Moody Ques win trophies at Best Memphis Burger Fest

The venue didn’t change this year, but it seemed like the Moody Ques had to do considerably more walking than we did at past Memphis Burger Fests. We had to walk up the steps to the stage to accept a trophy not once, but twice! Other than a little rain and wind, it was a splendid day on Tiger Lane.

We only cook with the best. Thanks to our sponsor Royal Oak Charcoal for supplying us with top quality charcoal.

Not bad neighbors to have… the Memphis Grizzlies.

Our neighbor to the left was a vendor encouraging people to play some kind of game. One of the prizes was a George Foreman grill. Not the first time there’s been a George Foreman in the booth next to us.

King Arthur

Chad making the Bloody Mary turn-in. Appearance was a big part of the score, requiring a last-minute run to Kroger. The team across the road from us put an entire crab in their Bloody Mary.

Part of the score for each of the Burger Fest entries was Execution. You had to write a name and a description for your entry on a note card, as though you were listing it on a menu. Drew handled the Execution note card while Chad made the Bloody Mary entry.

We put out burger samples to the public in exchange for donations to Memphis Paws. People were generous to the point that the Burger Fest squad had to come get our donation box and give us a second one.

Appearance is a part of the total score, and our handmade Moody Ques buns helped us make a great first impression on the judges.

Prepping the Veggie Burger entry. Vegetarians love the Moody Ques!

The Bean-Wah Burger, our Veggie Burger entry. This was a black bean and quinoa patty, held together with blue cheese, topped with avocado, curly fries, a buffalo cheese sauce, and blue cheese sprinkles on a pretzel bun.

Beautiful burgers, ugly cooking gloves. Mac commented that he hopes Tennessee will lose next Saturday so they’ll go ahead and fire Butch Jones.

At our second practice cook three weeks ago, instead of melting the cheese on to the burger, we had the team sample cheeses to top our entry for Classic Cheeseburger. We had 2 year old aged Cheddar, Fontina, Gouda, Havarti, and Gruyere. Fontina emerged as the clear favorite.

P1080420.jpg – Head Classic Cheeseburger cook John D assembling our entry for that category.

The Fontina Brioche Burger, our Classic Cheeseburger entry. Sirloin patty topped with Fontina, pickle, onion, mustard and mayonnaise. Although the rules stated that ketchup was an acceptable topping, we elected to leave it off.

After the Classic Cheeseburger was submitted, it was time to begin work on the Specialty Burger. Rules for this one were anything goes: Any type or blend of ground meats, any toppings, any type of bun.

Some of the teams did exotic meats like lamb or ostrich. While thinking outside of the box, those meats don’t necessarily fit the palate of every judge. That’s why we went with the people-pleasing beef and bacon blend. We did a stuffed burger with more bacon and pepper jack cheese on the inside. What’s not to love about that?

Staci stepped away from the caramelized onions for a minute to mix a drink, and asked me to stir. I COOKED! I helped! I imagined I was Clarence at Earnestine & Hazel’s grilling onions for the Soul Burger. After that experience I’m thinking about permanently joining the cook team. I can promote the troll to Director of Public Relations to cover that position.

Specialty Burger head cook Drew getting ready to assemble his masterpiece

Man o’ War, our Specialty Burger entry: Beef/bacon blend stuffed burger with bacon and pepper jack cheese on the inside. Topped with purple cabbage, caramelized onions, and a sauce made with Portuguese Piri-Piri sauce on a pretzel bun.

By the way, there was some hesitation to use the pretzel bun for two of our entries. This is where my experience as a former judge came in. “There are different judges for each category,” I explained, “So they won’t know.”

At 5:30 it was time to hand out the awards.

The very first team called up to the stage, winning 3rd in Bloody Mary, was the Moody Ques.

Congratulations Chad!

We weren’t done though; Man o’ War was good enough to get us back on stage for a 3rd place in Anything Goes.

We were a very happy team at the end of the day.

On the Lyft ride back Downtown, Staci told me that she thinks my troll is stupid and sometime we’ll sit down over drinks and she’ll tell me why she hates my troll so much.

The $150 prize money we won pales in comparison to the bonding as a team we have experienced over the three practice cooks and Burger Fest. After nearly falling apart, the Moody Ques have come back stronger than ever. We are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT committed to doing BBQ Fest 2018 and are starting to put a plan in place already.

The good news for Downtown teams didn’t stop with the Moody Ques, however. When the SCA steak competition results were announced, The Dirty Crow Inn got second, hauling in $500. However, they got another surprise as well. The first-place finishing team had already qualified for the SCA Steak Championship in Fort Worth later this month. So the golden ticket to the championship went to the highest-placed team not already qualified, sending the Crow team to Texas.

In the ’30s, Babe Ruth promised a little boy a home run. He stepped up to the plate and got two consecutive strikes. Then he pointed to center-right field, and proceeded to knock one out of the park exactly where he pointed. He called his shot. The Flying Saucer totally called its shot at Burger Fest, saying they were going to take home a 1st and doing so in Specialty Burger. Congratulations to them, and I hope it helps people realize that the Saucer is now a great burger bar as well as a great beer bar.

Our sibling team Squeal Street BBQ became a championship hot dog team, winning the SCA’s hot dog competition. For the second time in three weeks, they took home $200 in prize money. They didn’t win any more Skillets of Greatness yesterday though. Looks like they had a good day. We could see their booth across the lane and it looked like things didn’t get as crazy over there as I thought they might.

Full photo album of the Moody Ques at Burger Fest here.

As for today, it’s humid and sticky with a 50% chance of rain… good day to be indoors. Come join me for D-RANKS with B-RAD, or Hung Over Like a Bear brunch, at Blind Bear today. Brad is back behind the bar today and there will be a brunch menu until 6 PM. Drink specials as well. Some of the Moody Ques will be there celebrating, and we’d love for you to join us! Back tomorrow with more news.