Lynn – The Blue Ox owner Matt O’Neil was to be cooking with gas on a Miami beach today, hoping to bring home the title of best burger in the 8th Annual Amstel Light Burger Bash in South Beach.
“I’m on my third trip to Publix,” said Joanna O’Neil, Matt’s wife, from the road in Miami Thursday.
The O’Neils arrived in South Beach two days before the competition to have time to prep. Matt O’Neil is expected to turn out 2,000 3-ounce “Sin Burgers” during the event, which starts at 3 p.m. His creation is prime beef topped with applewood smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, truffle aioli, lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun. It’s named for being sinful and also as a play on Lynn’s infamous verse, “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin.”
The Blue Ox in one of 31 restaurants participating in the event hosted by Rachel Ray and sponsored by Amstel Light beer and the only eatery from Massachusetts in the mix.
“Matt is holding up well,” Joanna O’Neil said. “It’s very impressive the way this is all orchestrated.”
To make things easy on himself and to make sure he had what he needed, Matt O’Neil took a few precautions. Joanna O’Neil said they learned Florida doesn’t carry the same applewood smoked bacon they use, “so we cooked off 140 pounds of it (Wednesday) and had it shipped down.”
They also shipped down the truffle aioli, she said.
“We did pack some things though,” she said. “We packed five gallons of cut shallots and took them with us on the plane. Everyone in the airport kept wondering what smelled so good … he was smart taking necessary steps to make life easier.”
O’Neil needed to make life somewhat easier because while others were busy Thursday creating burgers with a meat packing machine, he had an assembly line going and was packing them by hand, Joanna O’Neil said.
“He packs them by hand in the restaurant so he wanted to pack them by hand here,” she said.
Blue Ox and burger fans can chart O’Neil’s progress and find out who wins one of the several burger titles by checking out the Oxford Street restaurant’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Blue-Ox/143401125696935