Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's Official — It's the World's Largest Hamburger


Giant burger, cooked Saturday at the Alameda County Fair, beat the record set in Canada.

World's largest hamburger record, 2011 Alameda County Fair.

It's probably the first time a giant hamburger has trended worldwide on Twitter.

It's also the first time a burger weighing in at a grease-tastic 777 pounds has existed on the planet, and Guinness World Record officials were on hand at the Alameda County Fair on Saturday to say so.

"It's this cow's 15 minutes of fame, and it doesn't even know it," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, as he watched the massive mound of meat being lowered onto the scale after a long day of waiting.

"It looks delicious," he added.

A burger in Canada held the previous world record, weighing in at 590 pounds, condiments and all. That means the Alameda County Fair burger, cooked for 14 hours by Juicy's LLC on the "Juicy's Outlaw Burger" trailer, smashed the world record by 187 pounds.

A requirement for the burger to win was that it had to be eaten by the public afterward — and it was. Hundreds lined up to get a taste of history for 99 cents a bite. Many had skipped dinner in favor of the world's most awesome burger. By the time it was served at 9 p.m., stomachs were growling.

"This is a world-record attempt — people just don't do that kind of thing very often," said Juicy's owner Brett Enright.

"This world has how many billions of people in it? Everything's been done."

He added that this was Juicy's second attempt at busting through this record. The last attempt was in Houston — that burger came in at only 500 pounds.

Not only that but the bun fell apart, and the burger didn't flip very well. So this time, Juicy's built a special mold in which to flip the burger — a beef seat belt, if you will. Groups of workers flipped the meat mound every hour, in a riot of barbecue smoke and arms.

Meanwhile, the audience area was chaos. The good kind of chaos — the kind that fair marketing people love (second only to making it big on Twitter).

By midday, barbecue smoke had enshrouded the fairgrounds, leading patrons by the nose, Bugs Bunny cartoon-style, to the Juicy's trailer. By 4 p.m., hundreds of people watched as workers flipped the cooking beef — 600-plus pounds worth — on a custom-built grill that weighed 72,000 pounds.

This burger was five feet in diameter and three feet thick — a whole cow's worth of beef. The lettuce on top weighed 50 pounds, plus 12 pounds of pickles and 50 pounds of onions. The bun, baked for six hours by Athens Baking Co. out of Fresno, weighed 272 pounds and was 28 inches thick.

The math may not work out completely because some poundage was lost during cooking.

In all, the thing was estimated to be 1.375 million calories but probably was more. It would take a person on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet 22 months to eat the beef, or 1,000 people in one night.

Though fair officials hoped it would be off the grill by 5 p.m. or so, the burger had other plans — as did health officials on hand to make sure the meat's center was done. They inserted thermometers often to test internal temperatures. Because this burger was going to be eaten by the public, it had to be just right.

Hour after hour passed. Six o'clock, seven o'clock, then eight.

"The burger is the burger — it's telling us what to do," said emcee Liam Mayclem of CBS5, whose job it was to keep the hungry crowd satiated.

By the time fair patrons finally saw the burger being hoisted by forklift toward a gynormous scale, it was 9 p.m. and dark outside. Mouths watered.

"The bun .... is in place!" one worker said with dramatic flair.

As the burger made its way across the asphalt toward the waiting bun, pieces fell off and grease dripped onto the ground. Once on the bun, workers smeared it lovingly with ketchup and mayonnaise, then piled on lettuce and onions and pickles.

"Let's hear it for the pickles, ladies and gentlemen!" said Mayclem.

All of the accouterments had to be on top before the weighing — according to Guinness, the burger had only one chance. Once it was on the scale, no one could add so much as a leaf of lettuce.

The crowd was silent as workers read the scale. The total was 777 pounds — a lucky number, and way more than anticipated.

Cheers erupted. "We're hungry!" someone yelled.

Welder Marcos Lujan of Oakland spent 35 hours over three or four days welding the grill together, and after hearing so much about this burger, he had to see it for himself. He was one of the crowd woo-hooing when the weight came in.

"My son Erick would call me while I was working and I'd say, 'I can't come home — I have to work on this grill.'

"And then we got here this morning and he was like, 'Where is the burger, Papa? I want to see the burger!'"

Others were excited about the spectacle, but not so much about eating it.

"It's massive and I had to see it," said 17-year-old Francesco Sergi of Danville. "But kids keep touching the bun."

He referred to children there helping the workers, who were instructed to put laytex gloves on.

He, along with sister Gabriella, 16, and friend Serena Wong, 16, had corn dogs and fries for dinner. But they got spectator spots right at the front of the barricade.

Sara Kjono, 26, wanted to do both, and she was having a hard time strategizing. Either watch the burger being lowered off the forklift, or go stand in line yards away and miss the spectacle.

"I'm just going to book it over to the line as soon as I can, and hopefully the line will move fast," she said. She'd been waiting nine hours for this burger.

"I've been waiting forever," said 13-year-old Calvin Moore of Oakland. "I heard about it over in the 4-H area and then came over. I had to see it."

His entire family planned to buy six burger pieces at 99 cents (with all proceeds going to the Alameda County Community Food Bank) but because it was so late in the day and they were starving, they opted for eight pieces.

Tina Popenuck and her son, 11-year-old Anthony Ferguson, had been waiting two weeks for this.

"He was the instigator," she said as they stood in line.

Fair spokesperson April Mitchell said about 500 people bought bites, and by the end of the night, half of the monster burger was gone.

If anyone wants to buy a burger like this, all he or she has to do is give 48 hours' notice and pay Juicy's $5,000. Seriously. Here's its website.