Head Chef Brett Tilley of the Aldinga Hotel was crowned the burger maestro, beating out 11 other pubs in the thirteenth running of the AHA/SA Best Pub Burger Challenge on Friday afternoon.
In a unanimous decision by the three expert judges, including Solstice Media’s CityMag editor Johnny Von Einem, the Aldinga burger was declared the best against a list of criteria, including presentation of the chef, ingredients and burger, taste, meat content and value for money.
Judge Christine Stephan said the burger looked fresh and she could see all the ingredients.
“The most important things about a burger are flavour, seasoning and balance, and the Aldinga burger achieved all these things,” she said.
Tilley said he achieved this by grinding the meat in-house, which included 50 per cent brisket with porterhouse and scotch added to it.
“I’ll take all of those components, put them together, and mince it in-house,” Tilley said.
“So mixing it twice, with all of those ingredients inside of it, we get a nice flavour palette from it.
“And it’s just simple ingredients inside, so it’s not trying to put in chimichurri or this or that, it’s just keep it simple. There’s no complexities to it, just make sure what you’re using is quality.”
His winning recipe features the beef brisket patty on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, cheese, bacon, aioli, and a housemade BBQ sauce.
AHA|SA CEO Ian Horne said the burger is often the signature menu item of the Hotel, with venues putting their own spin and style as a point of difference.
“Along with other traditional pub fare, a burger offers great value and is still incredibly popular,” he said
The SA Best Pub Burger challenge is an official Tasting Australia Winter Series event, held under the Gawler Place canopy in Rundle Mall in front of an expert judging panel and live audience.
Sponsors include Thomas Foods Australia, Tasting Australia, Stoddart, Novatech, The Banner Crew, FIVEaa and InDaily.
Aldinga went up against the Alma Tavern, Atura Adelaide Airport, Belair Hotel, Bridgeway Hotel, Feathers Hotel, Hotel Eyre, Pier Hotel Glenelg, Hilton Hotel, Hilton, Strathmore Hotel, V Hotel, Woodside Hotel.
“Everyone did a really good job,” Tilley said.
“This was tight. It was really tight. I had a few people that I thought might’ve had it, but I really worked hard. And just made sure I came to it with a real competition vibe.”
Tilley said the award meant a lot to him and hoped it would get more people venturing down to Aldinga to see how much the seaside town has changed.
“This is huge for myself, as a chef,” he said
“It’s nice to get some recognition – as well as the hotel I work for. They’re a family business, they’ve had it their whole life.
“It just means a lot for us, as South Australians, to have someone who’s lived it, and they’ve got that ownership to show people.
“Come down to Aldinga, because we’re doing things down there. It’s not where Aldinga was. It’s something new now.”
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