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'The Texas Bucket List' features Burger Nation (w/video)

By Jessica Rodrigo
Jan. 14, 2014 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2014 at 7:15 p.m.

Jesse Rojas, 52, of Victoria, manager of Burger Nation, poses with his restaurant's Hawaiian burger, which has been a special at Burger Nation for three months. The Hawaiian burger was featured on the show "The Texas Bucket List."

Pineapple rings, fried ham and barbecue sauce is putting Victoria on the nation's burger map as home of one of the most creative concoctions.

In December, Burger Nation was featured on the ABC network show "The Texas Bucket List" for a segment called "The burger of the week."

Jesse Rojas, 52, manager of Burger Nation, received the call from the show's host, Shane McAuliffe, in October.

"He called on a Monday, and they were down here by Thursday to film," said Rojas.

McAuliffe, 34, and his crew came in and interviewed Rojas and a few customers to learn more about the restaurant and the menu. The process took about three hours to shoot what turned out to be a six-minute segment.

Luckily for Rojas, the crew made him feel at ease, so he wasn't worried about being on camera.

Plus, he knows his way around the grill. So when it came time to show McAuliffe - and the viewers - how to make the burger, he was a natural.

"It was just another day," Rojas said.

Armed with plastic gloves and a metal spatula, he threw two patties on the grill and toasted the bun. After he flipped the patties, two pineapple rings and a slice of ham were tossed onto the grill.

"Pineapple itself is great, but if you put it with anything else, it's ewww ..." said McAuliffe.

The host put his trust in Burger Nation and later changed his mind about those pineapple slices piled high on that burger finished off with barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and a Burger Nation sweet sauce.

When McAuliffe took that first bite of the Hawaiian burger in front of the camera, he was impressed.

"It was absolutely incredible."

"The Texas Bucket List" covers a lot of ground, featuring hidden gems including eateries, museums and culinary delights. McAuliffe relies on tips from Texans to choose which places to visit and was tipped off by his friends, who told him to visit Burger Nation to try its burgers.

"We decided Burger Nation was going to be one of the more interesting places," said McAuliffe.

Since the show aired on various ABC networks across the state, people have visited Burger Nation from as far south as San Benito and as north as Waco.

Brian Cisneros, of Victoria, takes advantage of Burger Nation whenever he has a chance.

"I love the burgers," he said. "The burgers are so big, and they're filling."

Cisneros, 25, had a cameo on the segment and said he wasn't surprised the restaurant was featured.

His favorite burger on the menu is the Frito pie burger because it has everything he likes.

"I like chili and cheese on my burger. The Fritos are just a bonus," he explained.

As for the Hawaiian burger, he hasn't tried it but said it sounds and looks good. If Cisneros can ever stray away from his old reliable, he'd give the pineapple-and-ham combination a try.

In the meantime, Rojas and his crew at Burger Nation will continue brainstorming new combinations to lure people - like McAuliffe - in for a fresh, juicy burger.

But if the menu doesn't titillate the taste buds, Rojas suggests trying the build-your-own-burger menu.

"It's about 50-50," he said. "We get customers who order from both menus."

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