This year's winner was none other than the Iron Chef (and fellow midwesterner) Michael Symon. This was a three-peat for Michael, and he deserved it. I can attest to the amazingness of his "Porky Burger" from his B Spot restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio:
"Pork and Bacon burger topped with pulled pork and slaw with a side of pork cracklin' chips"
I skipped the pork cracklin' chips but thoroughly agreed with Rachel Ray's decision to declare Michael the true burger king. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Right before he won, he was gracious enough to pose with yours truly :)
My second favorite? The Luther from Bulldog Burger in Miami:
"Beef burger with aged cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, caramlized onions and Bulldog Burger sauce served on a sweet glazed bun"
It was like eating a cheeseburger stuffed into a glazed donut. I know-- it sounds disgusting, right? Trust me, somehow it worked. Heavenly.
I was a rookie burger basher without a doubt! With 35 chefs competing with their own take on the best burger in the world, I sadly only sampled about five. I learned from a few seasoned professionals that the real foodies know to take just one bite of each burger so they don't become comatose too early in the night. Who would have guessed that the figure conscious mavens of South Beach were primed with such a competitive grub strategy? I, on the other hand, had no planned strategy and unfortunatley felt so stuffed I could have been rolled out of the bash like Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory after two booths. By my fifth burger I was seeing sirloin everytime I blinked. Whoa.
Overall, I had a blast enjoying the scene and getting to meet some of my favorite Food Network idols. Next year, I'll go armed with a new strategy and a much emptier stomach!