Ten. That’s the number of burgers that have been created exclusively for this year’s Burgapalooza – a mammoth festival of Sydney's favourite handheld meal.
Burgapalooza takes over Parramatta’s Albert Square Park this Saturday and Sunday and will be a glorious cavalcade of neat and sometimes messy packages of bread, meat, pickles and cheese created by the city’s finest purveyors of the delicious snack. Each stand will also offer vegetarian variations on their temporary creations.
Festival founder (and Down ‘N Out Burger chef) Ben Kagan says the fact that more than 10 of Sydney’s most popular burger joints are taking part is testament to the booming local scene.
“The burger scene has exploded in Sydney,” he says. “The festival is a tribute to all the amazing burger vendors doing incredible things, and a celebration of the community atmosphere that exists between us all.”
Unlike other years, the coupon system will canned in place of cards and cash, and instead of vendors making smaller versions of their burgers so punters can try more options, they'll be normal in size. As well as the below outlets, the festival will also feature Burger Head, Superior Burger, and Ume Burger.
Daredevils should stop by the Tabasco stand to add a splash of the red stuff to their chosen burger(s), or to enter the inevitably painful chilli eating competition.
And pair your meal with a beer from Melbourne’s Mountain Goat Brewery, or a cocktail mixed by (and with) Buffalo Trace and Fireball.
DJs will provide relaxed soul and funk grooves to help you digest, while event partner Menulog will be passing out the picnic blankets. It’s also providing a “Burger Coaching Unit” (or BCU) that will intensively care for those who may have gone too hard too soon at the festival and who need a little support getting back out there.
Menulog’s specialist “burger coaches” will provide half-time massages, sweat bands and towels. They’ll even run digestion-aiding aerobics sessions and stretch routines to shimmy the first round down and stretch the stomach for round two.
Here’s your game plan.
BL Burger’s I’m On Smoko
Among the masterpieces on offer is the I’m On Smoko. The Bar Luca spin-off is packing its uniquely smoky milk bun with beef, a sticky brisket-pastrami jam, American cheese, whisky-pickled cucumbers, jalapenos, onions, lettuce and a thick pimento and cheddar mayo we wish we could take home by the jarful.
It’s the kind of handful BL Burgers’ Mahesh Basnet says you’ll never try anywhere else. “We wanted to do something different, so we played around with ingredients. When we first tried the finished burger, we were blown away.”
Regardless of its success, Basnet says the burger is strictly a one-weekend fling. “We’ll never bring it back,” he insists, “even if it’s the most popular burger at the festival, which we think it will be.”
Mister Gee’s Monseur Gee
The fancy Monseur Gee burger is a dry-aged short-rib patty topped with the ubiquitous American cheese and served in a buttery brioche bun with confit garlic aioli, tarragon and a classic French red wine-reduction bordelaise.
Down N’ Out’s the O’l Bae
This chicken burger has an Old Bay-spiced chunk of fried chicken paired with Swiss cheese, jalapeno-pepper mayo and “Buffalo” pickles soaked in Frank’s Hot Sauce.
“It’s a flavour bomb,” says creator Kagan. “We’re known for our fried chicken, and we wanted to bring something different to what most of the other places would be doing.”
Chef’s Kitchen’s Red Rock Burger
We’ll be turning up on an empty stomach to sample this one from food truck Chef’s Kitchen. It packs beef chilli, a beef patty, jack cheese and onion rings on a bright-red smoked bun. And we really mean bright red. This one’s as good for Instagram as it is for your face.
Hardstyle Kitchen’s Burnt Ends Burger
This one, also from a food truck, is made using 14-hour-smoked brisket ends and a Wagyu brisket patty. And it’s is a beast. It's got double meat, so either share with a friend or be prepared to hit the BCU after devouring this one.
Soul Burger’s Vegan Steven
For those not partial to meat, Soul Burger is combining its vegan beast patty with vegan cheese for its Vegan Steven.
Burgapalooza 2018 is at Prince Alfred Square Park, Parramatta, on September 22 and 23.
Has all this talk of burgers made you feel like a burger? Read Broadsheet's guide to Sydney's best.