Contestants had just 10 minutes to produce two burgers yesterday at the annual SA Pub Burger Challenge run by the Australian Hotels Association, with Grant Schooling of North Adelaide’s Cathedral Hotel judged the winner.
Schooling’s burger consisted of a 100 per cent grass-fed Angus beef pattie, wood-smoked bacon, onion jam, cheese, lettuce, egg and the hotel’s homemade “secret sauce”, all on an organic sourdough bun.
“It’s all about quality, local ingredients, which are farm-direct and ethically-sourced,” Schooling said, when asked about the secret of his success.
“It definitely helps knowing which flavours work, and which don’t. I did a lot of research interstate, so I’ve come across some new and exciting combinations.”
Run since 2009 by the AHA, the Pub Burger Challenge is sponsored by Holco Fine Meat Suppliers and is intended to provide a snapshot of some of the state’s best pub burgers.
The finalists’ cook-off was held as part of the SA Hospitality Show at the Entertainment Centre. First prize this year was a new burger press for the winning hotel/restaurant, and a knife roll for its chef.
In addition to the Cathedral Hotel, the other 2016 finalists were The Port Noarlunga Hotel, The Brompton Hotel, The OG Hotel, La Boca Bar & Grill (Stamford Plaza), The Stamford Grand, The Torren Arms Hotel, Hackney Hotel, The Gully Public House & Garden, The Hotel Royal (Torrensville), The Marion Hotel and The Goody.
Finalists were required to cook two burgers so one could be judged on presentation alone while the other was quartered for tasting by a panel of judges which included Christine Stephan, Bill Lindsay, Mark Bickley and Shane Wood.
Judges rated each burger based on flavour, presentation, meat quality and value for money. But in the end, said Stephan, “it’s all about taste”.
To be eligible, burgers must be sold for under $24, consist of a patty (no pulled meats) and have been on the menu for at least six months.
Other finalists included a dry-aged Argentinian burger with a 220g beef pattie, homemade chimichurri sauce, provolone cheese, tomato and rocket (La Boca); The Blue Bulls – Wagyu beef pattie pocketed with blue cheese, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, crispy fried onion rings and a blue cheese dressing (Hackney Hotel), and a Wagyu beef burger pattie with bacon, lettuce, cheddar cheese, mayo, onion rings, smokey Jack Daniels BBQ sauce (Marion Hotel).
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