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posted: 6/4/2014 5:30 AM

From the Food Editor: Gearing up for the great burger battle

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  • "Weber's Big Book of Burgers" by Jamie Purviance

      "Weber's Big Book of Burgers" by Jamie Purviance

  • "Man Bites Dog" by Bruce Kraig and Patty Carroll

      "Man Bites Dog" by Bruce Kraig and Patty Carroll

  • Video: Cooking with Fire

 
 

Weber Grills and Harley-Davidson have teamed up for a burger competition like no other -- three finalists will compete at the infamous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Aug. 3.

The Palatine-based grill company challenges anyone, age 18 or older, to submit a recipe, along with a photo of the plated creation, at weber.com/contests/big-burger-battle through June 23. Three finalists will be hand-picked by Jamie Purviance, a nationally recognized grilling expert and author of "Weber's Big Book of Burgers."

The winner will be named Big Burger Battle Champion and receive a trophy, along with more than $5,000 in prizes, including a Weber Summit S-670 gas grill, grilling accessories, "Weber's Big Book of Burgers" and a $500 Harley-Davidson gift card. The three finalists will receive all-expense-paid trips to the 74th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to compete in the Big Burger Battle.

Even if you're not part of the competition, it's probably worth a trip -- via hog, sedan or minivan -- to South Dakota for the festivities. Weber's new Mobile Grill Academy will be there to allow consumers a look at Weber's grills and accessories. And, Weber will host three hands-on grilling classes for Harley Owners Group members on Aug. 6.

Stirring up some fun: Gurnee Mills invites young foodies and their parents for a day of culinary exploration with its Kidgits Club Super Duper Lil Chefs program.

Beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday, June 5, in the center's wing in front of Macy's, kids ages 3 to 8 can partake in a number of hands-on activities to learn about cooking and have fun with food, including cooking demos with the chef at Rainforest Cafe and etiquette lessons.

Also as part of Lil Chefs events, kids are encouraged to help those in need by bringing a nonperishable food item to Gurnee Mills to be donated to Warren Township Food Pantry.

Fire it up: Outdoor cooking has come a long way since cave dwellers roasted critters over this new thing they called fire. In her new book "Cooking with Fire," food historian Paula Marcoux puts outdoor cooking in a historical context and shares authentic recipes from a wide variety of cultures and eras. She teaches readers how to manipulate fire whether they're cooking lobsters in a hole in the sand, flatbread on the wall of a flaming tannur or mixed peppers in a self-constructed clay/mud oven.

Marcoux will be in town Saturday for a talk with the Culinary Historians of Chicago. From 10 a.m. to noon she'll discuss her adventures digging among the documents and physical remains of past cookery, as well as her exploits with antiquarian cooking gear and recipes. She'll offer practical advice about upping your own wood-fired delicacies, whether you'd like to master a spit-roasted pork loin or a crusty naturally leavened loaf of bread.

Copies of Marcoux's book will be on sale, with profits used to fund the Culinary Historians of Chicago. The program costs $5, $3 for students, and will be held at Kendall College, 900 N. North Branch St., Chicago.

To reserve, email your name and the number in your group to Culinary.Historians@gmail.com.

Hot dog history: Join food historian Bruce Kraig as he takes a look at hot dog culture in America at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at Kreger's in Naperville.

In his book "Man Bites Dog," Kraig explores the transformation of hot dogs from unassuming street fare to paradigms of regional expression, social mobility and democracy. The event begins with a wine and beer reception and will be followed by lunch (yes, encased meat is on the menu) and a talk.

Kreger's is at 6th Street and Ellsworth Avenue, one block north of the train station. Books will be available for purchase and signing. The program costs $29. Reserve at chicagourmets.org.

Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at dpankey@dailyherald.com or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at Facebook.com/DebPankey.Daily Herald or follow her on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram @PankeysPlate.

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