PEI Burger Love 2016

Back in 2011, PEI Burger Love was created, and while it started out small (only 14 restaurants participated in the first year), Burger Love has turned into a huge event across the Island, and this year there is a whopping 73 burgers to try out!

Prince Edward Island is where I’m originally from, and given my love for burgers it might surprise you to hear that I have never participated in the event before…until now. A week or so ago I found myself back home for a VERY short visit, and I knew I couldn’t leave without tasting as many burger as I could get to.

I have to give a big applause to the Island for really stepping up and showing how delicious Island beef can be. I managed to get to 6 different places during my visit, and it was a damn good time!

The Brick-Inator

Brickhouse

“7oz Island beef patty, 4 strips of candied bacon, gouda blend cheese, butterleaf lettuce, onion rings tossed in Frank’s Hot Powder, and house-made ‘The Brick’ sauce on a toasted herb cheesy bun, garnished with onion rings and dill pickle”

Before I even got to the Island, I had my eye on this huge creation from The Brickhouse. It was getting a lot of attention on social media, and I knew that I had to try it as soon as I arrived.

Well, add me to this list of people that loved this burger, because I was super impressed. First off, this burger is huge, and it towers over the pile of fries beside it. The candied bacon was plentiful, and it had a subtle sweetness to it that was awesome. The beef was cooked perfectly, and the house-made sauce was full of flavour and there was just the right amount, so it didn’t overpower anything else.

My favourite component of this burger was the Frank’s onion rings. This was my first experience with having some kick with my onion rings, and I loved them! This one also came with a little milkshake, and it was the perfect way to finish off this amazing burger!

The Beefenstein Monster

Upstreet

“8oz Island beef brisket, house-made gouda and bacon fritter, house-made stout grainy mustard, Russian peppercorn dressing, and house-made sauerkraut on a toasted pilsner beer bun”

I’ve recently become a big fan of the beer Upstreet brews, so I really wanted to be sure to stop in and try their burger (the description also sounded amazing so that helped too).

I didn’t realize until after the fact that my burger was missing the fritter that was mentioned in the description. I’ve seen other pictures that were fritter-less, so I’m not sure if the burger changed (there was still cheese on it), or if it was a mistake.

Even though the fritter was a no-show, this burger was still delicious! With the first bite, you’re instantly hit with the strong taste of the grainy mustard, and thankfully it was pretty good so it was a welcome addition. I love when a burger topping gives a good crunch, and the sauerkraut did just that. When you add the Russian peppercorn dressing to the mix, this burger brought some really bold and unique flavours forward, and it definitely made this creation stand out.

The Brewben

PEI Brewing

“6oz Doppelbock BBQ seasoned Island beef, Marty Taylor’s smoked meat, Sydney Street Stout bacon jam, Sir John A Honey Wheat mustard, Vic Park Ale cheese sauce, and Island Red beer battered fried pickles on a house-made sauerkraut-infused toasted rye bun”

I’m a big fan of incorporating beer into a dish, so when I read about PEI Brewing Company’s Burger Love burger that incorporated a handful of brews into it, I knew that this was one I just had to try.

Firstly, I have to give it up for the bun they used. I’ve never experienced a “sauerkraut-infused” bun, and I really enjoyed the unique flavour that it contributed to the burger. The Sydney Street stout bacon jam was delicious, but I would have liked more on my burger so that every bite had that awesome sweet and savoury flavour to it.

This burger had a great beef patty, and they upped the game a bit more by adding some smoked meat on top of the patty. There was a perfect amount of the smoked meat, and the burger didn’t feel too meat-heavy. The star of the show had to be the Island Red beer battered fried pickles. I’m not usually a huge fan of deep fried pickles, but by using a more thinly sliced pickle, the ratio of batter to pickle was a lot more to my liking, and I really enjoyed them on this burger!

The team at PEI Brewing Company did a great job incorporating multiple different brews into a awesomely delicious burger!

The Poutinerie

Hunters

“8oz Island beef patty, waffle cut fries, Bar-B-Q bacon and pulled pork, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomato, dill pickle, and garlic poutine sauce on a toasted potato and chive bun”

There is a large number of restaurants participating this year that go all out and create huge burgers. While it can sometimes be the wrong choice piling numerous toppings on a patty, it is possible to pull off a delicious, and often impressive, burger if you manage to choose your ingredients wisely. Although the majority of burgers I picked for my visit tended to be on the more conservative side, I really liked the sound of the burger that Hunter’s Ale House put together, so I stopped in to give this beast a try.

This burger had some serious weight to it, and it is definitely one of the heaviest burgers I’ve picked up. The meaty components of this burger are to blame for the majority of the weight, and with an 8oz patty and a huge pile of pulled pork, this is one for all the meat-lovers out there. I would have liked more sauce on the pork, however, as it did turn out to be a lot of meat with minimal sauce.

The garlic poutine sauce was great, and when paired up with the crunchy waffle cut fries, it really gave both a great flavour and texture to the burger. While this huge burger is a pretty messy time (big burgers tend to need more napkins), it also fills you up with some tasty flavours!

The Encore

Mavors

“6oz Island beef patty mixed with chorizo, red chili gouda, candied bacon, caramelized onions, tomatoes, chipotle aioli, mustard pickles, mesclun greens, and maple bourbon BBQ sauce on a toasted PEI potato bun”

While big and creative burgers can be a fun time, I’ve always been a sucker for a simple and elegant burger that really showcases the talent of the kitchen with just a few ingredients. After reading the description of The Encore, I was confident that Mavor’s had achieved just that.

Not only does this burger showcase Island beef, but it also throws in a PEI potato bun for good measure, and the texture of it was perfect for the size of this burger. There was a generous helping of the candied bacon, which was amazing, and it was complimented with the delicious portion of caramelized onions. Hidden underneath the patty was one of my favourite burger toppings, chipotle aioli, and it did not disappoint.

If you have had this burger already, you know how much the red chili gouda stands out, and how it takes the burger to a whole other level. The gouda is definitely the highlight of this burger. I grew up on mustard pickles, so getting a little glass of them with this burger was also a great treat! Kudos to Mavor’s for keeping it classy, and making a delicious creation!

The Lumberjack

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“2-4oz Island beef patties, smoked ale and molasses BBQ sauce, maple honey sour cream, Sriracha smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, shredded mozzarella, jalapeno jack, crisp iceburg lettuce, and crunchy onion crisps on a steamed sour cream bun, garnished with a maple leaf pop”

Phinley’s was a last minute addition to my Burger Love list, and given how busy it was when we got there, it’s safe to say that this one was on a lot of peoples’ lists.

Held together by a maple leaf pop, The Lumberjack is a sugary take on a burger, which doesn’t usually fall into the sweet category. The smoked ale and molasses BBQ sauce was thick and slathered all over the burger. Usually I like lots of sauce, but for this one, given the thickness of the sauce, I would have liked a little less so that it wasn’t so heavy. I really liked the crunchy onion crisps, and the bacon provided a bit of spice, which slightly help cut through the overall sweetness.

My biggest complaint with this burger overall is the overpowering of some of the ingredients, and I feel like this could be a really great burger if the portions were tweaked somewhat.

Although I didn’t get to try as many as I would have liked, I had a great day wandering around trying a taste of some of the awesome burgers my home province is creating this month! Burger Love is almost over, but there is still a few more days to get out there and try some burgers, and feel free to share your opinions (good or bad) with me over on Twitter.

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