Judging the Burgies: 22 Burgers in Two Hours (Photos)

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,

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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

on going.

Stakes were high. This was more than a burger-judging

competition; this was a Kilimanjaro climb, a marathon. This was a test

of endurance.

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

Best Food Truck: Ms. Cheezious

Best Food Truck Burger - People's Choice: Latin House Grill

Best Food Truck Burger: gastroPod

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