When we killed your savior we felt no remorse.
We didn’t think twice as we buried his corpse ,
Only about what we could afford,
With the silver we got for betraying the Lord.
– Christ Killer “Christ Killer”
Burger of the Month at Kuma’s Corner for December, 2015
- Fried pita chips
- Hariassa aioli
- Avocado tabouli
- Roasted tomato
- Feta cheese
- Kebab spice rub
- 10oz. beef patty
- Pretzel bun
‘Tis the season to be jolly and eat burgers (like any other), and what better way to laugh at the unusually temperate Chicago winter than singing some heavy metal carols in line for Kuma’s Corner? Over at the lair of the mellow-harshers, it’s a month of festivities, and the folks have decided to acknowledge the tongue-in-cheek/nail-in-hand sanctimony of San Diego’s new thrash metal band – Christ Killer.
Though it may sound controversial enough to put you on the naughty list, Christ Killer burger has so far avoided the international backlash and airing of grievances that occurred when Kuma’s Corner released the Ghost burger with its unsanctified communion waffer, though it is definitely a contender in the Most Delicious category as far as I’m concerned.
Christ Killer is a burger that explores a relatively new area of the world as far as BOTM creations are involved. It borrows (just like Christianity), from the traditions of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa, boasting a wide range of flavors with an exotic, yet familiar final result. Chips are not an unusual addition to Kuma’s classics whether they are from potato, corn or even lotus root, so the Christ Killer’s fried pita chips were pleasant, but not a surprise – perfectly prepared and full of ultimate crispness, they were there to soak all the juices of the burger’s ingredients. From the umami-rich, slightly roasted tomatoes, to the creamy mouthfeel achieved by the avocado tabouli and the juices of the medium rare 10oz. beef patty, the burger is just full to the brim with mouth-watering liquids, which the pretzel bun and pita chips did a very fine job of containing. Restaurants not worshiping the god of Pretzel Buns would have failed in their attempts, for sure. All the juices then mix with the saltiness of crumbled feta cheese and bright orange heat of the serrano and chili-fueled harissa aioli which is much like a North African Sriracha with the added benefit of the garlic’s lingering pungency. Together, the cheese and aioli quickly transform the juices into an amazing peppery sensation present in every bite.
My Balkan roots immediately made some pretty well-justified associations with Bulgarian shopska salad (with the avocado chunks in place of the usual cucumbers), served alongside some delicious grilled meats and lyutenitsa dipping sauce.
With the temperate heat of the aioli, and the perfect saltiness of the feta cheese brine, the Christ Killer was a burger that just eats itself – an absolute delight to devour, and full of flavors indulgent enough to keep you thirsty for beer AND prone to conversion.
I started the night with a 4 Hands Brewing Co. Absence of Light Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout [7.10% ABV] mostly because I came in knowing that it was going to be a loud and black ale-filled experience, so I decided to start with something with a more pronounced body and a sweeter, palate-pleasing flavor. 4 Hands do stouts justice, and Absence of Light is no different, and heck, it’s just what the label says it is – full of peanuts in the nose and in the mouth, followed closely by a hint of chocolate. Drinking this brew made me yearn for some strawberry jam, and the actual thought confused my senses and I could swear that I tasted strawberry in the mix, like a good ole PBJ. As a whole, this is a strangely satisfying stout whose high ABV has a phantom presence, and the chocolate becomes stronger with every sip. Body is great and without the usual syrupy feel to it, and coffee is detectable, but not really. Overall a great stout which plays the same role in its category as Angry Orchard does in the apple cider one. The monster on the label does look like the Golgothan demon from the movie Dogma, so there’s some thematic connection as well…. I guess?
Now, for the actual pairing, I decided to go with something black to play nice with the many balanced flavors – the heat, the salt, and the kebab spice rub, even. Here, a variety of beers from Schmaltz Brewing’s HE’BREW series sound like an ideal choice and a no brainer. Out of the list, Schmaltz Brewing He’Brew DEATH of a Contract Brewer American Black Ale/Black IPA [7.00% ABV], seems like a great choice with its 7 malts and 7 hops, though it was unavailable, and an honorable mention should go to the Schmaltz Brewing He’Brew Messiah Nut Brown Ale [7.00% ABV], which seems oh so full of potential for pairing with the Christ Killer. It’s a shame that these two were not on the menu list, because the brewery’s level of cheekiness is akin to the impish nature of the band.
The actual beer to pair this with? Left Hand Brewing Fade to Black American Black Rye Ale [7.80% ABV] is usually my “go to” black ale – it’s balanced, frothy, earthy and piney, and has that light body that I love with my ales, especially when it comes to pairing it with a nice and heavy burger. It’s malty without being too bitter, somewhat like a porter. The key here is to try and help the kebab spice rub pull through the juicy mixture of sauces and vegetables, and with careful little sips the result is satisfatory, short and the point.
Alternatively a dry red wine of some sort, I suppose…