The carnivore inside me was more than sated after Saturday’s inaugural Philadelphia Burger Brawl.
The event was conceived by Rob and Maggie Wasserman of Rouge and 500°, and I had the honor and privilege of being on the panel of judges alongside Food Network host Marc Summers, Mike Jerrick of FOX 29’s Good Day Philadelphiaand Matt Cord of 93.3 WMMR. (I think there were a couple others but I couldn’t see past the towering burgers that kept being placed in front of me).
Held in what became the lightly BBQ smoke-filled yard of the William M. Meredith Elementary School in Queen Village, the event (a fundraiser to build the school a new computer lab) welcomed a 500-person crowd who chomped away on burger after burger made by 17 of Philly’s top patty-makers, including many of COOK’s BFFs. Even Mayor Nutter, State Senator Farnese and newly-elected City Councilman Squilla couldn’t stay away.
Now, eating 17 burgers in one sitting (let alone in one week!) is no easy feat! But the backyard vibe just lent itself to eating, sitting, chatting, water icing (thanks to John’s Water Ice!), and more eating. Plus, the judges scored our burgers using new software on an iPad (covered in a large Ziploc baggie), which was super cool!
The official results were as follows – but honestly, so many of the burgers that day were delicious – so all the participants were winners in my mind (cheesy, I know):
- London Grill and chef Michael McNally won the people’s choice award, based on voting among the nearly 500 attendees. McNally’s burger is sold at the restaurant as “The Aristocrat.” It’s made with local beef and is topped with homemade Boursin cheese, caramelized onions, and homemade ketchup and beer mustard.
- 10 Arts Bistro and chef Jennifer Carroll won the judge’s voting. Her burger, also sold by the hundreds at the restaurant, is based on Pinelands beef and features Green Bay cheddar, pickles, lettuce, thin-sliced tomato, red onion, ketchup and Dijon mustard, and is served on a challah bun from Wildflower.