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No Bull Burger Purist - Born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

The Crew

The Crew

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Red White & Que Smokehouse, Wayne, NJ


Where:
140 Hamburg Turnpike
Wayne, NJ 07470
(973) 782-4356
https://www.redwhiteandquesmokeshack.com/

What:
Brisket Sandwich with a side of collard greens

Comments:
The barbecue is good, not great. The bark was the best part of my brisket. Nice people, nice atmosphere, but for me, the menu selections are not conducive to a return visit.

Let me explain...

With the exception of the "BBQ Sundae" menu item, ordering off the menu at Red White & Que is completely a-la-carte. This is where I have a problem. I'd like to order a platter with lots of sides to taste without having to pick all my sides from a billboard menu individually. In this busy world, please don't ask me to make more decisions than I already have to. I want to look at a menu item that comes with sides and other goodies, point, and order. That's it. The "food-truck" style of ordering is great when you're ordering from a food truck, but we were indoors for Pete's sake. Also, sitting family style at a wooden picnic table and having a plastic cafeteria tray delivered to the table is all very cheeky and cool, but I'd much rather be waited on. For me, $20 per pound for brisket warrants table service. 

~End rant.

My father-in-law and my brother-in-law both ordered brisket by weight (1/2 lb = 2 slices) and I ordered the brisket sandwich. My sandwich was very good and the roll was absolutely perfect. One thing I noticed was that their orders of brisket were quite a bit dryer than the brisket on my sandwich. Not sure why, but mine was dripping with glorious rendered fat. The side of beans was very good but the collard greens which are a vinegar-based Carolina style with ham hock and a touch of hot pepper were on the tasteless side. There are five different sauces to choose from on the table (see photos below) so the odds are you'll like at least one or two of them.

Although the brisket sandwich might be worth a return trip, I'm on the fence with this place. If you're in the area of Wayne, NJ you should check it out for yourself and please let me know what you think.



























































That's not ketchup on my plate, it's rendered fat that dripped from my sandwich!




















Wednesday, December 20, 2017

DECODED: McDonald's Special (Big Mac) Sauce

DECODED:  McDonald's Special (Big Mac) Sauce




During yet another restless night, I had time to gather 21 copycat recipes for McDonald's special (Big Mac) sauce from 21 different websites, all claiming they have "the best tasting" - "closest to the original", you get the idea. There are so many of these McDonald's special sauce recipes out there they had my head spinning trying to decide which to try.

Since most of the recipe's ingredients and quantities of each are very similar, 
I got tired of all the choices and decisions. This is when I enlisted my son Anthony (the data guru) for help. I gave him all the raw data which he put into a formula-rich spread sheet to be compared and analyzed.

Once completed, I chose the ten most reoccurring ingredients; this would guarantee me a sauce that would taste as close to the original recipe as possible. Makes sense, no? The measurement quantities of these ten ingredients varied slightly so they were averaged and rounded for the final recipe. 


Slide 2 below shows the recipe which we formulated from the 21 copycat recipes (this is the slide you want). Please don't hesitate to send me an email if you have questions. 

Although I have yet to try this recipe myself, I'm very interested in your findings, so if you decide to make this recipe at home, please be sure to comment on this blog or email me direct at: billcianci@gmail.com with your results.

Shout out to Uncle Jude and Uncle Owen... you NEED to try this recipe... 

Enjoy,
~BC

















And so, based on extensive Internet research, it is without further ado that I give you, at your disposal, free of charge and to do with as you please, what is by comparative analysis, very possibly the best homemade McDonald's special (Big Mac) sauce recipe in the history of the world...









Slide 1 - Top 10 Ingredients
NOTE: The Minced Onions need to be reconstituted dehydrated onions.






Slide 2 - The Recipe
NOTE: See explanation of the 11th ingredient below







RAW DATA SHEET 1
(Excludes measurement quantities)






RAW DATA SHEET 2
(Excludes measurement quantities)



Mix all Ingredients and Refrigerate Overnight
NOTE: The Minced Onions need to be reconstituted dehydrated onions.
Ingredient                        Amount                    
Mayo                                        1 cup 
French Dressing                     2 tbsp
Ketchup                                   2 1/2 tsp
Minced Onions                       2 tsp
Sweet Relish                          2 tsp
Dill Pickle Relish                    2 tsp
White Vinegar                        1 1/2 tsp
Sugar                                      1 1/4 tsp
Salt                                          1/8 tsp
Garlic Powder                        1 tsp                          
Onion Powder                        1 tsp

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tavern 292 - Fairfield, NJ


Where:
Tavern 292
292 Passaic Ave
Fairfield, NJ 07052
(862) 210-8867

What:
The Jersey Burger

Build:
8 oz. burger, Taylor Ham, fried egg, and cheese on a toasted brioche bun.

Comments:
I had heard Tavern 292's Jersey Burger is done right, so I opted for it and I'm glad I did! It was very good, juicy, hot, great beef flavor (I'm guessing 100% chuck), presented well, and was cooked a perfect medium rare. Coarsely ground, loosely packed beef always makes for a fantastic tavern burger.

Although I'm often trying burgers with crazy toppings, I personally don't care for them; I prefer my burgers with cheese, onion and pickle (always NFK) but this burger was downright awesome. The toasted bun was outstanding and the key factor to all these toppings working so well together.

I was told the place is owned and managed by a Greek family and it shows. The place is run as efficiently and with as much attention to detail as any Jersey Greek diner. I have nothing bad to say about our dining experience at Tavern 292. The burger was cooked perfectly to my taste, and served hot. The wait staff was great, the place was packed (which speaks volumes), and we left happy campers. What else can I say? If you are ever in Fairfield, NJ, try one of Tavern 292's burgers – you won't be disappointed.

Shout out to Steve Wildt - you NEED to try this burger!

The Jersey Burger receives an 8.9 out of 10 on the BC rating scale. 

Criteria & ratings for the Jersey Burger:
Meat flavor 9
Juiciness 8
Size 10
Freshness 9
Burger-to-bun ratio 8
Bun type 8
Overall taste with selected condiments 8
Eatibility 10
Temperature 10






































Onion soups come and onion soups go, this one was perfect; not overly salty.





Sunday, December 17, 2017

Harolds New York Deli - Lyndhurst, NJ



Where:
Harold's New York Deli
10 Polito Ave, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
(201) 935-2600
http://haroldsnydeli.com/

What:
California Burger

Build:
12 oz. burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise.

Comments:
A ¾-pound beauty. I'm not a fan of massive burgers, but since there’s a 50/50 shot at being served pastrami at Harold's that's actually hot, I opted for the burger and I was glad I did.

I wasn't optimistic about the burger, but I placed my medium rare order anyway.

Not only was the burger cooked perfectly, it had a great leathery char. It was topped with crisp, cold iceberg lettuce, not the leafy green crap that's "good for you.” I could do without the tomato (unless they are blood red, in-season, Jersey tomatoes). The onion was as perfect as an onion can be; sweet with no bitterness that bites you back whatsoever – just pure, sweet juicy white onion. Hybrid bitter red onions are another pet peeve of mine, but that's for another day's rant.

A healthy gob of mayo and no less than three slices of cheese had me smiling all afternoon.

Pssst! Take advantage of the complimentary pickle bar and health salad. The potato salad and coleslaw are both homemade and delicious.

Harold's California Burger receives an 8.7 out of 10 on the BC rating scale.

Criteria & ratings for the California Burger:
Meat flavor 8
Juiciness 10
Size 9
Freshness 8
Burger-to-bun ratio 8
Bun type 9
Overall taste with selected condiments 8
Eatibility 8

Temperature 10



















Mega Matzoh ball soup!!








Monday, December 11, 2017

The Shepard & the Knucklehead, Haledon, NJ





Where:
The Shepherd & the Knucklehead
529 Belmont Ave, Haledon, NJ 07508
(973) 942-8666
https://www.theshepnj.com/

What:
Shep's Classic Burger

Build:
Cheddar, pickles, lettuce, and tomato with house sauce on the side.

Comments:
The Shepard & the Knucklehead emits a great atmosphere; it's the kind of place you’d want to go to during a snowstorm to drink a beer and enjoy a hot juicy burger. My friend Steve recommended the breakfast burger with Taylor ham, egg & cheese, but I felt obligated to go with their namesake, Shep's Classic burger. No disappointment here folks, even the fries were great. Check out my autopsy shots and you'll see what I mean.

One con: The burger was so fat, is was difficult to eat which made me knock down some points for burger-to-bun ratio and eatibility.
Friendly wait staff, decent prices and a killer ambiance will make you a happy camper too.

Psssst!...try the Crab Rangoon appy.

Shep's Classic Burger gets an 8.1 out of 10 on the BC rating scale.

Criteria & ratings for Shep's Classic Burger:
Meat flavor 9
Juiciness 10
Size 8
Freshness 9
Burger-to-bun ratio 5
Bun type 10
Overall taste with selected condiments 8
Eatibility 4
Temperature 10