Big, spicy flavours, creative meat combinations, and non-burger dishes in burger form were just a few of the trends that appeared for the 2019 edition of Halifax Burger Week, and with over 140 options this year, dedicated burger fans had their work cut out for them if they wanted to experience all the tasty choices being offered!
While the numbers haven’t been officially announced yet, from the amounts slowly trickling in from restaurants on social media, it appears that this has also been another great year in support of Feed Nova Scotia. I have no doubt that the total donation this year will be a HUGE help in supplying food banks, shelters, and meal programs across the province with items to help those in need. If you are still looking to donate, or you want to volunteer, I strongly encourage you to check out their website and see how you can help!
I managed to get my hands on 31 of the burgers that were offered this year, and even though there were a few that I didn’t get to, I do feel like I hit most of the spots that were getting a lot buzz throughout the week.
There were a lot of really delicious, well thought out burgers this year, and despite A LOT of mind-changing and deliberating, I finally settled on my Top 3 burgers of the event, along with ten Honourable Mentions that also deserve some time in the spotlight. Read on to see which burgers were top of the class for Halifax Burger Week 2019!
It’s worth mentioning that during Burger Week, I tend to not stop by restaurants whose entry is a burger that they have on their regular menu. It is by no means anything against those burgers (there were some that were in this year that I have thoroughly enjoyed in the past), but I try to dedicate my time to the ones that are only around for the week!
Black Sheep – Three Little Pigs
“Starting with that top notch pork patty, that was both seasoned and cooked to perfection, it created a juicy, flavourful bite every time and kept you coming back for more. The pancetta added a nice mildly salty layer to the burger, and my tastebuds could not get enough of it! Rounding out the pork trio, the chicharron comes out to play and shows everyone how a nice crunch should be implemented in a burger.
On the not so meaty side of things, there’s a fried egg, which is always welcome on my burgers, and a green chimichurri that brings a burst of savoury freshness into the mix. Add some sharp and creamy smoked Beemster, and the whole burger comes together into one perfectly executed dish that, in true Three Little Pigs fashion, huffed and puffed and blew me away.”
It is also worth mentioning that this is the third year that Black Sheep has been participated in Halifax Burger Week, and every year they have landed in my Top 3. To say they know how to make a near-perfect burger would be an understatement.
Station Six – The Southern Standard
Admittedly, I had not yet been to Station Six before stopping by for this burger. I had heard good things, but it wasn’t until I got my hands on their Burger Week creation that I discovered just what they were capable of cooking up at this Spryfield restaurant.
The Southern Standard is a large burger that comes in swinging. Doubling up on the meat, this burger featured a classic beef patty which was topped with a healthy portion of tender BBQ brisket. There was a crisp crunch from the bed of red cabbage slaw, which was only bested by the spicy house-made dill pickles.
While all those elements were a thoroughly enjoyable time, the guilty pleasure of this one is easily the deep-fried smoked cheddar. That gooey, melted cheese texture that everyone loves was encased in a crispy batter, and it is just as good as you would imagine it to be. If this burger is an indication of the food at Station Six, then I will be going back because this Burger Week entry hit all the right spots!
Taco Lina’s – The Nacho Burger
The new kid on the block didn’t waste any time pushing it’s way through the crowd, and impressing everyone with their impressive taco skills (with the Rinaldo’s at the helm this shouldn’t come as a big surprise), and they brought that A-game into Burger Week with their Nacho Burger.
I was expecting this burger to be good, but not as good as it turned out to be. It’s only fitting that a burger from the Taco Lina’s kitchen would punch up the heat between the buns, and they did just that with some pickled jalapeños and spicy mayo. Add some avocados and pico de gallo for a freshness to each bite, and some chips for a bit of a crunch, and you have a tasty burg.
But they didn’t stop there.
Where this burger steals your heart is with the queso cheese sauce that is drizzled over everything, and gives that delicious, cheesy flavour to every part of the burger. Yes, that dis make for a messier meal at times, but when the burger is this good, who cares?
Verano – El Jefe
When it comes to the Honourable Mentions for this Wrap-Up, I typically post them in random order, but I am putting the El Jefe from Verano at the top, as it was extremely close to having a seat at the Top 3 table. The addition of this one to my hit-list was a mid-week decision after seeing how much hype the burger was receiving, and I’m really glad it popped up on my radar as it was not one to be missed!
The star of this burger was hands down the pork al pastor patty, and the flavour that came through in the meat was next level. The pork was insanely juicy, and every bite was bursting with a perfectly crafted medley of flavours. Add in a moderate level of heat, which both packed a punch but didn’t overpower, and you have a great piece of meat. They included a pineapple picadillo for a bright freshness, and a tatemado jalapeño and avocado salsa to make the flavour profile that much more amazing, and the end result was a burger that got people talking during Halifax Burger Week 2019!
HopYard – The Hip Hop
“When it comes to big burgers, having the right portions is key. There’s a lot going on between the buns of The Hip Hop, but the team at HopYard has found the right amount of each component, and managed to do it while incorporating lots of beer-inspired elements.
This burger has some big sweetness to it, and it actually works extremely well. The juicy beef compliments the Sugar Shack bacon, and creates a really nice sweet and savoury profile. The subtle beer characteristics of the Hop mayo and IPA pickle relish give the burger a nice little twist in true HopYard fashion. The Hip Hop is then rounded off with some ale-salt potato chips for a great crunch, and some beer gravy to keep things interesting.”
RumbleFish – The Dork Burger
“The aptly named Dork Burger brings two different proteins together for a deliciously meaty time. The tender braised duck leg brought an awesome juiciness to the burger, and the spiced pork provided a well-seasoned base that suited the other ingredients perfectly. I also have to give it up to the garlic mayo because a creamy condiment is exactly what this burger calls for, and having a hint of garlic in there didn’t hurt either.”
Vandal Doughnuts – The Birthday Sex
“On paper, it is almost unbelievable that this list of ingredients could make a delicious burger. The sweetness from the doughnut against the spicy chipotle sauce just doesn’t seem like a good team-up. However, Vandal managed to come up with the perfect combination and portions of each item, and created a burger that works exceptionally well.
The beef is juicy, the cheddar is melted, and the bacon is crispy, but where this burger shines is in the pairing of that unlikely duo that is the glazed doughnut bun and chipotle sauce. The sweet and spicy back and forth of the two is like a choreographed dance, each letting the other have their moment in the spotlight, and at times coming together to create a unique and addictive flavour.”
The Barrington Steakhouse – Burg-Ducken
“While there is no turkey in this burger, a classic 7oz beef patty takes it’s place and definitely holds it’s own as the primary base protein. Moving up in the toppings layout, the duck confit is a thing of beauty that gives a rich flavour to the burger, while almost melting in your mouth with each bite. My favourite of the three meats, though, has to be that crispy chicken skin. It was salty and seasoned, and it was the kind of topping that you just can’t get enough of, even if it may not be the healthiest of things (but really, if you’re worried about your health, Burger Week may not be the event for you).
On top of all that meat, there was a nice bed of slaw that provided a crisp crunch, while giving a much needed contrast to the other meaty components. Overall, everything about this burger came together nicely, and if you’re someone who enjoys a nice piece of meat, or three, this burger is for you!”
Elements on Hollis – El Trumpo’s Wall: Donald’s Mexican/American Burger
The El Trumpo’s Wall was another mid-week addition for me, and I’m very happy that I decided to stop by because this burger is big and bold, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
A beef and pork patty with Mexican flavours was the base of the burger, and a tasty one at that. A nice level of approachable heat was brought forward through the Frank’s Red Hot pico de gallo, and the guacamole ranch dressing was there to cut through it and give a pleasurable creamy texture. Serving it with a side of chili-spiced tater tots was a nice touch (cause who doesn’t love some tater tots) and added one final element of spice to the meal. This was one “wall” I was happy to see built this year!
Relish – The Wack is Back (AKA The Trademark Infringement Burger)
“If there’s one thing that Relish knows how to do, it’s make a solid burger. The Wack is made up of pretty classic components. You have your beef patty (or they’ll swap it out for a veggie one), pickles, onions, lettuce and cheese. But where Relish turns this burger from good to great is in the sauces. There’s the signature beet relish that is a tasty, earthy spin on the classic condiment, and then there’s also the mysterious secret sauce. While no one knows what makes this sauce so damn good, it takes no prisoners and satisfies every single tastebud.”
The Carleton – The Mañana Burger
Every year there is always a couple burgers that immediately catch my eye when the list is released, and I know I won’t be satisfied until I’ve tried them for myself. The Mañana Burger from The Carleton was one of those burgers, and I’m very pleased to report that it met all of my expectations!
A breakfast-inspired burger, The Mañana brings all those tasty early morning meal components together in one croissant bun. The patty was made from PEI beef, and there was a slice of smoked cheddar melted over top of it. A fried egg and a thick slice of peameal bacon rounded out the breakfast elements of the burger, and they decided to punch it up a bit by incorporating pickled peppers and a habanero aioli for a bit of a bang that would wake you up anytime of the day.
There is no denying that this one was messy, despite the croissant bun holding up better than I was expecting, but that’s only because this burg was so juicy that it couldn’t help but let a few drips fall on the plate. I found myself wanting another bite before I even swallowed the previous one, and in my books, that’s a sign of a great burger!
Durty Nelly’s – The Pickle Back
“Opting for chicken as the protein this time around, The Pickle Back burger (which takes it’s name from the unique practice of chasing a shot of whiskey with a shot of pickle juice) is a fried chicken fan’s dream. The breading was light but still had that awesome crunch you would expect, and with the bold taste from the pickle brine, they really created a delicious, and tender piece of chicken.
The purple cabbage and house-pickled veggies spruced up the protein, and gave the burger a crisp, crunchy texture. There was an appropriate amount of the chipotle ranch, and it provided a hearty kick to take it up a notch.”
Krave – Bacon Jam Cheeseburger
“With the number of options for Burger Week growing every year, it’s nice to have the comforting familiarity that is the Bacon Jam Cheeseburger from Krave. I say it every year, but this burger is one of my favourite Burger Week traditions.
While lots of Burger Week burgers are busy trying to pull out all that stops, the Bacon Jam Cheeseburger keeps it simple and wins you over just as much, if not more, as those big, flashy burgers. While the classic ingredients are so tasty, the star of the show is obviously the bacon jam. This sweet and smokey condiment takes everything that is great about both sweet and savoury flavours, and packs them into every bite. I long for the day when Krave decides to bottle this jam because my body needs it all year round.”