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The Dos And Don’ts of Competing in Westchester’s Burger & Beer Blast

Photo by Sabrina Sucato

Westchester County’s leading chefs, restaurateurs, and beverage specialists give us their tips for making our Burger & Beer Blast their own.

By Dave Zucker & Julia Paino

We’re so close to our grandest, most fun-filled event of the year: Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival. With that comes our long-awaited, always exhilarating, beef-centric cook-off known as the Burger & Beer Blast.

Have you ever considered what goes into a great burger? We have. Operating under the assumption that knowledge is power (at least at the grill, anyway), we stole a moment with our Burger & Beer Blast competitors to find out what makes a terrific burger, the secrets to a timely completion, and what to avoid when slinging sliders for a boatload of eager and hungry customers.

Here we present to you some of the best advice we received: the official dos and don’ts of Burger & Beer Blast!

Burger & Beer Blast Dos:

Double glove. This one actually blew our minds, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. “Wear double-gloves and flip ‘em with your hands. Watch!” It’s definitely speedier (and more adventurous) than a spatula. Definite ‘Don’t try this at home’ territory. — 3 Westerly

Be economical. “Pack the most amount of flavor into the least amount of ingredients. If not, you’re wasting time.” — The Wooden Spoon

Love what you do. “Quality in the products, quality in the execution, love in the process.” — AJ’s Burgers

Keep it simple. “Fresh ground meat, seasoned lightly, and let the toppings do the talking.” — NY Firehouse Grille

Focus on the blend.” — Westchester Burger

Use high quality meat.” — The Bit

Season! “A good burger is properly salted and peppered.” — North End Tavern

Find the right grill. “A flat top grill keeps the juices in and allows for a nice sear on the outside. It is also easier to control the temperature.” — Prime 16

Seared on the outside to retain the natural juice.” — North End Tavern

Burger & Beer Blast Don’ts:

Go too crazy.” Remember, simpler really is better, and allows you to taste the meat and individual ingredients. — Smokehouse Tailgate Grill

Forget the napkins!” — Coals

Disturb it. “Just let it cook. Don’t pound it, don’t smash it, don’t squeeze the juices out of the burger. Let it sit and cook. Only flip it once.” — Westchester Burger

Use a machine. “Hand pack the burgers to keep them juicy.” — The Bit

Check out all the competitors and their burger innovations on Thursday, September 23, at Wine & Food Fest’s Burger & Beer Blast, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Kensico Dam in Valhalla. Tickets and more information for all our Wine & Food Fest events can be found here.



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