It was a battle of the titans, and for me a much anticipated one. As I've in recent months begun my quest for Denver's Better Burger, this event came at quite a timely moment. I almost feel like I'm cheating on a test because I've already been fed the answers. But at the same time, if I learned anything at the Denver Burger Battle it's that Denverites share a plethora of tastes and preferences, and I may be an odd man out.
As I walked in to the plaza and under the welcome arch, it was sort of like a 'Welcome To Oz' moment. I had built up this event in my head over the past few months, and I personally didn't even know if I would be able to manage myself with free beer and unlimited hamburgers. But it turned into quite a manageable feat, and next thing I knew I had tried each and every one and I was gravitating towards the booth of whom I deemed the grand champion.
In all, there were ten of them. Some were cooking on roaring gas grills, and others slinging burgers out of their street wagons. Either way, it was a night of delicious burgers, and great company.
Neither of my personal favorites made it through to the top 3, but the winners definitely earned it! Great burgers all around. In order to spare the details and your time, here are some highlights and results from the evening:
Cherry Cricket- The Blackout Burger
Smoked cheddar, blackened seasoning, bacon, Stranahan's Whiskey. Overall a pretty classic burger with traditional flavors. More whiskey please...
The Encore Burger
Gruyere, bacon, blue cheese compote (One delicious sauce, as opposed to 3 elements). Deep flavors, great beef, well-toasted bun (offering a texture contrast), and a secret stash of arugula. One of my personal favorites, and also the winner of the Denver Pickle Battle.
|Hi I'm Paul. Welcome to my funhouse of burgers.|
The Colt & Gray Burger
Hand-formed dry aged chuck, grilled brioche bun, Gruyere, frisee. Like a steak tartare sandwich, and personally one of the burgers that stole my heart this night. Wishing this one would have gotten more attention, but heard that some folks weren't a fan of the rare beef. In my opinion that's where they excelled. Don't overcook my beef, man.
Deluxe Burger- The Stilton Burger
Angus, port reduction, balsamic onions, aged stilton, roasted garlic aioli. Deluxe tried to fill us up on some cheap stuff too, but it was the good kind. Delicious fries, and you can opt for the truffle-glazed variety at the restaurant. Really enjoyed the sauce on this burger, and the flavors really meshed for me. Simply good, and not too much distraction.
The Argyll Burger (Judges and People's Choice Runner-Up)
Potato bun, beef/lamb Sirloin, carrot ginger aioli, duck fat confit onions, spicy tomato jam, ColoRouge Cheese, mache salad. In my opinion, way too busy of a burger that distracted from the heart of the meat. I kept hearing this little voice in the back of my head saying "It's all about the beef". Excuse the lack of visual, mine slid into 3 layers once it hit the plate.
Park Burger- The El Chilango (Judge's Choice)
Harris Ranch beef, cheddar, jalapenos, guacamole, lettuce, tomato and onion. Spicy for sure, and word on the street was that is was the best seasoned patty of the night. Maybe not the most photogenic entry, but the judges did their eval in the dark so I'm not telling if you're not. Nicely done, Park Burger.
The H Burger (People's Choice)
Angus beef, Hatch chili pepper, smoked cheddar, sweet ‘n spicy bacon, bibb lettuce, tomato and onion, red pepper-tomato jam. Much better than the first time I had this in the restaurant, deeply sweet, savory and spicy all at the same time. I'll be back, congrats to H Burger!
Thanks to those who made the event possible, and for their generous hearts in benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters. I'm looking forward to next year's event, and a new and improved spread of Denver's best!