#1. The Ace Burger from Three Aces
Ingredients: Chuck and sirloin topped with three-year aged cheddar, bacon jam, sliced red onion, mixed greens, with bone marrow salt on a pretzel roll.
Thanks to the bone marrow salt, this one was exceptionally beefy and salty. Devouring an entire one of these probably would have been a bit overwhelming, and there is no doubt that it was excessive, but at least it was tasty excess. It was easy to see why this was the winner of the People's Choice Award.
#2. Wagyu Burger with Smoky Asian BBQ Sauce from Yoshi's Café
Ingredients: Wagyu beef topped with panko-crusted green tomato and pickle, Asian pear jam, Brie cheese, micro Wasabi, and Asian-style barbecue sauce on a poppy seed brioche bun.
There's a lot here, but it's all surprisingly balanced and restrained, allowing the beef to still shine through. This picked up the "judge-selected Allen Brothers Award."
#3. Allium Burger from Allium at Four Seasons Chicago
Ingredients: Prime beef topped with Dunbarton blue cheddar, thick onion ring cooked in bacon fat, homemade mayonnaise, beer mustard, pickled mustard seeds, house-baked bacon, and onion jam.
Straightforward, but satisfying. Of course, I already knew that this burger was good.
The Rest: Sutter Home, Harry Caray's, Flo & Santos, LUXBAR
Top Left: The Pepita Burger from Sutter Home Build a Better Burger®
Top Right: Holy Cow! Dry-Aged Burger from Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse
Bottom Left: Flo's Back of the Yards Burger from Flo & Santos
Bottom Right: 50/50 Slider from LUXBAR
The Rest, Part Two: Palmer Place, Benny's Chop House, Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, III Forks
Top Left: The Concord Burger from Palmer Place
Top Right: Benny's Burger from Benny's Chop House
Bottom Left: BB&Q Burger from Jake Melnick's Corner Tap
Bottom Right: The Conquistador from III Forks Chicago
The Rest, Part 3: Henri/The Gage, Rockit, Mity Nice, Gene & Georgetti
Top Left: The Grand Veneur from Henri/The Gage
Top Right: Saltimbocca Burger from Rockit Bar & Grill/Rockit Burger Bar
Bottom Left: French Onion Burger from Mity Nice
Bottom Right: The Classic G&G Burger from Gene & Georgetti
John Besh, one of the official judges for the event, couldn't help but crack up as I took this photo.
The Grilling Action
Smoke wafted down into Millennium Park, as the 15 restaurants grilled their burgers over charcoal.