The concept of "Christmas In July" promotions has never really made much sense to me. This is Texas, and nothing about triple-digit temperatures makes me think of the holiday season. Still, what likely started as a clever marketing strategy for stores to boost sluggish summer sales has inspired a damn delicious burger at Rodeo Goat in Fort Worth.
Rodeo Goat is known for making creative and sometimes odd-sounding burgers, and this year's tribute to the holiday season is no exception. The "Santa" burger, available at Rodeo Goat for a limited time, is a surprisingly successful mishmash of Chef Jaymes Murphy's favorite holiday dishes on a buttery, perfectly toasted bun.
Instead of beef, Murphy grills a turkey patty full of rosemary, garlic, and sage for a lighter version of Grandma's perfectly roasted bird. A generous smear of pomegranate mayo, inspired by everyone's favorite jellied cranberry condiment, adds a little sweet and tart touch. On their own, these two elements are enough to inspire memories of Christmas, but Murphy doesn't stop there.
I was a little put off by the idea of apple-cinnamon bacon on a burger, especially with the already-sweet pomegranate mayo in the mix. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to find that the bacon had only been lightly glazed in an apple cider and cinnamon reduction. This was bacon candy, something the world could certainly use more of.
On top of the bacon, two crispy fried onions sit as an homage to green bean casserole. "It's kind of hard to duplicate green bean casserole on a burger, but everybody loves french fried onions, so these are kind of a hat-tip to that," says Murphy. A surprisingly light creamed spinach stands in for cheese, which should really be an option on more burger menus.
It if seems like the Santa has a lot going on, it does. This burger could be a complete mess, but there's just enough of each holiday-inspired element to keep it from being too heavy or sloppy. Even with the creamed spinach, glazed bacon, and mayo, the bun stayed perfectly crispy until the end, which is an achievement for any burger.
For the next two weeks, the Santa burger will battle it out with the Trinity Trails burger at Rodeo Goat, and Murphy says that the competition is tough. "The Trinity Trails burger is really good. It's made with heirloom tomatoes, fried okra, and housemade pickles, so we'll just see what happens." If it's not going to make it onto the permanent menu, you should make a point to try the Santa before it's gone forever.
In addition to the Christmas-inspired burger, Rodeo Goat is also tapping some wintry beers, like 512 Pecan Porter, Rahr & Sons Barrel Aged Winter Warmer, and Revolver Fracker Barrel One. Thankfully, the air conditioning keeps things pretty icy inside Rodeo Goat, so you won't have to worry about sweating too much while pining for cooler temperatures and Christmas dinner.