Dona Novecosky of Klondike Rib and Salmon with their Midnight Sun-of-a-Gun burger entry and a shot of Goldschläger (one of the side options) in Whitehorse on Aug. 13. Klondike Rib and Salmon has won the contest the last two years in a row. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Challengers set sights on the Yukon’s burger baroness

‘Do I feel like a target? Oh yeah. I love it’

Dona Novecosky has a metaphorical target on her back and it’s shaped like a hamburger.

Novecosky runs Klondike Rib and Salmon. The downtown restaurant is going for a three-peat in this year’s Yukon Burger Challenge.

But the territory’s other burger-makers are looking to unseat her. In some cases they’ve come armed with house-cured bacon or deep fried jalapeños.

For the month of August nine different Yukon restaurants have made their own speciality burgers to compete in the challenge. Depending on where you look, those whose stomachs and arteries are prepared can feast on tuna sliders at The Deck, a burger with crunchy fried onions at Trails North or a more classic option with mushrooms, bacon and smoked cheddar at the 1016 Pub in Haines Junction.

Rib and Salmon’s entry this year, the Midnight Sun-of-a-Gun, is likely going to be most recognizable for its sides.

“You’ve got three golden options. You’ve got (either) an ounce of Goldschläger, or you get six ounces of golden fries or you get 12 ounces of Yukon Gold,” Novecosky said.

The wild game patty itself is dressed with a barbecue sauce made with Yukon Brewing’s Midnight Sun Espresso stout, a slice of deep fried sweet potato and fresh dill.

And don’t forget the bacon.

In fact much of this year’s focus appears to be on bacon.

The Baja burger at the Cutoff Restaurant on the Alaska Highway reportedly candied its bacon in tequila before adorning its burger.

The Smoke Show burger at Whiskey Jacks comes with heaps of bacon of its own and smoked gouda.

The Gold Pan Saloon advertises its own house-made cured and smoked bacon from Can Do Farm in Ibex Valley on its Grand Torino burger along with other locally-sourced ingredients.

But it’s not the only restaurant with house-cured bacon this year.

At the downtown Westmark’s Steele Street Restaurant, sous chef Joseph Mohan has prepared more than 20 kilograms — roughly the weight of an average four-year-old — of house cured and smoked bacon to go on his HAMburger.

“When I think burger, I think bacon. So I don’t think I was excited so much to make the burger as the bacon,” he said.

Mohan estimates it took about two weeks to cure and prepare the bacon. It was made using a dry cure and honey inside a vacuum-sealed bag that he had to flip every day to make sure the bacon was coated evenly. He also smoked the bacon in-house.

“It was like the hardest thing in my life because everyday I wanted to cook it and eat it.”

The patty itself is also pork with cranberries, cinnamon and sage.

The restaurant priced the burger at only $10, the cheapest in the competition, Mohan said.

“I figured the only way we could beat the Klondike Rib and Salmon is if we sell a lot,” he said.

Also in on the competition is the Maple J burger at Earls. There, sous chef Jordan Worth decided to top his beef burger with maple caramelized bacon and onions sautéed with maple syrup. To balance out the sweetness he also deep-fried some jalapeños.

“It’s definitely something different. Here we are a franchise so we don’t get to play with the menu. So this, this is our only opportunity to add something of our own creation and something for people to try.”

The restaurant has competed in all three of the burger challenges and Worth said he considers this burger its biggest success to date.

“People are really enjoying it which is already a win in my books”

Diners can vote for their favourite burger and a winner will be announced after the month is over.

While everyone involved insists it’s friendly competition, that doesn’t mean restaurants aren’t out to win.

Novecosky acknowledges that there’s an expectation because her restaurant has won both past years

“And, do I feel like a target? Oh yeah. I love it.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

CORRECTION: This story originally listed an incorrect location for the Cutoff Restaurant. It’s located on the Alaska Highway at the Carcross cutoff.

burgers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sport Yukon held its 45th annual Member Awards on Dec. 3, recognizing the achievements of nearly 80 athletes, coaches, volunteers and administrators from 16 different organizations. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Sport Yukon hands out the hardware, virtually

Awards ceremony recognizes athletes, coaches, volunteers and administrators

Commissioner of Yukon Anglique Bernard, in her role as Chancellor of the Order of Yukon, announced the 2020 Order of the Yukon inductees in a statement Dec. 2. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Order of Yukon inductees announced

Ten Yukoners will receive territory’s highest honour

The primary goal of the new relief package for tourism operators is to support the tourism sector, whether they’re private industry or not-for-profit organizations, said Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Relief program offers funds for businesses that rely on tourists for more than half their revenue

Two new streams of funding, in addition to the accommodation relief program, were announced

Kimberly Armstrong, creator of Glimmer of Hope, poses for a photo with examples of toys for packages she is putting together. The care packages are for children who have suffered abuse, trauma, illness or sudden loss. (Kimberly Armstrong/Submitted)
Kids experiencing trauma will receive gifts from new charity

A Whitehorse woman is compiling care packages for children who have suffered… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: Climate emergency, lite edition

Back in September 2019, Whitehorse City Council declared a climate emergency, to… Continue reading

In 1909, Joseph Kavetzki took over Brown’s Harness Shop, depicted here, reconstructed, 90 years later. Third Avenue in Dawson, south of Princess Street, was the heart of the blue collar industrial section of gold rush Dawson. (Michael Gates/Yukon News)
History Hunter: The Yukon is rich in hidden history

I had worked for a few months in my new position as… Continue reading

A sign outside the Yukon Inn Convention Centre indicates Yukoners can get a flu vaccine inside. As of Dec. 4, the vaccinations won’t be available at the convention centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse Convention Centre ends flu vaccination service early

Flu vaccinations won’t be available at the Whitehorse Convention Centre after Dec.… Continue reading

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Kindness, shingles and speed limits

Letters to the editor published Dec. 4, 2020

ASDF
COMMENTARY: Land use planning must include industry

Carl Schulze Special to the News This commentary is a response to… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Nominations continue to be open for Northern Tutchone members of the White River First Nation to run for councillors in the 2021 election. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News File)
White River First Nation to elect new chief and council

Nominations continue to be open for Northern Tutchone members of the White… Continue reading

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new councillor in a byelection held Dec. 3. (Wikimedia Commons)
Watson Lake elects new councillor

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new… Continue reading

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Most Read