When Burger Beast Sef Gonzalez asked me to be a judge at the third annual Burgie Awards, I said sure. I've judged a few competitions. They're usually fun, you get a badge, and you meet some new people. When you're asked to oversee a burger competition, you naturally assume you'll be tasting burgers. What I didn't realize was how many.
Twenty-two burgers. Reading the email from Gonzalez was a little surreal. "You will be sampling 22 burgers for 2 different categories. Your votes will help decide the Best Burger 2011 and Best Food Truck Burger 2011. You will receive a burger to sample every 5 minutes so prepare yourselves and if you've got stretchy pants it might be the right time to wear them, just kidding." Awesome!
At the Burgies, the rules were simple. A team of seven judges, including bloggers 954 Burger Boi,
Steve of Blind Tastes,
and the Chowfather,
would get a burger about every five minutes, as promised. We obviously
wouldn't know which burger came from which restaurant/food truck. Each
meat sandwich would be rated on a scale from 1 to 7.
The first burger arrived. It was a classic bacon cheeseburger. Nicely
charred and large. The strategy to stay in the game: pacing and taking
only a few bites. A few minutes later came the second, and then the
third. Some burgers were good, some OK, and a few were heinous (that's when
the anonymity of the burger was really appreciated).
The burgers kept coming. One had too much barbecue sauce. A pork
creation tasted of Asian influences. Another reminded me of the Lipton onion soup burgers that Mom thought were so creative. One restaurant
shocked us all with a seafood burger. Not that it was bad -- just
Twelve burgers, fifteen burgers -- most of the judges were troopers.
One judge looked like he was about to drop. Another was sweating. I got a meat
headache. At burger 17, I saw little brown spots before my eyes. We kept
Stakes were high. This was more than a burger-judging
competition; this was a Kilimanjaro climb, a marathon. This was a test
The last burger was received with a round of applause. Providing we got
through a few bites, we had made it. Bite, chew, done.
It was a long
evening. After the ballots were tallied and the awards were announced,
it was good to see the winners so happy. As for me, I'll stick to a normal one-burger-per-sitting rule -- at least until next year.
Here's the full list of winners:
Best Burger - People's Choice: Burger & Beer Joint
Best Burger: Burger & Beer Joint
Best Specialty Burger: The Foreman - Pincho Factory
Best Non-Traditional Burger: Bulgogi Burger - Sakaya Kitchen
Best Hot Dog: Dogma Grill
Best Fries: Charm City Burger Company
Best Mac n' Cheese: Prime 112
Best Frita: El Rey De Las Fritas
Best Croqueta: Islas Canarias
Best Pincho: Daddy's Grill
Best Pizza Joint: Andiamo's
Best Sandwich: Blue & Bacon Grilled Cheese - Ms. Cheezious
Best BBQ Joint: Bulldog BBQ
Best Dessert: Sweetness Bakeshop & Cafe
Best Onion Rings: Burger & Beer Joint
Best Bistec ala Milanesa: Luis Galindo's Latin American
Best Pasteles: Karla Bakery
Best Taco: El Jefe Luchador
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Best Food Truck: Ms. Cheezious
Best Food Truck Burger - People's Choice: Latin House Grill
Best Food Truck Burger: gastroPod