Sacramento's first burger battle was a solid gold success. September 18th's event, organized by Rodney Blackwell of Burger Junkies, raised over $27,000 for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and stuffed 650 attendees (and a panel of expert judges, myself included) to the gills with beef.
Fifteen restaurants brought their best to Raley Field, competing for two prizes: the People's Choice award, a trophy topped with a cheeseburger (pictured below), and the Judge's award, a custom-made wrestling belt that they can display all year, and fight to hold on to at next year's battle. Krush Burger won the the People's Choice award for their "Da Philly" burger, made with a blend of Angus short rib and chuck, topped with grilled mushrooms and sweet onions, provolone, and roasted red pepper aioli, on a signature Krush Burger Bun. The Chef's Table won the Judge's Award for their Lucky Dog Ranch Beef burger on a housemade pretzel roll topped with smoked brisket, aged cheddar, heirloom tomato, confit onions, and yellow mustard aioli.
Judging the event with me was chef Bret Bohlmann of Boulevard Bistro, Congressman John Garamendi, Rick Mindermann of Corti Brothers, and Marcus Marquez of Goose & Gander, a restaurant in St. Helena whose cocktails were recently reviewed on Serious Eats: Drinks.