Photos: Moody Ques practice for Best Memphis Burger Fest

Best Memphis Burger Fest is six weeks away, and the Moody Ques team had our first practice cook at our president John D’s house in Midtown yesterday. I drove out there about 11 yesterday.

That’s right, I actually drove my car on a weekend. That almost never happens. And I was not at a bar at 11 for brunch on a Sunday. That almost never happens.

First of all, I would like to thank our sponsor Royal Oak Charcoal for providing us with high quality charcoal to use at the practice cooks and at Burger Fest. Cooking with the best charcoal will make a big difference in our burgers and we appreciate Royal Oak being on board.

I’d also like to thank recently retired pitmaster Frank for taking an hour out of his busy weekend to come over and teach the new cooks how to use the team cooker.

Ugh those are ugly cooking gloves and flip-flops. I didn’t get a chance to ask Mac if he thinks the Tennessee Vols will repeat as Champions of Life in 2017.

The team’s Deputy Director of Public Relations spent most of the afternoon hiding in my pocket because she was afraid of the cat. She did come out to pose for this one picture.

Of everyone there, 18-year-old Tigger was the most interested in sampling the finished Moody Ques product.

It was an excellent practice. It was totally a team effort, with everyone there contributing. Our two new cooks, Mac and Staci, blended in with the rest of the cook team just great.

There are three burger categories in Burger Fest – Veggie, Anything Goes, and Traditional Cheeseburger. Although this is only the first of our three practice cooks, I would have been totally comfortable turning our Veggie Burger in to judges yesterday. I judged Burger Fest myself the first year it existed, before the Moody Ques got into the burger game. “Judges rate these burgers on a scale of 2 to 9,” I told Staci. “For appearance, I would give our Veggie Burger at least an 8. Maybe even a 9.” Staci is going to make a few tweaks at the second practice cook that I think will get the taste to the 8-9 level as well. There’s a reason vegetarians love the Moody Ques!

So why, you may ask, did I not post any photos of the finished veggie burger? Because I don’t want to put ideas in other teams’ heads. Some of the other burger teams are distracted by another cooking competition between now and Burger Fest, and I want them to stay distracted.

As for the Traditional Cheeseburger, we got off to a good start. There is still work to be done, but for a first practice cook I was pleased with the product and pleased that everyone got along so well in the kitchen. As for Anything Goes, we exchanged ideas but didn’t attempt that category yesterday. I am going to start an email thread for all our cooks so they can discuss ideas for the burgers between now and our second practice.

Outstanding day yesterday. Thanks to all who attended.