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The Grind: Smoking Out Fine Burgers

If you were at The Grind burger battle last night and didn't shower before hitting the sack, you know you smell like shit this morning.

The South Florida burger competition drew hundreds of guests to the Miami Entertainment Complex in Wynwood last night. Guests milled around the crowded and, uh, smoky hall, munching on burgers, drinking beer and Jupiña, and trying not to break down in tears from all the smoke. Shake Shack's Shack Burger won, but in all fairness, the other competitors put up a hard fight with killer recipes.

The event made one big mistake (and was even forced to shut down at 9p.m.), but aside from that, it wasn't so bad.


You know how every time you see a grill, it's outside? There's a reason for that.

Thirty local restaurants (including the winning recipes of our Backyard Burger contest) withstood the unbearable smoke from their own grills, while guests went through countless napkins wiping the tears from their faces. The burning, my-eyes-feel-like-they're-on-fire sensation wasn't a plus, and it most definitely made everyone wonder, "Whose idea was it to have a burger grilling competition indoors?" Valid question, my friends.

Perhaps the open windows on all sides prompted the decision that 30 grills would be totally cool in an enclosed space (they didn't help one bit, by the way). The air conditioners were broken and when we'd arrived, someone was on stage announcing that the AC people were on their way to figure out what the problem was. It was hot as hell, and it stayed hot as hell until we left, two and a half hours later.

Which brings us to our more positive points: Despite the big huge mistake of being indoors, and despite the AC not working, everyone looked like they were having a great time.

A little smoke and heat didn't stop anyone from trying the burgers (bacon, and pickles), staying hydrated with all the Blue Moon and water you could enjoy, dancing to the music (which we thought was fantastic, by the way), and simply having fun. People were dancing, people were eating, people were drinking -- and sure, the fire marshal came and ordered the grills to stop. But hey, it was fun.

The Grind's event curators will most definitely have to deal with the repercussions of angry attendees who haven't already blasted them on Twitter and Facebook, but look at it this way: save a small percent of naysayers, the majority made the best of it under the circumstances and will be talking about it forever, given that it was the first. A year from now, those who aren't laughing already will be laughing and thinking to themselves, "Man, what an experience that was!"

And whether it comes back or not, everyone who went will always remember the Grind.

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Alex Rodriguez