A Jersey Shore hot dog icon and a Belford-based mobile food truck captured top honors in the Munchmobile Hot Dog and Burger Showdown at Monmouth Park today.
But there was an interesting twist – Mama Marci’s Gourmet Mobile Kitchen won top hot dog honors and The WindMill top burger honors from the judges’ panel, while the results were reversed in the People’s Choice awards, with Mama Marci’s winning top burger and The WindMill winning best hot dog.
If you had that food showdown daily double, you did good.
Mama Marci’s won the judges’ award for a hot dog with spicy sauerkraut sauteed in garlic and onions.
“It had way flavor,” said judge Michele McBride, morning host at Brookdale Public Radio 90.5 FM, the Night.
It was way good, period.
The WindMill, meanwhile, earned the judges’ top burger award for its cheeseburger, a classic backyard barbecue kind of burger – not fancy, just lots of basic grilled goodness.
Competition was fierce, and there were several unusual hot dog and burger entries, making the judges’ work difficult.
Chop Shop Barbecue of Seaside Heights entered a smoked hot dog wrapped with pig candy and barbecue sauce – yum.
And Southern Smoke Cajun & Caribbean BBQ in Wall created a Southern hot dog with slaw, creole BBQ sauce and a house made pickle, and a smoked Jamaican burger with pineapple, avocado, jack cheese and spicy creole ketchup.
Another competitor, Jersey Johnny’s Grill of Pequannock, entered a jumbo hot dog with pulled pork, cole slaw and pickle.
They weren’t in competition, but Paul’s Gourmet Foods of Ridgefield Park got our attention with its head-spinning array of pickles (cranberry horseradish pickles, blueberry lemon pickles, hot and spicy pickles, among others) and olives (loved the citrus olives and smoked olives).
Other judges included hot dog authority John Fox (hotdoglover on various forums); Michelle Gross; Frank Corrado, about-to-retire principal of Roosevelt Middle School in West Orange; and Deborah Smith of jerseybites.com.
Forty-five beers from 15 brewers, including Erie Brewing, Sea Dog, Cricket Hill, East Coast Brewing, Flying Fish, Ithaca and Tommyknocker attracted suds lovers to the festival beer garden. Check nj.com/beer later in the week for a complete rundown and report on the beers.
Watch for the Munchmobile Crab Cake Festival and Shore Chef Cook-Off at Monmouth Park on August 21-22!