David Chang is an avowed “Normavore.” As he said at SXSW, the thing that excites him most right now in food is, “just eating normal shit.” So he’s launching Fuku, a fast food, Shake Shack-inspired fried chicken concept. And now he’s done the most normavore thing possible, he’s judging a hamburger competition for Budweiser.
A lot of people would wonder why the beloved, but irascible, head of the Momofuku empire would pair his culinary street cred with a big ol’ corporation like Budweiser. But it’s not too surprising when you consider that last year Chang wrote a paean to his beloved cheap beer, citing Bud Light as a constant in his New York home. And besides, there’s not a lot of downside for being paid to eat hamburgers.
The competition he’ll judge launches today: The Bud & Burger Championship. If you think you make one of the best burgers in the country, you’ve got a chance to prove it and win $100,000 in the process. To enter, just snap a photo or make a video to submit here and explain why you have a championship-level burger. There will be 10 competitions across the country including Stagecoach Music Festival and Chicago Blues Festival, where you’ll actually get to serve your entry. Then the top 10 will move on to the finals in St. Louis, where Chang will render his verdict.
For those looking for an edge, Chang tipped his hand a little bit at the event’s launch, making a very stripped-down version of a burger with ground short rib, American cheese and not much else. “I didn’t want any vegetables on my burger,” he said. “I gave the recipe to the crew and I said, ‘If you want vegetables, let’s make a salad.’”
Chang continued, “There’s nothing wrong with vegetables, but if you want the lettuce, onions and tomatoes, the burger gets too high and it falls apart. That’s delicious every once in a while, I want something you can hold, and there’s got to be a nice ratio. Just like the 70-30 or 80-20 ratio of lean to fat in the meat or the bun to meat ratio, or having enough salt. Keep it simple. Simple is hard to do.”
So if your burger is a mile-high concoction of everything but high-quality beef and cheese, you may need to sit this competition out.