Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Memphis Nosh: Best Memphis Burger Festival 2013

Last Saturday (yeah I'm a little behind - it's been a hell of a couple of weeks, y'all), I was a judge at the 2nd Best Memphis Burger Festival

I'm really good at eating. 

And judging. 

I think I've found my new calling in life. 

*I felt really official. It was awesome. 

Best Memphis Burger Fest (BMBF) was started by Seth Agranov, who writes the awesome burger-centric blog, Best Memphis Burger

He put out a call for judges on twitter, with the only requirements being that I got there at a certain time and no one showed up drunk. 

I can usually manage that. 

I judged the "Anything But Beef" category, which basically meant the burgers I had could be anything but traditional beef burgers. 

BMBF is set up at Minglewood Hall in the parking lot, and it smelled basically like heaven when I walked in, with a band and food trucks rounding out the scene. 

*Minglewood is such a great venue, and I had a few minutes before my judging started to walk around and scope out the scene. 

*I couldn't have eaten anything else if I had wanted to, but the food trucks were a great touch. 

*There were a ton of burgers and some stands selling things. 

*The Pirates of the Grillabean. Great food, best tent. 

*Creepy watching people get their competition burgers ready. 

My roommate gave me this advice. Epic. 

*He's full of sage wisdom. 

*The trophies!

*This girl was absolutely ready to eat some burgers. 

*So basically I sat at this table and had plates, napkins (absolutely needed those), a score sheet, a glass of water, a pen, and 4 burgers to try. The guys next to me had different ones, so it was interesting to compare. 

*Um...yes. I have no idea what this was - maybe pork - but it was good. 

*This one was my favorite. It was elk or bison maybe, and had to have some pork mixed in, with a really interesting sauce. So good. 

After I finished judging, my roommate and another friend came to walk around and eat with me. Basically what you do is pay $5 at the door (optional donation - but...yeah, don't be dicks people. It's for pets.) and then pay $1 per sample at each individual booth. I'm not sure that this is the best way to do it, since, as my roommate pointed out, it kind of seems like we're paying them rather than donating, and it is a lot of ones to carry around and juggling all the things we ended up having was kind of a struggle, but it's for a great cause (Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services) and this does seem the most logical way.

It's only the second year, so some kinks are still getting worked out, but everyone had a great time.

*The Amurica booth was there!

*And the Redbirds mascot!

*I looked longingly at one of my favorite food trucks, but just couldn't eat any more after judging and walking around eating. 

*This is actually the best burger I had all day. I (of course) couldn't tell you who it was by, but it was perfectly medium, with pickles and this spicy aioli that was amazing. So good. 

*So proud of all the sponsors for stepping up to support a good cause. Local support makes all the difference. 

*The Pirates of the Grillabean setup. Love it. 

*There was also a best bloody mary competition. I didn't judge that one, and I don't love bloody marys, but wow this looked good. It was HUGE.

*There were also dessert stands, like #Pound Cakes. So this one was cinnamon pecan and it was AMAZING. The best pound cake I've ever had, and super nice people. 

*Some of the teams had great signs. 

*And there were a ton of people there.

*And a Bassett Hound dressed as a hamburger!!!

*I mean. 

*Nice sign. I like it. 

*The Luvmud people were there for the crazies among us. (I go to the gym....but yeah...)

*No but really - there were a ton of people there. And only a Pepsi truck. Where, oh where, was the Coke truck? 

*That's basically how I feel about it. 

The Kooky Canuck people were there too. Here's their giant competition burger:

*I saw somebody attempt the Kookamonga once, which is one of those layers with the buns. It was terrifying. 

*They also had a s'mores setup. Our friend Danielle told me that if you get s'mores at Kooky's they bring you a little flame and marshmallows and all the fixings and you make it. While this absolutely goes against my "I'm paying for it why should I make it" rule (Looking at you, Wendy's and your blend in frostees) I definitely think it's a cool idea. 

We walked over to look at the extreme burgers. 

Which were really extreme. 

*Apparently this is Candy Crush themed. I don't really know what that is, but it looked cool. 

*I would eat the hell out of this giant breakfast burger.

*Well that's terrifying. In a good way. 

And when we made a final loop, I noticed this:

*Huey's? Where are you? I'm sure they were there, but I think my number one suggestion for next year is better signage. Some of the teams brought signs, or were part of a larger organization, like Claybrook Farms, but it was really hard to tell who was who - which cuts down on their business and makes it kind of haphazard. Even just a paper sign would have been nice in a few places. 

*Yeah, still not a bloody mary fan, but I'm in with this. It's like a meal in a mason jar!

*Parking got a little crazy. 

*But it was such a good time, and a great turnout. 

I had such an amazing time judging at BMBF. I think I got a little too much sun - it wasn't really hot but it was super sunny - so I left a little earlier than I had intended and took a nap, but seriously it's for a great cause and pretty cheap, plus who doesn't love gorging on burgers and beer? 

That can't just be me, right? 




  1. Hey Amber. For the record, we were there with Seth and the gang! We had some issues finding our spot, but we were there to judge, hang out, and support MidSouth Spay and Neuter Services! - Shannon Little, Huey's Restaurants

    1. I figured y'all were! I'm just sad when I don't immediately have a burger in my hand after seeing the word Huey's! :)

  2. FUN! I definitely need to do this next year!

    1. It was really cool, and for a great cause too!