The 2013 Burger Bracket Is Full, But We Still Need Judges

Categories: Burger Break

burgerbracket2013.jpg
Illustration by Monica Fuentes
Thanks to you, all four categories for our 2013 Burger Bracket have been filled up. We'll announce those brackets very soon, but for now we need your help once again.

As with prior years, the 2013 Burger Bracket will be narrowed in a March Madness-style breakdown from the Sweet 16 burgers to the Final Four competitors by four teams of able-stomached judges. Each team will be required to have four people -- men, women or children -- willing to commit to a few weeks of rigorous burger testing, undercover and on the sly. The Houston Press will reimburse all burger-related expenses for each team member, and the four teams will have seats of honor at the Final Four showdown this March.

If this sounds like a mission you're willing to undertake, round up three other team members and give the most eloquent one a keyboard.

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.

Houston Press editor-in-chief Margaret Downing will choose the four teams from the comments below and we will notify them of their judging duties by Friday, February 15. On the following Monday, February 18, the entire bracket of burgers will be revealed in all its juicy, cheesy, oozy glory. Start your countdown to March Madness now: the 2013 Burger Bracket has once again officially tipped off.



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26 comments
jeanniediep
jeanniediep

Team I Can Judge Cheezburger –  How many lawyers does it take to judge a burger eating contest?  Exactly three…plus one scientist to moderate.  This team is serious about food in general and given our professions, (i) we have no problem forming strong, immediate opinions with little or no reason, (ii) we tend to overanalyze and (iii) and will be able to critically evaluate any burger put before us.

Laura hails from Alberta – the Texas of Canada, if you will, and the land of Alberta beef – a strong competitor to Texas beef. Therefore, she knows the difference between a good burger and a great burger. Also, Laura has a strong love for condiments.  For example, when ordering a burger at Sonic, when they ask if she wants mayo, mustard, or ketchup on her burger, she answers “YES.” 

Jeannie is a native Houstonian and will go to great lengths to seek out a good burger (once abandoned a bachelorette party to have a TX Monthly-recommended burger by herself in Fredericksburg). If this were an eating competition, which we realize it isn’t, Jeannie would be well prepared, having been named the firm’s wing-eating champion despite having a second-degree burn on her dominant hand. 

Dave recently moved here from Ontario, Canada and is eager to sample as many Texas burgers as possible. Boasting a burger biting background acquired from travels across North America and Europe, Dave is also a scientist who will bring his analytical and inquisitive nature and a love of burgers both big or small, beef or bison and all things in between to the judges’ table.

Caren is a reformed vegetarian. She is saddened by the lost years in a meatless wasteland and has been trying to make up for lost time by consuming as many meat products as possible. Caren is a born and bred Texan, but also lived near Parker Ranch in Waimea on the island of Hawai’i, one of the country’s largest cattle ranches.  While she loves Texas beef, she does notice an absence of the distinct Hawaiian flavors of hibiscus and marijuana.  

Thanks for the opportunity to throw our hats into the ring, Houston Press!  Please email us at icanjudgecheezburgers@gmail.com.  

mattmadeiro1987
mattmadeiro1987

The "Four Horsemeals" humbly submit their application for your viewing pleasure. 

In the southeast corner we have Carissa, the lone dark-haired beauty of the group. Voted "Most Likely to Have Dark Hair (Because Her Hair is Really Dark)" by the burgeoning drunkards of our high school graduating class, Cari—as she is known in police reports—brings to the competition a fierce, borderline illegal love for thick cuts of meat sandwiched between two buns. She intensely regrets letting someone else write her pseudo-biography and longs to one day have a serious conversation about the future of Star Wars now that J.J. Abrams has the helm. (Booooooo.)

In the north-north-west-north corner we have the man simply known as 'Clint,' named to Time Magazine's 2012 list of "Most Inexplicably and Alarmingly Popular Twitter Users"* for his madcap mix of grammatically-correct bar jokes and several increasingly disheveled Instagram shots of him eating The Detention from Bernie's Burger Bus. He has a date at the doctor's office next week. We anticipate his medical write-up will include comments like "smells furiously of bacon" and "jesus christ what has he done."

In the north-south-east corner we have Carl, the sole non-Texan in the group, a fact we've slowly come to accept in begrudging admiration of his tendency to eat meat, drink beer, and shun anything not closely related to those first two categories. He brings to the competition six feet and three inches of passion for basketball, an admirable dedication to his studies (boooooo), and the memory of the majestic and elaborate fake mustache he crafted for a cowboy-themed murder mystery party Cari hosted a few weeks back. The collective envy for his facial hair had absolutely nothing to do with his character being the first to die.

Lastly, and most definitely leastly, we have Matt, who once had an exhausting, questionably enlightening conversation about the complexity of the wagyu burger at Hubbell and Hudson Bistro. It occurred to him hours later that he probably sounded like a douchebag for the duration of it, but seriously, guys, the toasted english muffin bun is a step above the norm, and if people would just listen we'd all be better off, okay? God.

We invite you to email us at mattmadeiro @ gmail.com.

* Definitely not true. Probably.

vinod.hopson
vinod.hopson

Do not let our art degrees and non-profit work experience fool you. We know meat, buns and cheese.We have opinions about condiments. We are not the oft envisioned, fey twenty-somethings in tight jeans and Toms. What we are is a group of discerning and articulate aficionados and critics of high and low culture; walking tall in cowboy boots through honky-tonk parking lots and museum galleries alike.

We have overlapping and complementary credentials – our band of four consists of:

* Three published art critics
* Two Ph.D.s
* Two personal trainers
* Two two-step masters
* A museum curator
* A former bartender
* A former barfly
* A modern caveman

Originally from the diner-strewn ‘burbs of New Jersey, the gritty Rust Belt Midwest and the magnolia blossom, kudzu-choked Deep South, we know burgers – good and bad; thick and thin; homemade and haute cuisine. Each of us has been reforged in Texas’ red clay and tempered in the cold water of Barton Springs and the Frio River.

We are Hold the Pickles, holdthedamnpickles@gmail.com

maborders
maborders

Team Super Burger. Four burger-judging superheroes, fighting crime one bite at a time. Umami Gal was pushed into a vat of L-glutamate by a fast food super villain as a child and has retained a sixth sense about the fifth taste ever since. Buffalo Boy watched his parents die of clogged arteries in a Houston alley one night and has dedicated his life to the protection of lean proteins. Double Decker Dude was born with an oversized mouth mutation and can only be satisfied by twice-stacked sandwiches. Slider Sally is an eccentric billionaire entrepreneur who always looks out for the little guy. Together, they are Team Super Burger, and they are the foe of all mediocre cuisine. Tremble and flee, lesser hamburgers!

SirRon
SirRon

I've got at least 3 alter egos that have subtly different palates and articulation.

hugh.ramsey
hugh.ramsey

Team Eat for a Cause - if for no other reason than we brought John Mueller's cue to Houston.  We are a newly formed non-profit that will be hosting food/drink related events in and around Houston to raise money for charity and promote worthy food related causes and entities.  Plus individually or as a group we can all be very judge-y.


hugh.ramsey@gmail.com

rsngo
rsngo

Team Warrior! Now, we have no experience judging food, but we've had plenty of experience eating it. A group of hungry foodie University of Houston students that are more than willing to pack away burger after burger without an end in sight! Houston's food scene is coming to be impacted more and more by college students (case in point, food trucks!) and who better to judge a classic of economical American cuisine than the demographic who throw down the most of them in a year! You won't be disappointed having us judge - we encompass all sorts of demographics (UH diversity!) and we'll be ecstatic to put down "Burger Judge" on our resumes. When you think about it, having so many food trucks around UH has really equipped us to be the best judge of fast fun gourmet food.

ryansolngo@gmail.com

c_hojnacki
c_hojnacki

With over 140 years of burger consumption, this diverse group of carnivores delivers experience to the table caveman-style. From the far north of the Canadian Rockies to the Rio Grande Valley in the south this team was cutting their teeth on burgers since before they could walk. All of them Houston transplants, they take pride in staying abreast of the latest and greatest of the city's food scene, but when the tables are cleared they are burger men at heart. In the quest to crown one burger champion, these connoisseurs will take it one delicious bite at a time.

 c_hojnacki@yahoo.com

romper996
romper996

We are the Horde. We eat everything. There are 5000+ of us in Houston. Your burgers will not survive...www.houstonzombiewalk.org

gkholland
gkholland

We are the Loopers.  

At first glance, the two couples that make up this dynamic foursome would appear incongruent, dissimilar, unrelated, and other words I just identified using Microsoft Word Thesaurus.

One couple – Outer loop, suburban-dwelling yuppies. The other – Inner loop hipsters. We have kids. They have a dog. We own. They rent. We commute. They skateboard. They hang out at craft beer joints and bitch about their bosses. We drink at wine bars, and we are their bosses.

Much like the “Looper” movie, when we sit across from one another at a restaurant, we see our future/former selves with equal parts recognition, understanding and genuine horror.

What could possible bring us together in the spirit of harmony and peace? Burgers.

We love burgers… all burgers. We don’t discriminate. Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Barbecue Burgers, Sliders, Patty Melts, Double Deckers, Hawaiian-style or Juicy Lucies.

If it combines meat, bread, and any assortment of transformative toppings and condiments, we have found our common ground. Amen.

rww79
rww79

The Trustees.  We are prepared to accept the mission.  As our work dictates, we are honest, fair and always with the best interests of others at heart.  So when it comes to food we do not want others wasting their time or money on undeserving cusine, especially burgers.  Our team will go unnoticed but will be dedicated to the task and true to the spriit of the competition.  

Jim Rassinier
Jim Rassinier

I'm sure y'all prefer 4 new groups every year, but we'll do it in a pinch!

landric1
landric1

The Administrators is a group of educators committed to being judgmental. Every single day we judge students based on their participation in class, performance on exams, and the tucked-in-ed-ness of their uniform shirts. We are certainly more than capable of judging burgers, who are much less likely than teenagers of getting pouty or talking back.

And, just as we aim to transform Houston through the preparation of our students for enrollment in a four-year college or university, we also aim for excellence in Houston's burgers. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that the best burger in the Bayou City is crowned.

As for the burgers that don't make the cut? We'll be available for after-school tutorials. 

You can reach us at landric@gmail.com

jurena175
jurena175

Pappa Charlies Barbeque has, since 2009, been on the other side of the judges tables as contestants in not only BBQ but various other "cooks choice" competitions. Competing from California to Florida and as far north as Missouri we bring years of cooking at, competing in and of course eating great food across this great country.

As native Houstonians we grew up with the original Prince's and roller skates, the original Roznovsky's, Otto's Hamburgers on Memorial, Broiler Burger in Bellaire and the Pig Stand on Washington. We've eaten the Whopper, the Bonus and Jumbo Jack, the Big Mac and Quater Pounder and in the end we fall back  to a #1 all the way, add Jalapeno's at Whataburger.

In the end, a Houston burger competition should be judged by Native Houstonians and 3/4's of us are.

wesley@pappacharliesbbq.com

HtownBurgerMasters
HtownBurgerMasters

Houston Burger Masters are uniquely qualified to judge a burger contest, because we already have a Facebook page devoted to precisely that (check it out).However, we need answers to a few logistical questions:

1.Can we schedule our own times to review the burgers (except for the finals)?

2.Does the whole team need to eat / judge the burgers together, or can we go at separate times?

3.What is the time and location of the final judging?

Thank you,HoustonBurgerMasters@hotmail.com

BurgerAnon
BurgerAnon

1) What kind of commitment schedule should judges expect?

2) I'd prefer not to leave my email address in a public comment -- any other ways to leave contact info?


Very much interested, and have a prospective team awaiting answers.  =)

Discgolfer22
Discgolfer22

As I sit here enjoying the last of my very delicious burger from Rainbow Lodge, I am saddened that unfortunately I do not have 3 friends to form a judging team with. I would happily offer my services to any other group that is in need of a warm body with a burger loving stomach. Was that pathetic enough to work? :)

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

My team was the only one that had to endure FOUR veggie burgers last year.  For that reason alone we should get a nod.  ;-)

rww79
rww79

The Trustees includes a member of the judiciary?!  Fidicuiaries and a Judge who eats burgers, there can't be a better team.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@HtownBurgerMasters Good questions!

1. You certainly can.

2. You can go separately. Many of our teams have had to split up like this in the past.

3. TBD. We're still working on a venue, but it will coincide with the final round of March Madness.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@BurgerAnon More good questions.

1. You'll need to work through two brackets: one with four burger joints, and a separate bracket with two for a total of six burger restaurants. We're trying to give the teams several weeks to accomplish this burger-eating expedition.

2. You can email your info to me at katharine dot shilcutt at houstonpress dot com.

Discgolfer22
Discgolfer22

Ok, I am no longer as pathetic because I found a group that would love to throw our hat in to the ring of judges. The ladies think we should take my love of burgers and use it to broaden my horizons. They say anything to get me out in to the world of the 3-dimensional people is good and they are willing to sacrifice their waistlines for the cause. So, please for the sake of expanding my burger world and social circle give us consideration and we thank you for your support.

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