SA’s best pub burger crowned

A burger boasting SA wagyu, Barossa bacon and traditional condiments has taken out the 15th annual AHA|SA Pub Burger Challenge.

Jul 19, 2023, updated Jul 19, 2023
The heat was on as 12 finalists competed for the crown of South Australia's best pub burger. Photo: Jim Plouffe

The heat was on as 12 finalists competed for the crown of South Australia's best pub burger. Photo: Jim Plouffe

The annual battle of the burger saw 12 finalists go head-to-head cooking up their patties in 15-minute shifts for a panel of three judges in hopes of winning the title of the state’s best pub burger.

This year the chefs mainly stuck to traditional burgers – no one went down the road of exotic meats – and there were the usual stacks of bacon and cheese.

The burgers were judged against a list of criteria, including presentation of the chef, ingredients and burger, taste, meat content and value for money by a panel made up of Shane Wood from Thomas Foods Australia, food critic Chris Stephan and Andrew Hayes from Nova 91.9.

After tasting and deliberating on Tuesday, the panel awarded the coveted prize to chef Luke Brabin from The Griffins Hotel for his wagyu beef burger.

Griffins Hotel wins best pub burger for 2023

Chef Luke Brabin from The Griffins Hotel won the top award for his wagyu beef burger. Photo Simon Casson

“The Griffins Hotel Burger was the standout burger this afternoon,” Stephan said.

“Not only was it well-seasoned with a fantastic flavour, but it also had a combination of different textures. There was the lovely creaminess, the patty was beautiful, and on the top, there was a crunchy treat of french fries.”

The Griffins Hotel Burger features Mayura Station wagyu beef, smoked Barossa bacon, ketchup, chimichurri, pickles, tomatoes, cos lettuce and cheese.

Brabin said the chimichurri gave the burger a nice punch and he added crispy potato for some texture.

“Choosing good produce and keeping it simple is the secret,” he said.

winning Griffins hotel burger

The winning burger from the Griffins Hotel was made from wagyu beef, smoked Barossa bacon, ketchup, chimmi, pickles, tomatoes, cos, cheese and crispy potatoes. Photo: Simon Casson.

Adam Vonthethoff, licensee of The Griffins Hotel, said he was ecstatic with the win.

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“The standard was very high, and we are so pleased that were able to win against such worthy competitors” he said.

AHA|SA CEO Anna Moeller congratulated The Griffins Hotel on taking out the top honours.

“Today’s competition was great fun, but pubs and their patrons alike are very serious when it comes to both the quality and value they get from their pub burger,” Moeller said.

“An iconic item on the menu for many hotels, venues often add their own individual flair as a point of difference.

“With the chip crisis now well and truly behind us, the classic pub burger and chips represents great value for money.”

SA pub burger challenge

The 12 finalists for SA’s top pub burger all presented amazing food to the judging panel. Photo: Simon Casson

The win for the Griffins was doubly sweet because they hosted this year’s event on their patio on Hindmarsh Square to accommodate a live audience.

The competition started in June with 40 entries received from hotels across the state. A blind tasting was then held on 29 June to determine the 12 finalists.

The other finalists included the Arkaba Hotel, Aldinga Hotel, Earl of Leicester Hotel, Largs Pier Hotel, Maylands Hotel, Park Hotel, Port Broughton Hotel, Port Lincoln Hotel, Risdon Hotel, Sussex Hotel and the Woodside Hotel.

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