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.

Just Posted

U.S. government recommends largest development option for ANWR

The final environmental impact statement was released on Sept. 12

Yukon releases its FASD Action Plan

Seven priorites, 31 actions outlined

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

18 people evacuated from Ethel Lake as nearby wildfire grows

The North Crooked Creek fire, burning south of Stewart Crossing, has grown to 24,842 hectares

Crown rests case in Ibex Valley murder trial

Edward James Penner, 22, is accused of killing Adam Cormack in 2017

City council news, briefly

Some of the decisions made by Whitehorse city council Sept. 9

For the first time, women outnumber men at the Annual Klondike Road Relay

The field of 1,877 runners included 1,141 women, a first for the event

History Hunter: There was more than gold in them thar hills

With placer production and the general population of the Yukon both declining… Continue reading

Yukonomist: How the Yukon saved the economy

During the Klondike gold rush, the prospect of free gold drew more… Continue reading

Just Doo-Doo Its sit on the throne after winning the Great Klondike International Outhouse Race

“Running with an outhouse can be a little sketchy at times”

Yukon mountain bikers compete at Quebec championships

“In the end, it’s the race that matters”

Commentary: Choose people over paperwork

Frank Turner The following is an open letter to Stephen Samis, deputy… Continue reading

Most Read