By Allison M. Roberts Staff Writer Apr 3, 2017 at 8:01 AM
The mouth-watering smell of sizzling burgers drifted over West Main Street Saturday as chefs grilled up their creations during the Cribb’s Kitchen Burger Cook-Off.
The annual event is a fundraiser for the Children’s Security Blanket, a local nonprofit that helps families of children who have been diagnosed with cancer. This year was the best yet, raising more than $17,000 for the organization, compared with $7,200 last year, said Executive Director Laura Allen.
Allen said she’s delighted so many children will be helped as a result of the fundraiser.
“This is a big, big, big plus for our organization,” Allen said. “But what it’s really a big plus for is the children that we’ll continue to serve.”
Tail Grinders was crowned the winner this year, followed by first runner-up, Willy Taco, and second runner-up, R.D. Anderson.
Event coordinator Taylor Correll-Greer said 15 teams competed in this year’s event — the most ever. Correll-Greer said while he was thrilled so many people wanted to be part of the event, he was most excited about being able to help Children’s Security Blanket.
“I was blown away by the (number of) teams signing up this year, but the funds raised for the Children’s Security Blanket is what was most important to me,” Correll-Greer said. “This community is constantly growing and evolving, which I think is wonderful, but it also shows that Children’s Security Blanket is growing, too.”
Here’s what two of the top teams had to say about their burgers:
Ryan Collins, team captain of The Tail Grinders
The winning burger
The burger that won this year was Mexican-inspired. I love Mexican food. I had been doing one that was more Asian-inspired in the past. I decided I was going to change it up this year, so I went with more of a Mexican theme. I used fresh ingredients, fresh peppers, and roasted them down to make the salad that went on the burger. I used Cotija cheese — a very popular Mexican cheese — and everything worked together this year for me. I couldn’t be happier to be the winner.
Changing the formula
The last burger I competed with for the first two years was a pork belly burger that had a slice of pork belly on top and an Asian slaw and a sriracha aioli with it. It had a very Asian feel to it. This year I couldn’t compete with the same thing, so I had to switch it up. So I did and it brought home the trophy.
Persistence pays off
My family is up here and they asked me to come up. They said it would be a good excuse to get out of town and come see them, so that was how I first started coming. Once I competed and got second place the first year, I was so ready to win, so I kept coming back until I won.
Ryan Cunningham, captain of the Willy Taco team
We did a Southwestern-themed burger. We wanted to do something a little different but stick to our mantra. We wanted to do something Southwestern and wanted something that would blow people’s heads off but still stick to our roots. We replaced our buns with fried tortillas, which people loved. We did a chorizo-infused burger and put some chipotle puree, some queso, some guacamole — your go-to Southwestern foods. Hit it with some charred peppers on there, and then we topped it off with pineapple and a spicy pickle.
A worthy cause
It’s a good cause to begin with. The children matter first when it comes to this. Everyone couldn’t care less about the burgers or winning or anything like that. We just donated $17,000 to something great. That’s huge, and that’s what I think people are happiest about.