Eating contests, competitive cook-offs, corn hole for the kids and lots of America's favorite food highlight the Best Memphis Burger Fest Sunday at Minglewood Hall.
At the inaugural Best Memphis Burger Fest last year, a cooking team called “I Like Big Burgers and I Can Not Lie” won top honors with a hand-ground beef patty topped with cheddar cheese, garlic aioli mayonnaise, sliced avocado and fried egg.
That combination, crafted by the team from Shoemaker Financial, now has a permanent home on the burger menu at Kooky Canuck’s downtown.
Big things happen for great food, right?
Expect similar culinary finesse Sunday, when 30 cooking teams will compete in four categories: best Memphis burger, best veggie burger, best anything-but-beef burger and best extreme/creative burger. Teams also will kick off the day with an early morning Bloody Mary competition.
The event from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Minglewood Hall parking lot on Madison Avenue will benefit the Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services. Admission is $5.
The pairing of burgers and charity are an agreeable match for the festival’s organizers, who express equal affection for animals and char-grilled patties.
“We are dedicated to making sure we’re helping an animal-oriented charity, and we want people to have access to burgers all day. Lots of them,” said Seth Agranov, who started the festival with friend and burger-lover Tim James. “If the public chooses to spend their Sunday afternoon with us, the least we can do is feed them.”
The festival is a spin-off from the pair’s popular blog BestMemphisBurger.com, a free-wheeling romp through the area’s many burger menus. Agranov, who happily names burgers as his favorite comfort food, admits a propensity for traditionally prepared patties.
“I enjoy trying gourmet burgers, but when I find an old-style burger full of taste, like the ones from Alex’s Tavern, that’s when the magic happens,” he said.
In fact, Alex’s donated 100 pounds of ground chuck to the cooking teams, and Bluff City Bakery provided slider buns to help feed festival-goers. Agranov is expecting several thousand people.
“Last year we had about 1,500 attendees, and it rained all day,” he said. “This year we’ve ordered up the good weather and are preparing for an even bigger crowd.”
Best Memphis Burger Fest, Sept. 22, 1:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Minglewood Hall, 1555 Madison Ave. Admission is $5.