The most notable thing about many pro basketball players is that they are very good at basketball. If you’ve followed Justin Anderson’s young career, though, you know there’s more to him than athletic ability.
Anderson loves food. Like, a lot. If he weren’t a basketball player, he’d be in culinary school. Recently Rick Carlisle compared Chandler Parsons’ recovery effort to working as a page in a steakhouse, but that might actually be what Anderson would be doing were he not sharing a locker room and private jet with Parsons. Anderson is a foodie through and through.
It only made sense, then, that the rookie would become the first Maverick in recent memory to literally create his own burger. He chose his own ingredients, then got with AAC Executive Chef Mark Mabry to make his dream come to life. The result: the Just-In-Time Burger.
Start with two pieces of Old Bay-seasoned Texas toast and lather them up with deviled egg aioli and add some crumbled smoked bacon. Slap on a couple slices of vine-ripened tomatoes, toss some shredded Romaine lettuce on top, then slide on a burger patty with provolone cheese. Serve with a side of Sriracha-seasoned fries and a Sriracha-cheese dipping sauce. The coolest thing about the burger is that every ingredient serves a purpose. Old Bay seasoning is prevalent in Virginia, where Anderson comes from, but he wanted to incorporate Texas toast to pay homage to his new home. He wanted some heat and he needed some form of cheese involved, hence the Sriracha-cheese dipping sauce. Even the tomato is where it should be.
“It has to be on the bottom, because if it’s anywhere else — if it’s on the top, if it’s in the middle — what happens is when you bite the sandwich, the tomatoes always slide out,” Anderson said. “Notice, when I bit into it, everything’s still there in order.”
Life is still tough in the NBA if you’re a rookie, however. Anderson brought along veteran point guard Deron Williams to the taste test, and Williams, a Dallas native, didn’t waste an opportunity to poke fun at Anderson’s inexperience in all things Lone Star State.
“I know the Texas toast wasn’t his idea, ’cause he doesn’t know anything about Texas toast,” he said.
Anderson’s response: “That’s always been my favorite preference on burgers. Every chance I get, I ask a restaurant if they have Texas toast. Most of the time, it’s ‘no.'”
As concession food goes, this burger is a masterpiece. Even independent of concession food, this burger is a masterpiece. We Texans know our burgers, and I don’t know anyone who didn’t love this one. Texas toast always has a buttery taste that complements hamburger meat well, but the Old Bay seasoning — used typically on crab or shrimp — adds a smoky touch with paprika, mustard, and crushed red pepper flakes flavors. The kicker, though, is the deviled egg aioli, as it works in harmony to add a hint of garlic from the egg and smoke from the bacon. It’s fantastic.
The burger will be available at the arena through the end of January. There are still six home games left in the month, so you have plenty of chances to grab one. It’s sold at the Grill Zones throughout the concourse for $12. I’ve been coming to American Airlines Center for almost 15 years, and there might never been a better value. Seriously. And if you do get one, tweet a picture of yourself holding the burger to @JusAnderson1. It’s Anderson’s request; he wants to know how you like his culinary creation.