Fat Jack's BBQ came up big Sunday at the third annual Burger Brawl, a fundraiser for Philadelphia schools that gathered two dozen burger-makers and about 900 people outside of the Fleisher Art Memorial in South Philadelphia.
Rob Wasserman, who founded Burger Brawl with his wife, Maggie, said it raised nearly $80,000.
Fat Jack's, located in Northeast Philadelphia and Jenkintown, won the hearts and arteries of the 16-judge panel with its burger, which was topped with a veritable sampler of the menu - mild BBQ sauce, cheddar jack cheese, 18-hour hickory-smoked Texas beef brisket, Carolina pulled pork, sauteed onions, Kentucky slaw, and Memphis dry rub. Oh, and a dill pickle on top. The burger's description also was the top vote-getter last week in a Philly.com poll. Owner Glenn Gross sells the burger for $8.99.
The crowd favorite was the PB & Bacon Burger from Chris Barnes and crew at Lucky's Last Chance in Manayunk,a patty with creamy peanut butter, thick-cut bacon and homemade jelly on the side ($8 junior, $9.50 standard). Onlookers described it as a glorious meeting of sweet and salty.
These plebian burgers outpolled "cheffy" burgers from some of Philly's top restaurants, who had touted their use of Pat La Frieda beef blends, foie gras and locally sourced ingredients.
Not that these elegantly designed didn't have their charms, including Capital Grille's Wagyu Slider (wagyu beef, blue cheese, salt and pepper, applewood smoke bacon, and Vidalia onion, as well as Davio's, topped with Prima Donna cheese, crispy onion rings, pickles and steak sauce.
Marc Summers emceed. Judges included Steve Morrison of WMMR's Preston & Steve, Matt Cord of WMMR, Fox29's Kacie McDonnell, 97.5 The Fanatic's Tony Bruno, Zagat's Danya Henninger, Grubstreet's Collin Keefe, sandwich man/actor Tony Luke Jr., and Jeff Linder, an IT professional from South Jersey who won his seat at the table with a $320 bid on eBay.