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» “BBQ” Chain to Hold Burger Eating Contest
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“BBQ” Chain to Hold Burger Eating Contest

By • Jun 27th, 2011 • Category: Burger Blog

Carnivores, start your mandibles. This Wednesday, Smokey Bones is hosting the Burger Battle 2011, a chowdown showdown where one burger inhaler will waddle away with $2,000!

Launched in Orlando in 1999, the chain is instantly recognizable for its unique log-cabin restaurants meant to evoke the look and spirit of a rustic mountain lodge. Inside, they were once all about the BBQ: with a real pit out back and pitmasters on staff to oversee “low and slow” specialties like ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket.

But a 2008 change in ownership also brought a change in philosophy. The new bosses realized that chain BBQ seldom works; Americans want their ‘cue from little mom-and-pop joints and independent roadside shacks, not slickly-franchised storefronts next to the mall. So Smokey Bones was rebranded as a “Bar & Fire Grill.” They still have real working pits and still serve up some pretty decent BBQ, but the menu now reflects a wider variety of items, with an emphasis on grillables.

Luckily for us, that means a heavy dose of burgers. The “specialty” burger menu includes the Smokehouse Burger, the Loaded BBQ Burger, and the Big Time BLT. A pad and a pencil on each table also allows you to build your own burger, choosing everything from the type of meat to the bun to the cheese to the toppings.

And to help remind you that Smokey Bones wants to be a player in the burger wars, they’ve dreamed up this Wednesday’s contest, taking place at every single location.

Here’s the skinny, so to speak. In Round One, the first 5 contestants to polish off a half-pound burger of their design, selecting one item from each of seven categories, advances. Round Two is a repeat; again, the fastest five move on. The final round, the “Burger Blitz,” will see finalists racing to take down a one pound burger (two half-pound patties). Each location will crown one winner, who nabs a $200 Smokey Bones gift card. Final round times are compared among the 67 locations; the fastest overall eater takes home $2,000 in cash and wins a Smokey Bones party for 20.

That’s a lot of beef, when you consider that the lucky (?) few who make it through the final round will have consumed two pounds of beef plus all the toppings (including mandatory use of either pulled pork or beef brisket) in under two hours!

On the other hand, even if speed-eating isn’t your thing, entering the contest just may be the deal of the century when you consider that the entry fee is just ten bucks ($2 of which goes to the charity Homes for Our Troops) and that everyone who enters gets a $5 bounce-back card good on their next visit. The first burger alone, by the time you add up the a la carte toppings, would normally set you back $11.50.

If you do enter, though, do whatever you have to do to make sure the final round doesn’t end in a tie. According to Clause #7 buried in the official application, “…a tiebreaker will take place at Smokey Bones within 24 hours. The contestant to eat a Smokey Bones Smoke Stack the fastest will win.” This is the Smokey Bones Smoke Stack:

God help you in the event of a tie. That’s three half-pound patties with three slices of cheddar, plus a pile of pulled pork, plus crispy onion straws, plus full-blown onion rings. Oh, and coleslaw, lettuce, pickles, red onions (in case there’s not enough onions on this thing already), and tomatoes. At $16.99, it’s a true beast of a burger, not for the faint of heart… or the light of wallet.

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