On tonight’s Cooking Channel episode of “Best in Chow,” adorable host Cris Nannarone went to Banff, in Alberta, Canada to find the best burger from those who would eat them every day. Cris, a comedian and veteran road warrior, took his love for food and people on this search and gave them the opportunity to judge the best burger in Banff. Banff is a beautiful town situated in the Canadian Rockies, with a spectacular view and the first town to incorporate within a Canadian national park.
With thousands of tourists in Banff, it was difficult for Cris to find a local who could give him a good recommendation. Finally, some locals showed up, and they gave him their best places. First was Banff Avenue Brewing Company, next he heard Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon and then SaltLik as the three most repeated places. So he decided to check them out.
One guy wearing a beaver jacket and kind of looking like a beaver too, he had nothing to add for burgers, but gave Cris info on where to get nice teeth. He would have paid $25,000 for them in Banff, but in Mexico, he only paid $4,300!! Now go chew some burgers with those new choppers!
Cris heard so much about the Elk Burger at Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon, that he had to make it his first stop. Here he met 24-year-old head chef, Garrett Laffan, who sports lots of tattoos and gets his elk from North Edmonton, not the ones that roam the streets there. Because elk has very little fat, he adds bacon fat to his burgers to ensure juiciness. When Cris told Garrett that he liked his steaks well done with catsup, he was nearly banished from the kitchen. Cris and Garrett chowed down on the Elk Burger, and both loved each ingredient. The chipotle lime aioli, roasted red peppers, the seasoned elk, smoked gouda cheese, lettuce, pickle and the spiced onion Kaiser roll are sure to be a winner.
Next, Cris visited the SaltLik that calls itself a rare steakhouse. Head chef Jennifer Ruszczack calls their best burger, the Royale with Cheese, is that from the movie “Pulp Fiction?“ Jennifer uses half Wagyu beef, and the other half is Angus. They use two different sauces; a sambal aioli on the top made from chili peppers and steak blast on the bottom of the bun made from ketchup, Dijon, sour cream, Worcestershire, peppers, honey and hot sauce. SaltLik imports Wagyu cattle from Japan and raises them in Montana. As Cris and Jennifer ate their burgers, they were enjoying the fruits of their labor. Starting with a sourdough Kaiser roll, Wagyu/Angus chunk beef, aged white cheddar, bacon, butter leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion, polski ogorki pickle and two sauces, Jennifer believes there is no competition for this burger.
At the Banff Avenue Brewing Company, Cris met with head chef, David Husereau, who loves his job. He started to make their “Drive-in Classic Burger” using Alberta beef cooked on a flat top which will give the best caramelized burger. The ingredients were; the secret bun, pickle, Dijon mustard, Alberta ground chuck, aged cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onion.
Now Cris had to find the judges. As he lined up Banff locals, he took them on their way to visit each burger entrant. From the looks of it, the competition was going to be tough. As each chef was prepared to walk away with the trophy, the announcement was made.
“Best in Chow” burger war in Banff was the Royale with Cheese from SaltLik. Congratulations, Jennifer, now display that burger banner and trophy proudly!
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