Taste Test: Steakburger Shooters vs. BK Burger Shots

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

I've had White Castle-inspired "sliders" made with scallops, fancy lamb, pulled pork, salmon, portobello mushrooms - the permutations seem inexhaustible. And the craze appears endless. In fact, from the top-shelf down to the bottom-rung, I've had mini burgers in just about every kind of restaurant you can imagine.

But how do you explain our nation's desire for ever more versions of a tiny burger based on a model still often laughed at? Is it the camp value of its humble origins? The simple-to-snack-on size?

Well, maybe in this case it's better not to waste a huge amount of thought on such small sandwiches. In other words, just shut up and pop them in, one after another.

That's what I did with some recent additions to the teeny burger lineup. Amusingly, in either a case of corporate espionage or pure coincidence, both of the new burgerettes were called "Shots" until Steak 'n Shake renamed theirs "Shooters," after a lawsuit was filed by slider rival Burger King.

What I tried: Steak 'n Shake's Steakburger Shooters (99 cents each with cheese) and Burger King's Burger Shots ($1.79 for two with cheese)

Line 'em up and shoot 'em back: Steak 'n Shake makes five different Shooters, which vary by their saucy accouterments. Since they're only Suzy Homemaker-sized - and I'm a glutton - I tried all five.

Overall, I thought these three-bite sandwiches were pretty good and fun to eat. They came on cute little well-made, toasty buns and their micro-patties were also nicely crispy, not greasy and had such real beefy flavor that they could stand up to their respective sauces.

My only gripe with Steak 'n Shake's Shooters is their lack of pickle and onion. In order of my preference, the saucy flavors are: Frisco sauce - like a sweet Thousand Island dressing; a chipotle mayo with real zing; A1 Sauce (remember that?!); mustard and ketchup; and a tangy, smoky barbecue.

Not so hot shots: The Burger King Shots arrived with their soft and soggy buns attached like conjoined twins and were available in only one flavor - your basic mustard, pickle and ketchup.

Unsurprisingly, the main flavors were pickle, mustard and that "flame-broiled" essence BK is so proud of. I'd say they're an improvement over the regular-sized BK burger, only in that there's less of it to eat. Otherwise, it's just a barely thought-through gimmick.

Would I try them again?: Only the Steak 'n Shake Shooters.

Spot a new menu item you'd like Taste Test to try? E-mail gbenton@columbusalive.com