It was a sultry evening redolent with the scent of ocean breezes and grilled meat when the nine contestants in New Times' Burgerfest Burger Throwdown took their places onstage.
The challenge: Eat as many burgers as they could in ten minutes.
As the countdown began, one contestant proved to be in it for the $500 cash prize. Nathan Figueroa, accompanied by Reese's, his adorable emotional support dog, got busy.
In the end, Figueroa bested his fellow burger eaters by devouring nine full-size hamburgers.
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After being announced the victor, Figueroa hugged Reese's, who was napping in a pet tote during the competition. Asked by Burger Throwdown MC Don Farrell how he felt, Figueroa simply said he felt great. He then said this wasn't his first brush with competitive eating. "I've done a hot-dog-eating contest, a burger-eating contest, and a doughnut-eating contest." The 32-year old added this competition was the most challenging.
Figueroa wasn't the only winner of the evening. The Miami-based restaurant chain Pincho's burgers won the coveted people's choice award for its Naughty Burger. The restaurant, formerly known as Pincho Factory, created an all-natural beef patty topped with manchego cheese, watercress, chipotle aioli, and maduro bacon jam and served on a buttery toasted brioche bun.
If you loved Burgerfest, be sure to get your tickets to New Times' Iron Fork, presented by Wild Fork Foods. The event will take place place Thursday, October 3, at the James L. Knight Center and Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami and offer bites from Miami's best restaurants, music, fun, and the evening's headlining Iron Fork cooking competition. This year, Cesar Zapata (Phuc Yea) and Aaron Arditti (The Brick: American Kitchen and Bar) will go head-to-head in Miami's ultimate culinary showdown.
New Times' Iron Fork Presented by Wild Fork Foods. 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, October 3, at James L. Knight Center and Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 SE Second Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $40 to $80 via newtimesironfork.com.