Winner: Juicy Lucy
Restaurant: The Spence, Atlanta
Sandwich creator: Chef Richard Blais
Inspiration: “It’s us taking a fun poke at molecular gastronomy.”
Key ingredients: A combination of brisket, short rib, chuck, light dry-aged beef fat and white Cheddar
Why it’s special: The burger picks up a woody, smoky flavor from a wood-burning oven. Oh, and the cheese is hidden in the burger.
Food cost: 34 percent
What others are saying: “The Juicy Lucy — a fat burger stuffed with white American Cheddar — is both a marvel of engineering and an incredible burger.” —John Kessler, Atlanta Journal Constitution
What the judges said: We’ve been around the block more than a few times and the smoke and mirrors of molecular gastronomy no longer thrill like they once did. And when we heard that Blais, a sometime practitioner of culinary sleight of hand, was doing his magic on burgers of all things, we were skeptical. Then we tasted the Juicy Lucy, and we were mesmerized by the gooey, molten cheese spilling out and mingling with the meat’s juices. Blais may not have had us at hello, but now we’re fools for his hocus pocus. Damn you, Blais!
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