The Eating Our Words Burger Bracket: Call for Judges

Categories: Burger Break

cbnew.jpg
Illustration by Doug Mac
Our Burger Bracket mascot. Think of him as our Uncle Sam.
Do you love eating burgers?

Do you love judging things?

Do you have the time and stomach capacity to do both over the next couple of weeks?

Then we want you!

The first annual Eating Our Words Burger Bracket is set to start next week in a March Madness-style epic food fight for the ages to finally discover who makes the best burger in Houston. Burgers from 16 different restaurants will be competing in four different categories, as defined by A Hamburger Today: fast food-style, steakhouse, fancy-pants and pub burgers.

For the sake of this contest, large national chains were not selected for competition. Instead, we've chosen 16 of Houston's finest restaurants -- some are new, some are longtime institutions -- that we feel represent a wide swath of what could be considered the city's best burgers.

The lineup will be revealed next week, so stay tuned. Today is reserved for the most important task of all: selecting a panel of judges.

Cathy Matusow, food blog editor, will be choosing four teams of four individuals to serve as volunteer judges for the duration of the Burger Bracket. The final four burgers will be selected by these 16 individuals, and you -- our readers -- will be invited out to Lucky's Pub on April 4 to help crown one of those four the Best Burger in Houston.

2576097039_8320544e30_z.jpg
Photo by Marshall Astor
This could be you!
Our four teams of judges will be responsible for going out to their assigned roster of four burger joints, eating a burger at each one and determining amongst themselves which should move forward in the bracket (we'll reimburse teams for the burgers, so save your receipts). If this sounds like an ideal way for you and your three closest food-loving friends to spend a weekend, then we want you.

Leave a comment below explaining why you and your group would be ideal judges for the Burger Bracket (and remember to leave a valid email address so we can contact you). You must apply as a team. Please note that your group must be ready and available for burger judging throughout the entire competition; no flakes need apply.

Cathy Matusow will choose the four teams from the comments below and we will notify them of their judging duties by Friday, March 11. On the following Monday, March 14, the entire bracket of burgers will be revealed in all its juicy, cheesy, oozy glory. Start your countdown to April 4 now: It's on!


Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords
My Voice Nation Help
100 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
r glover
r glover

Hard to compete with teams like Beefcakes, Burger Babes, any team with a nearly decadent facebook page full of burger pictures, or a team anchored by a Fatty Fat Bastard. However, in a last ditch effort to promote the Tofu-phobics, I submit the following:

We meet the requirements. We love eating burgers. We love judging things. We have the time and capacity for the task.

That's all. We just meet the requirements.

Oh, and we all have degrees from the Hamburg School of Digestible Science with specializations in Critical Interpretation of Culinary Art. You can Google it.

Guest
Guest

@houston_foodie: Mild mannered food blogger and former EOW contributor J.C. Reid is one of the most well known Houston foodies. Known for the organization of food crawls of everything from BBQ to oysters, this is a man who knows food and is willing to drive anywhere and everywhere in search of the best. Chris is currently a contributor to 29-95.com and houstonfoodie.com.

@married2food: Liz Fenton, a Longview, TX transplant with a hollow body. This tiny Korean is known for the massive amounts of food she consumes without being full. She will pick clean a whole roasted hog’s head, eat 6 to 7 links of sausage, a burger and fries and still ask for dessert.

@beer_chris: Beer nerd, computer geek and proprietor of Houston food blog “Blog of an Asipring Foodie (ytee.wordpress.com).” Never without his tiny black notebook, Chris is the official scorer/note taker for all Houston Chowhound crawls. Spreadsheets and the compilation of analytical data is where he shines.

@fussybitch: I think my name pretty much says it all. I’m fussy and a judgmental bitch – I even have a blog that follows my extremely fussy life (fussygayasian.blogspot.com). I’m a lover of burgers, bourbon and bubbles and seek out all three in any and every city I travel to (and I do a lot of traveling). I believe a juicy, greasy burger is the best hangover cure in the world and even have a V&A mac and cheese burger as the wallpaper on my phone.

#yayburgers

Victoria
Victoria

Heh! Mild mannered food blogger...

SirRon
SirRon

Damnit, that's a strong team.

Rob Hays
Rob Hays

I have the will. I have the drive. I have three more guys who've eaten the Grim Burger at Langford Grocery. And the chicken fried bacon burger at Christian's. And live to tell the tale.

They come from all walks of life: a charter school principal, a lawyer (for legal reasons), a banker, and me: the reason the phrase "takes the words out of my mouth" should be applied to food writers. With their taste buds and my (rougishly handsome) eloquence, we're the team to beat.

Also, will angioplasties be provided? Because this could be a deal breaker.

Jean Philippe Gaston
Jean Philippe Gaston

OK, first off, I'm sorry everyone here wasted your time, Cathy. With that said, who would be a better judge of food than actual food industry people that just happened to have some spare time on their hands:Pao Pao Torres, beer-slinging sweetheartHer soon-to-be wife Richard Greenleaf, whose meat expertise comes from working at Houston's meatiest restaurantNicole Fabian, whose big nose means she can smell well and thus taste well and thus has a most refined palate for judging, uh, hamburgersAnd yours truly, Philippe Gaston, sexy French chef. You know burgers originated in France, right?Between the 4 of us we cover every aspect of the industry from building restaurants to catering events to working in the most prestigious restaurants in the country, not to mention that between all of us we have over 239 years experience in this field! Just saying... We should give these meat-stacking gods some actual relevant criticism -- they deserve it. Also, I'm pretty sure we can all eat hamburgers pretty much every day; we're all in Olympic shape and two of us extremely smart (and the guys, for their part, provide comic relief)... We don't have a cute team name or matching t-shirts, but that doesn't mean we're not passionate!

Allison
Allison

"Her soon-to-be wife Richard..." ahahahaha!

I think industry people should have to drool from their biased sidelines, Frency!

David Valentin
David Valentin

I get down on burgers! Fo real. I would gladly be on a team of judges. Looking for team members.David Valentindefdave87@gmail.com

Phaedra
Phaedra

Burger Angels @bitspitter (Chuck Cook) is the mysterious guiding hand of the Burger Angels. Besides that, he's named Chuck. That's just Fate at work. He's is a pro photographer to-boot, and will be able to get visual evidence of his Angels’ exploits. @sensestorm (Phaedra Cook) thinks about burgers perhaps a little too much and likes to lead other people into beefy temptation. We're not sure she's actually an angel. She may be a double agent, but it will be at least two episodes before we know for sure.  For now, she’s the Kate Jackson of the group and uses her beauty AND brains to get what she wants. Last Friday, she finagled her way into the Macaroni and Cheese lunchtime burger special at a notable downtown steakhouse... at 7 pm. The intellectual diva recently braved the newly-opened "breasteraunt" Burger Girl to further her education.   @allisonhiromi She’s always controversial, but (according to her), Angel Allison Matsu is "not a foodie". We think the lady doth protest too much, having spotted her at notable burger spots around town. Always the fashionista, Allison will train her eye on how well-dressed the burgers are. We believe that when there is good beefcake around, this Angel will use her elite detective skills to find him... um, it. 

@currentlysavvy (Carla Soriano), the sweetest of the Angels, was sent down from heaven to eat half her weight in hamburgers and then spread the word about those burgers to the good people of Houston! She will grant Houstonians the the gift of living vicariously through an angel...a Houston Hamburger Angel... when she reports on her findings. This sizzling seraphim will work to protect Houstonians from those burgers that are unworthy of the people's tastebuds. 

Chuck (don't call him Charlie... that's his dad), Allison, Phaedra and Carla are here and ready to deliver the divine hamburger Word to Houston. #word

Allison
Allison

I haven't laughed that hard in a long time!

Kate
Kate

C-an handle it.A-ppetite ready. T-hree chicks on this team. H-ouston natives. Y-es mam, we're the ones for the job.

BurgerMark
BurgerMark

My intrepid friends and I have been tasting, enjoying, and reviewing burgers for a long time now. Our burger-resumes are impeccable, having travelled to the best burger establishments Houston has to offer: Christians, Bellaire Broiler Burger, The Burger Guys, Five Guys, and more. We pride ourselves on trying new places and new flavors – not always a simple bacon cheeseburger from the local pub. Here are three examples of recent burger excursions and our thoughts: https://www.facebook.com/note.... https://www.facebook.com/note.... https://www.facebook.com/note....

We look forward to lending our eyes, ears, and most importantly, mouths to this enticing endeavor!

Happy Eatings!Mark (mlnewman at swbell dot net) and teammates JB, Scott, and Corey

Samuel Levi
Samuel Levi

To whom it may concern,

I wish to throw my hat into the ring of potential burger judges. If there is one word I could use to describe how I feel about burgers, it would be this: fucking awesome.

The only problem I may have, here, in explaining how much I love burgers would be a lack of adjectives synonymous with "adoration," and one time (probably after eating too many burgers) I read most of the dictionary while evacuating my bowels.

I can fully commit to judging, eating, judging, eating more and, finally, judging. I will not only assemble a crack team of judges, but I will demand their utmost commitment, as well, to eating and judging. Although, I must say, I can't imagine how hard a burger judgement must be. It probably goes something like this:

"Hey, you want to eat this burger?"

Well, yes. Of course.

(eats burger)

"So how was it?"

Awesome.

Please select me and my team for your burger judgement. I will not dissapoint. I will also probably not wear underpants.

Bwhite0421
Bwhite0421

Brian (bwhite0421@yahoo.com)KevinMikhailTroy

Our burger judging team consists of four co-workers with extensive burger experience worldwide.

We believe that because we are three manufacturing engineers and one quality engineer it makes us uniquely qualified for the task at hand. With extensive experience in systematic, scientific methods of problem solving and decision analysis such as ‘Six Sigma, Kepner-Tregoe and PDCA’, which we are fully prepared to apply to each burger submitted for examination, we are an exceptionally qualified burger judging team. We look forward to the opportunity to truly determine the ‘Best of the Best’ in Houston burger-dom.

thank you for your consideration,

Brian

Paria
Paria

We're not quite sure what else to say, other than this competition was MADE for the four of us. Do we like eating burgers? YES! Do we love judging things? ALWAYS! We spend the majority of our time eating and judging. Eating is what we plan our lives around. In fact, we recently saw a bumper sticker that represented our lives in a nutshell....

EAT EXERCISE DIE

(well minus the exercise part)

We must warn you, though, we're tough critics, and we'll be brutally honest. In conclusion, choose us because no other foursome can BRING DE FUNS and EAT DE BUNS like we do. :)

Paria RafieeCourtney St. JulianR. Clive MarklandC. Todd Overstreet

We can be reached at paria.rafiee@gmail.com

Mike
Mike

I'm sorry, but with those names you will have to wait for the tea sandwich bracket.

SirRon
SirRon

I'm surprised that stating that you've tried and rated every burger in town is being listed as supporting evidence for this selection process. I believe based on your previous "work" that you guys won't be able to represent the Eating Our Words' Burger Bracket without a predetermined bias.

Readers, if you want to join the best team since whoever invented the bread slicer, then Team Mike is in need of a 4th.

Cathy will make the right decision. She always does.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

I'll be your fourth team member as long as I get to judge all the pork fat sliders with artisan ingredients that have been blessed by a prominent locavore who does not own or use any petroleum based products, nor drive any type of vehicle other than bike from a local bike company that makes it's bikes out of green friendly sustainable materials that were manufactured by a person that spoke kindly to the bike parts before assembly to ensure that the bike felt well adjusted and diverse. Let me know!

Hala
Hala

I'm making an Early Cuyler facebook fan page.

Shary
Shary

I'm so glad to have read this article. My boyfriend and I have been hitting the new up and coming burger places and pubs to find the one burger we like best. We still have many to try but we would love to help you decide on the Best Burger in Houston! We have another couple that has joined us in the hunt as well. We would definitely be a great team! Every team member is from a different part of the world, one from Baton Rouge, one from Connecticut, one from Minnesota and I'm from El Salvador! And we all LOVE food! Count us in! We are all 29-30 years old with LOTS of eating experience. =) We like to eat anywhere from the best hole in the wall to the nicest steak house. It was here where we read about the best burger at Block 7, we were there the next day! We have very flexible schedules. Please choose us! Burgers-R-Us!

Ann
Ann

We are your burger judges. 1. Because pictures of burgers are our porn2. Because the dancing burger in “Better Off Dead” is the best scene in all movies ever made3. Because we still lick our fingers4. Because we’re winning5. Because we feel sorry for vegetarians6. Because we talk gently and lovingly to our food before we eat it. 7. Because we put meat in our mouth, no questions asked8. Because we invented the hamburger (take that Al Gore)9. Because our judging team, bleeds tiger blood (if we bled, but we don’t)10. Because happy cows live in Texas, and then they become hamburgers

Our burger wolf pack:Justin “The Birdogg”David “Lil’ David”Donny “Hey”Ann (ann@saintarnold.com)

brandius
brandius

+2 for Better off Dead reference. Well done.

Ann
Ann

Please note, we work for Saint Arnold. Our palettes can conjugate complexity in flavor country before your mommy even gives you permission to go there…

r glover
r glover

Reposted with updated profile and to distance my comment from the negativity man!

After 2 years of trying to eat healthier, by eating less beef, I recently had a revelation while in a meat coma from a night at Fogo de Chao. I LOVE COW!

It is natural. We eat beef because we live in Texas. But we also eat beef because we need it. We need regular amounts of Vitamin B"eef" and all that beef protein and probably some sort of "enzyme de vaca" that hasn't even been discovered yet.

So, now I have to work hard to replenish my body from those two lost years.By selecting me, and 3 members of my tofu-phobic support group, to judge in your Burger Bracket, you would be helping me begin to restore a healthy balance to my life.

Team: Tofu-phobicsMotto: We love cow.

Rgwalt
Rgwalt

Ryan GwaltneyHolli SwickPhil WingertBri Wingert

This is a well balanced team with perspectives coming from the East coast, out west, the midwest, and Texas, plus perspectives from both genders! Each of us has our own opinion of what makes a burger good, if not great. For some of us, it is what is on or in the burger that makes it outstanding. For others, it is all about the quality of the ingredients (with *quantity* also important). Finally, some of us look for the complete package... a perfectly cooked burger with the right toppings in the right proportions served on a delicious bun.

If you are looking for a balanced panel, this is the one to choose. I can be reached at rgwalt@gmail.com

Rob
Rob

After 2 years of trying to eat healthier, by eating less beef, I recently had a revelation while in a meat coma from a night at Fogo de Chao. I LOVE COW!

It is natural. We eat beef because we live in Texas. But we also eat beef because we need it. We need regular amounts of Vitamin B"eef" and all that beef protein and probably some sort of "enzyme de vaca" that hasn't even been discovered yet.

So, now I have to work hard to replenish my body from those two lost years.By selecting me, and 3 members of my tofu-phobic support group, to judge in your Burger Bracket, you would be helping me begin to restore a healthy balance to my life.

dexter mcgerkin
dexter mcgerkin

cathy & kathrine @ the helm its sure to be a disaster. wonder who's got $$$$ under the table; zelko, brc, bb's??? total scam this blog is....

brandius
brandius

Well aren't you just a big ol' dick on the internet.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

I can either be used as a ringer to another group, or I can easily get 3 others to join. In our 30's. All native Houstonians who started our burger love affair at Bellaire Broiler Burger in the 80's and still recall that there was a time when Fuddruckers was actually a good destination. I also have no problem stating when a burger is overrated or simply nothing special, unlike the Guy Fieri's of the world. And who doesn't want a guy names Fatty as a judge?

SirRon
SirRon

I support Fatty's campaign. I also hope there is a chili burger in the competition. :)

Beefcakehouston
Beefcakehouston

Top three reasons we're the best burger judging team:

1) We're very judgmental. We just got done judging tons of stuff. Cool stuff that you don't even know about.

2) We have the best team name. "Beefcake". Not "Team Beefcake" or "The Beefcakes". Just "Beefcake". Like Cher or Prince.

3) We don’t want you to mess this up. It’s time for Houston to take its place as the burger capitol of the world and you need a team of savvy and motivated burger judges like ourselves to help you crown its champion.

If you need to contact Beefcake you can either:

1) Call the super secret Beefcake hotline if you have the number, which you probably don’t because it’s THAT cool or,

2) email us at beefcakehouston@gmail.com

Jscarbor
Jscarbor

I've had a lot of burgers in Houston and any compeition that does not include the burger at the bar at Mockingbird Bistro or Bernie's Burger Bus is a sham. Good Luck.

Jay Blazek Crossley
Jay Blazek Crossley

I will eat delicious burgers and then I will cry about it, with 3 of Houston's most finest bearded ex-rockstar or ex-internettvstar gentlemen crying and drinking with me. And then we will have meetings about it at Big Star and hilarious hijinks will ensue. Perhaps karaoke is involved.

Eric S
Eric S

Carnivorous Habits, a team of burger-loving giants, stands before you, ready to take on the awesome responsibilities of judging the Houston Press Burger Bracket. We do not take this task lightly: as pointed out by Travel & Leisure, Houston is the top Burger City in the country. You need a panel of true experts to pick the burger that’s going to be at the top of this illustrious heap.

We have assembled what we believe to be the finest collection of burger judging talent this town has to offer. Show us a team with more logged burger miles, grease-laden fingers, cholesterol-filled arteries, and cellulite-laden thighs, if you dare!

@viva_victoria – What woman in Houston loves burgers as much as Victoria? She organized the Chowhounds Slider Crawl. She single-handedly convinced Hubcap Grill to do a patty melt. She lives in the Great Ber-MOOO-Da Triangle drawn by connecting Vic & Anthony, Samba Grille, and Hubcap.

@Fulmer - A food industry veteran, Fulmer is well-known for seeking out far-flung destinations to sate his burger cravings. Whether it's a foie-gras topped Kobe burger or a single patty from a roadside stand, Fulmer embraces them all. Fulmer and Victoria both have been known to top off an all-day BBQ crawl with a stop at a greasy convenience store for a 1.5 lb double cheeseburger behemoth.

@theoShu - Author of the infamous Feed The Heights blog, Theo is a burger loving fiend. His tweet about the Hamburger Today categories was the seed that planted the burger bracket tree. Now he's throwing his hat into the ring to claim a spot on the panel, and any judging competition would be remiss without Theo’s ascerbic wit and straight from the hip honesty.

@esandler- The only native Houstonian in the group, Eric has literally spent years training for this assignment. He's been to all of the burger joints people usually refer to when discussing Houston's best burger, as well as many more places he doggedly sought out hoping to find the Next Great Burger. He vows to taste each burger anew and render a verdict that is fair.

There you have it, team Carnivorous Habits: four veterans of the Houston food scene with a passion for burgers and a commitment to excellence. Please, Eating Our Words, approve our application and let us get started on this momentous task. Let March Madness, Houston-style, begin!

Hala
Hala

I don't mind competing against this team.

Fulmer
Fulmer

Bring it! Carniverous Habits are equal to the task.

Eric S
Eric S

Honestly, I think it'd be awesome if they picked y'all and us. But if it comes down to one or the other, I hope they pick us. Just saying.

brandius
brandius

I like your honesty and spunk

brandius
brandius

I wont lie, this is a fierce lineup.

BeauH
BeauH

The Ruth Bader GinsBURGERZ -AmyBeauMikeZach

We're four friends in quarterlife-crisis who can only find meaning in a juicy meat patty between two buns. Our sophisticated palettes have been specially calibrated for burger judging. Our internal monologues are voiced by the guy who does the Whataburger commercials. Pick us because we're hungry for hamburger justice!

beauhenry at gmail dot com

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

"Our internal monologues are voiced by the guy who does the Whataburger commercials."

This seriously made me laugh out loud. Well played.

RustinRawlings
RustinRawlings

I have a proud heritage of more than 6 generations of my family being from the great state of Texas and, subsequently, a tradition of great appreciation for burgers.

Whether it is grilling them at home or seeking them throughout the city and state limits, my vast experience with the intricacies of burgers, both profound and dumbfounding, will serve our great burger loving city well!

RustinRawlings@gmail.com

Annie
Annie

Count us in! I can be reached at anniebulloch@gmail.com.

Burger Lovers from the 8th Dimension:

AnnieJeremyJamesDavid

Courtney
Courtney

HOUSTON!!! Who's ready to get MEAT WASTED?!?! I know THESE girls are! We are GRILL ON GRILL ACTION and we are ready to take on this here burger challenge. I, Courtney, have been on a quest for Houston's Best Burgers since 2008.

Please see here - http://www.facebook.com/album.....

I haven't even put a dent in the Houston market and would love an opportunity to further this quest. For free. If I can take on the Shipley Burger, I know we can take on anything and have a damn good time doing so. Also, I think since I dressed up as the Hamburglar for Halloween, I get an automatic in. I'll even wear the costume if you want.

Courtney Baldwin - courtne726@aol.comJanet LeungKelli EversAmy Ott

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Jesus, that Facebook album! You guys do not mess around. Wow. #impressed

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...