My challenge for you is the same as it would for a Michelin restaurant inspector or, for that matter, a Ladbrokes oddsmaker:
From the burger descriptions submitted by the six chefs competing in the 28-29 July @BurgerMonday #LondonBurgerBash at Camden Town Brewery can single out the favourite most likely to come out on top in voting for the #GoldenPattyAward?
I’ve commissioned a diverse mix of mostly purpose-built burgers from chefs of varying experience in the burger game. The competitors range from American Zan Kaufman, the street warrior behind the Bleecker St. Burger truck, to Hamshirean Chris Golding, the rising-star chef at Apero who’s never served a burger before.
If you’re either perceptive or fool enough to think you can predict the winner or, better still, the order of finish, first to sixth, please enter your pick(s) in the comments section at the bottom of this post. The first to accurately predict the exact order of finish, top to bottom, will win two tickets to the fourth and final round of the #LondonBurgerBash championship.
MEET THE BURGERS
The Legend of Smoky Mountain
Aged English Longhorn beef patty with beer BBQ sauce, wild boar bacon, mead bacon jam, wild herb dressing, tomato, caramelised onions & smoked Foresters cheese
As successful as it is Sussex-ful, the Smoky Mountain (no “The Legend of”) has left its creator, locavore Paul Clark, with a dilemma: He’s wanted to make changes but was worried even minor revisions would upset disciples and create social unrest on the streets of Brighton (read more from Paul). Liberated in London he is free to replace the zesty rum BBQ sauce with a beer-based tomato BBQ sauce. “I am absolutely determined to win this event,” says Paul. “The Legend of Smokey Mountain needs to have the greatest and freshest BBQ sauce the world has ever known.”
Toddy Shop Burger No.4
Ground pure-bred aged Ayrshire Aberdeen Angus chuck steak patty infused with star anise, curry leaves, cinnamon, coconut & red chillies
Its Southern Indian inspiration notwithstanding, no one will ever mistaken the Toddy Shop Burger for a kebab. Or a wrap. I’ve tried versions one, two and three and they all looked and ate like a juicy, hefty, classic New York steakhouse burger. The dynamic difference comes in bold, spicy but not lethally hot flavours borrowed from the beef fry, a favourite from the streets & Toddy Shop drinking dens of Kerala.
Drapers Crispy Pigs Head Burger
Aged chuck & bone marrow patty with Gubbeen cheese & crispy brined pig’s head on St John Bakery bap
There’s so little room for improvement with The Drapers Arms burger only its creator, chef James de Jong, knew where to find it. James wisely kept the aged beef and bone marrow patty, as well as the bap designed for it by St John Bakery, but added two new toppings: Crispy brined pig’s head and Gubbeen Farmhouse cheese. Heady pork + heady cheese = 1 smart burger.
Aged patty with dry cured bacon, devilled shallots, truffled Tunworth cheese, Chipotle BBQ sauce, tomato, gherkin, lettuce & aioli on brioche bun
When Shaun Searley shared this illustration of his Q Burger – Q as in Quality, Quality Chop House – on Instagram the response was universal: What? No cheese? You don’t think Searley was trying to gain an edge on his competitors by keeping quiet the cheese component quiet, do you? His choice of Tunworth, Hampshire’s answer to Camembert, as his burger cheese is already big deal. And when you hear truffle has been added to this award-winning soft cheese the heart races. Your resistance melts as quickly as lusciously runny Tunworth once subjected to the heat off the burger grill.
The UnBEETable Burger
Aged beef patty with stracciatella cheese, beetroot mayonnaise, pancetta, white onion & lettuce on poppy seed beetroot bun
I’m not exactly sure what inspired Chris to colour his burger bun beetroot red but it’s likely the same whim that drove him to have a beetroot tatooed on his arm. His UnBEETable burger bleeds pink juices from the aged beef and milky white juices from the stracciatella – the stretched, cream-bathed mozzarella used as the pulpy, wonderfully oozy filling for burrata. Rather than heat the stracciatella Chris just lets it melt over the patty and into your mouth.
Two aged beef patties with American cheese, onions & special sauce on toasted bun.
It wasn’t the summer heat that was keeping Zan Kaufman up at night in the weeks of late June and early July. It was the prospect of creating a variation of a classic, non-nonsense, medium-rare cheeseburger beloved for its constancy and consistency. “I thought long and hard about this one,” says Zan, “but I can’t mess with it.” I don’t know if Zan is sleeping better since making that decision to stick to what got her there but I’m pretty sure many of London’s burger purists are.
Book your ticket for 28-29 July @BurgerMonday #LondonBurgerBash.