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Hamburger Hop Returns to Chicago Gourmet for a Second Year

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 26, 2011 6:10PM

Millennium Park was the meat lover's paradise Friday night - quite a distinction in a city that loves its beef. The kick-off event for Chicago Gourmet, the Hamburger Hop, saw chefs from all across the city competing to make the best burger.

The event was sponsored by Allen Brothers, who provided all of the hamburger meat that the chefs used. "It is a special sirloin - we call them steak burgers in the catalog," said Allen Brothers President Todd Hatoff. Hatoff was definitely excited for the event before it got started, though he seemed a bit nervous about the prospect of tasting 17 different burgers at the judging table. "We're a part of Chicago, and this is a great event and an elegant event. It's going to get better and better and better."

Rick Gresh, of David Burke's Primehouse, cooked one of our favorite burgers of the evening - a dry-aged burger with a home-made bacon bun, truffled deviled eggs and a spicy vegetable mix on top. Primehouse is particularly proud of its meat - Gresh joked that all the meat in their dry-aging box was "worth more than the penthouse." He also gave out a great tip for budget eaters - if you head to Primehouse for lunch, the 40 day dry-aged burger is only $12. "If you're going to have that meat in a steak, you're going to spend $40 or $50."

The winners of the event, chosen by the attendees and a panel of expert judges, were Bandera and Palmer Place. Bandera Chef Colleen McHugh combined homemade hickory sauce, Ding's Pickled Relish, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, cabbage, mayonnaise and mustard to impress the judges, while Chef Steven Lawhorn used chopped pepper-cured Neuske's Bacon, aged Wisconsin cheddar, sliced heirloom tomato, crisply pickle slaw, roasted red pepper remoulade and smoke picante ketchup to win the people's choice award. Congrats to all who participated, and we'll see you next year!