'Think of this like a giant meatloaf': 100-lb. Yarmouth burger to benefit food pantry

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YARMOUTH — The owners of Dirigo Public House aren’t trying to break records.

They’re just trying to help less fortunate people, and have fun while doing it.

Owners Ben and Katie Grant will be celebrating the restaurant’s first anniversary July 31 by cooking and building a 100-pound cheeseburger at Dirigo, located at 305 U.S. Route 1. Portions of ticket sales for the event will go to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

“It’s going to be a little bit weird,” Ben Grant said.

The giant burger will be 16 inches tall and 4 feet in diameter. The top and bottom buns will weigh a total of 20 pounds, the beef patty will weigh 70 pounds and the cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and Dirigo sauce will weigh 10-20 pounds total.

At just over 100 pounds, the burger won’t even come close to breaking the world record, which was set in 2012 by a Minnesota-based establishment with a 2,014-pound burger.

The Grants don’t care about making the biggest burger, though.

“We want to replicate a regular burger’s appearance and taste,” Katie Grant said. “The goal is to have fun and see if we can make this thing.”

The husband-and-wife team thought of the idea a few weeks ago after partnering with Maine Beer Co. for Dirigo’s featured brewery of the month. The Freeport-based brewery donates to several environmental and agricultural organizations, and Ben said he wanted Dirigo to do something similar.

“For us to give back, it made the most sense to give back to people who may not be able to go to restaurants or have meals made for them,” he said.

Tickets, which are $15, can be bought online at dirigopublichouse.com. Anyone who donates a bag of canned goods will receive a $5 voucher to use at Dirigo.

In addition to admission to the burger-building event, the price of the ticket also includes a portion of the burger and $1 off a drink.

Because the burger will be so “obscene,” Ben Grant said, he knew the event had to be charitable.

“We couldn’t do something like this without giving back,” he said.

This is also why the Grants don’t plan to practice making a burger before the event. 

“You can’t do a test run because you can’t throw away a 100-pound cheeseburger,” Ben Grant said.

Not testing comes with risks, but the Grants said that makes them more excited. They said the uncertainty of the outcome will make the event more suspenseful and fun.

“We’re kind of throwing caution to the wind,” Ben Grant said. “If we fail, we’ll fail epically in front of a bunch of people. But that’s OK. Go big or go home.”

Katie Grant agreed.

“We’ll see what happens,” she said. “I’m excited either way.”

The oven at Dirigo will just barely contain the burger, and the Grants already own a pan large enough to cook it in. They will cook the buns in the morning for an hour each and then put the meat in at noon; the event starts at 5 p.m.

“You have to think of this like a giant meatloaf,” Ben Grant said. “That’s kind of the process to cook it.”

Dirigo staff will lay a grill rack in the bottom of the pan before putting the burger in and attach hooks to the rack so the burger can easily be lifted out of the pan when it’s done.

When cut up and distributed to guests, each person will receive a 10-ounce burger, which is 3 ounces more than most burgers.

“It’ll be the biggest regular size burger anyone’s ever had,” Ben Grant said.

The hope, the Grants said, is that the guests on July 31 will eat the whole burger.

“We’re pushing to make sure all of it is consumed (the) day of,” Ben Grant said. “… It means more tickets were sold with more money going back to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, and it also means we won’t be wasting food.”

Although a lot of planning is going into the creation of the burger, the Grants said as long as people have fun and money is raised for the food bank, mishaps won’t matter.

“We are not engineers,” Ben Grant said. “We’re just people who like to make amazing burgers, both in the normal size and the ridiculous size.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Ben and Katie Grant, owners of Dirigo Public House at 305 U.S. Route 1 in Yarmouth, will be using a large pan to cook a 100-pound cheeseburger on July 31. A portion of ticket sales will go to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.