Beef, bean, bap and brioche: the best burgers in Ireland

Voting open now for BurgerFest 2018 and there are almost 100 burgers in contention

BurgerFest 2018 is looking for Ireland’s best burgers, and they’re not all beef

BurgerFest 2018 is looking for Ireland’s best burgers, and they’re not all beef

 

Do you prefer minced or chopped beef, and just how high dare you go with the fat to lean ratio? Springy bap or squidgy brioche bun? Tangy Cheddar or melty mozzarella?

The components of a good burger are a topic of hot debate – and that’s before subject of sauces comes up.

Ireland’s first nationwide celebration of the burger, BurgerFest 2018, in association with Ballymaloe Relish, kicks off today and runs until January 28th. The mainstay of the festival is a competition to find Ireland’s best burger, as well as the best burger on sale in every county in the country, as chosen by the people buying and eating them.

Restaurants, pubs, cafes, hotels and fast food outlets, as well as butcher shops, are developing signature burgers for the competition, in which the public gets to cast their vote by taking a photo of their favourite burger, from the participating outlets, and posting it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, with the hashtag #BurgerFest.

In keeping with the current popularity of vegan and vegetarian food, it’s not all meat-based burgers that are being dreamed up, and Cork restaurants are leading the way. At Liberty Grill in the city, you can try a blackened tempeh burger.

Tempeh is a soy-based product, a bit like tofu, but with more fibre and texture. For this burger, it is dipped in Cajun spices and fried, then served with crushed avocado, and vegan Caesar sauce dressed Little Gem lettuce.

The Bodega, also in Cork, is offering a vegan black turtle bean burger, with red cabbage slaw and battered avocado beignets. At Coqbull, you can order a black bean and red quinoa burger with jalapeños, raspberry chutney and lime creme fraiche. Will this be the year that a vegan burger takes the title?

Coqbull is also searching for someone to beat its speedy eating record. The current title holder managed to put away six burgers and fries in 13 minutes. Not for the faint-hearted.

Members of the Connacht rugby squad at the launch of The Perfect Wingman burger at Seven Bridgestreet in Galway
Members of the Connacht rugby squad at the launch of The Perfect Wingman burger at Seven Bridgestreet in Galway

It was beef all the way when the Connacht rugby squad dropped in to try the Perfect Wingman burger at Seven Bridgestreet in Galway. This one features a peppered beef patty, with Cashel Blue cheese and hot sauce. It faces competition from Seven Bridgestreet’s Nacho Libre which contains a half pound of chilli beef, along with smoked Irish Cheddar, jalapeños, onion rings and chilli nachos.

Those with hearty appetites might like to take on the Man (or Woman) V Food challenge at The Oliver Plunkett in Cork. This whopping 32oz burger with Brandon Vale Cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onions, also comes with fries, and costs €30 – but if you finish it, it’s free.

In Dublin, Gourmet Burger Kitchen is offering its customers a chance to win a €35 voucher every day of the festival, by voting for its offering as well as including the #GBKIreland hashtag.

Gourmet Burget Kitchen’s Big Mouth burger
Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s Big Mouth burger

The five GBK locations across the city and county are also running a special offer for the duration of the festival, with of any one of its 22 burgers, fries and bottomless soft drinks, for €13.95.

The festival special at Box Burger in Bray is the Sweet Cheesus, which has American, smoked and blue cheeses on a double beef patty, with peppered pancetta and cayenne tobacco pickles.

Ireland’s best burger, and the county winners, will be revealed on February 6th. For a county by county list of almost 100 participating outlets, from Antrim to Kerry, see thefestivalcrew.com.

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