Three local fire departments compete in 16 Morning News Now Firefighter Grill-Off

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:46 AM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - In honor of National Grilling Month, 16 Morning News Now hosted a grilling competition with three local fire departments.

South bend, Penn Township and Clay Fire Departments all competed on the grill. The goal? To make the best burger.

The three judges of the contest were Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone of Clay, Assistant Fire Chief Gerard Ellis of South Bend and Battalion Chief Buddy Kirsits of Penn Township.

In a two-to-one vote, Captain Joe Talbot from Clay Fire Territory was crowned champion with his Stuffed Bacon Jam Burger.

“It’s good to win,” Capt. Talbot said. “It’s pretty stiff competition today but it’s nice to come out on top.”

Below are the recipes from each fire department:

Stuffed Bacon Jam Burger (Capt. Joe Talbot – Clay Fire Territory):

50 / 50 blend of ground chuck and ribeye ( 5 pounds total)

5 eggs

1/4 c Worcestershire sauce

2 large palms full of " Talbots” Special Seasoning

Bacon Jam:

2 lbs. Bacon

6 Onions

1 T Butter

1/4c Brown sugar

1 T Thyme

1T Cayenne pepper

3T Balsamic vinegar

1/2 c Water


Slice bacon into 1/4″ strips until extra crispy, remove and drain

remove bacon grease and add butter and unions, cook until caramelized

Dice up bacon and add the rest of the ingredients cook until reduced to thick jam consistency

Herb butter:

2 sticks of butter softened

1t rosemary

1t thyme

1t garlic powder

1t onion powder

2t parsley

Big Willy Burger (Capt. Mike Willamowski - South Bend Fire Department):

1 lb 80/20 Ground Beef

1 small onion, pureed

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne

mix ingredients and divide into thirds.

Grill to desired wellness.

Finish on grilled garlic loaf sliced for use as the bun.

Top with:

4 half slices of thick cut hickory smoked bacon

Smoked Gouda

Garlic Aioli

Shredded Lettuce

Sliced Tomato

Fresh Dill Pickle Slices

Goody’s Steakhouse Burger (Brenden Goodman - Penn Township Fire Department):

Pretzel Bun

Ground beef 1lb

6 strips of bacon (cooked crispy to chop)

A1 steak sauce

Black Garlic powder

Swiss cheese

Cheddar cheese


BBQ sauce

Dried onion crisps

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