, mayo and house-made bread-and-butter pickles on a sourdough bun).
Outside the U.S., where Thanksgiving’s not a thing, some interesting November specials have been menued. Start with London’s BRGRCo.’s The Gunpowder BRGR. This is a blade steak patty flame-grilled and smothered in a smoky applewood Cheddar cheese, then topped with crisp bacon. The “gunpowder” appears in the side of fries, which have been dusted with chicken salt. And far, far away from Thanksgiving is the Sgt. Peppers burger from Son of a Bun in Cork, Ireland. The build is arugula, pepper sauce, deep-fried onion ring, sautéed mushrooms and onions and melted garlic butter on a 6-oz. beef patty; served on a brioche bun.
Be sure to go to the complete list of November Burger of the Month Specials to see the Beatles-inspired promo piece for the Sgt. Peppers burger. There are nearly 60 burger ideas there—only half of them turkey burgers!—so jump in browse. My thanks to Reinhart Foodservice, whose sponsorship of the BOTM feature makes it possible.