Sixteen competitors, including 10 local restaurants and six ambitious independent burger chefs, manned their grills and put their best beef forward at Saturday’s Bull Burger Battle at Family Leisure (11811 Pendleton Pike, 317-823-4448). At stake was a spot in the burger competition at the World Food Championships this November in Las Vegas, as well as a Bull Outdoor Angus grill, valued at over $2,500. On hand to judge the competition were Pacers point guard George Hill, Colts offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, the Great Burger Quest’s Dick Davis, Q95 FM DJ Gunner, Indiana Dairy’s Jenni Purcell, and Indianapolis Monthly’s food writer and contributing editor Terry Kirts.
Contestants spiced up their burgers with everything from jalapenos to horseradish and topped them with rhubarb, bourbon-glazed apples, fried cheese, and plenty of strips of bacon. In the end, the scores were so close that Family Leisure president Kevin Prefontaine agreed to sponsor two teams to the burger portion of World Food Championships, billed as the Super Bowl of Food, which carries prizes of $25,000 in categories such as best chili, barbecue, sandwiches, and bacon.
Taking the top prize was independent competitor Mark Medlin, with The Local Eatery & Pub’s Craig Baker coming in just one tenth of a point behind in the scoring. Both teams will take Indy’s reputation as a burger destination with them to Las Vegas this fall, as well as the chance to have their burger named the best in the world.