The biggest, baddest burger

July 21, 2010|By EBONI JAGGERS
  • Cindy Jenkins of Bunker Hill, W.Va., was the 2009 Big Bad Burger Contest winner. She won last year with the Amore burger. She hopes to reclaim her title at this year's event Saturday in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Submitted photo,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -Made from 6 pounds of ground goodness, the 7-inch-long Amore holds the title of the biggest, baddest burger in town - or at least on this side of the Eastern Panhandle.

In 2009, Cindy Jenkins, creator of the Amore, arrived at the Big Bad Burger Contest in Martinsburg with high expectations. She set out to win the contest's $1,000 grand prize, but more importantly, she said, to feed her passion - preparing food that people can enjoy.

Her creation the Amore, aptly titled for the love she pours into her recipe every time she whips up the creation, won over the appetite and tastebuds of the crowd and judges alike.

Jenkins, 59, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., said after hearing an advertisement of the Big Bad Burger event on the radio she decided to take a leap and enter the burger-making contest.

This year, she intends to reclaim her throne as the area's reigning burger-making queen and has few new tricks up her sleeve to ensure she will.


"I have to defend my title," she said.

The Big Bad Burger Contest will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at Sunfire Hearth, Patio & Spa. 301 E. Stephen St. The event will feature a live band, The Jokers, and Mountain State Brewing will also be in attendance to provide samples of its beer products.

Jenkins will be submitting an all-new creation into the contest. The Filet Burger, she said, will be a stuffed burger, similar to the cut of the filet mignon.

"This other burger is going to be something special," she said.

As for its ingredients, she's not letting that out of the bun until its Big Bad premiere.

But she will share one secret: "The secret to a good burger is the proper cooking of the meat," Jenkins said.

The deadline to register for the event is 6 p.m., coordinators expect about 20 participants, 18 competed last year.

Contestants will provide their own ingredients and supplies and are asked to prepare enough samples of their burger to be distributed among 100 people.

Spectators at the event will receive samples of contestant's burgers, helping three judges to decide this year's winner.

Judging will begin at 3 p.m. Judges will be looking for creativity, taste, visual appeal and ease of preparation in adult beef and adult alternative burgers and kids categories.

The grand prize adult winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize, while the kids winner will receive a $500 college scholarship.

The winner of the People's Choice Award, voted on by those attending the event, will be awarded a $100 gift certificate.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to Hospice of the Panhandle, a nonprofit organization that provides patient care to people with life-limiting illnesses for more than three decades.

Laura Wilson, community relations representative for Hospice, said events like the Big Bad Burger Contest help generate the funds the organization needs to provide their services, regardless of the individual's ability to pay.

This is the organization's second consecutive year being chosen as the beneficiary to the event's profits.

"We are extraordinarily excited about it," Wilson said. "We're especially fortunate that they chose us again."

In return for the event's donations, Wilson said, Hospice will provide volunteers to work and service the event that attracted some 400 spectators last year.

She said volunteers have helped to coordinate new additions to the event to ensure it remains a fun-filled, family-oriented event.

Jason Roach, co-owner and general manager of Sunfire, said in an e-mail it was a pleasure for the company to host the event. He predicted the burger contest will be fun for the whole family.

"We wanted to have a fun, family-friendly cooking contest event at our location," Roach said in the e-mail.

As for Jenkins, she knows exactly how she's going to reclaim the prize this year.

"I'm going to make it exactly the way I did last year," she said.

If you go ...

What: Big Bad Burger Contest

Where: Sunfire Hearth, Patio & Spa. 301 E. Stephen St., Martinsburg, W. Va.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 24

Cost: Suggested donation of $10 at entrance

Contact: Contact Jason Roach, co-owner Sunfire Hearth, Patio & Spa, 304-267-3029.

For more information on how to be a contestant, go to or or call Sunfire Hearth, Patio & Spa at 304-267-3029 or MSM Catering at 304-267-2447. There is a $50 entrance fee.

Amore burger

6 pounds ground beef

3 teaspoon garlic

3 teaspoon spice blend

2 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning

Olive oil

1 pound mozzarella cheese

1 pound provolone cheese

24 green onions

Fresh basil leaves

Focaccia bread

Roasted red pepper mayonnaise (see recipe below)

Mix beef, garlic, spice blend and seasoning. Shape into rectangular patties and drizzle with olive oil.

Grill to 160 degrees on medium heat. Make sure it is non-direct heat. Top with cheeses. Grill onions, basil and bread. Top off burger with grilled green onion and basil. Assemble on focaccia bread with roasted red pepper mayonnaise.

- Recipes courtesy of Cindy Jenkins of Bunker Hill, W.Va.

Roasted red pepper mayonnaise

1 large jar of roasted red peppers

2 cups mayonnaise

Drain jar of red peppers and chop. Add mayonnaise and mix well.

- Recipes courtesy of Cindy Jenkins of Bunker Hill, W.Va.

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