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

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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!

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All photos by Laine Doss
The Scorecard
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.

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Out of many...this classic burger stood out.
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 unexpected.

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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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Burger and Beer Joint: People's favorite and judge's favorite.
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Burger Beast, Sef Gonzalez, and Sugar Yummy Mama's Giselle Pinto at the Burgies
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Location Info


Magic City Casino

450 NW 37th Ave., Miami, FL

Category: General

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954 Burger Boi
954 Burger Boi

Great read Laine! Was I the one who was about to drop?


it was a great event - so much fun!!


wish we would have been able to see all the festivites!


No that was me but I finished... the last three was a real struggle.  I enjoyed the first too and ate them both for comparison.  Those turned out to be Burger & Beer and Charm City. That first food truck burger was awful and put me in a bad place. They all ended up on the Magic City lawn... Good time though. 

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

Nope!  Not you! You kept on going!


Your mom never made Lipton Onion Soup burgers!Love,Mom

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

Wow! You outted yourself as the human yakmaster. I wasn't going to spill the beans...or the burgers, so to speak.  What happens at Magic City casino, stays at Magic City Casino...apparently on the lawn.

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

You did, Mom. And they were horrible. Now my grandmother made one awesome burger. 

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