By Gary Peterson
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 07/02/2011 10:48:37 PM PDT
Updated: 07/04/2011 06:38:18 AM PDT
Celebration ensues after breaking a Guinness World Records for the World’s Largest Commercially Available Hamburger, weighing 777 pounds at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif., on Saturday, June 2, 2011.(Doug Duran/Staff)
Brett Enright, if his first impression is any indication, was born with a twinkle in his eye and a bold idea at full boil.
So it’s no surprise to learn that while relaxing last December, the only month he takes off from his job as CEO of Juicys traveling barbecue catering service, he was shaken awake by an inspiration.
“I thought, ‘I bet I could build the world’s largest burger,’ ” Enright said Saturday. “So I looked it up.”
He found the world record for the largest commercially available hamburger, according to Guinness World Records, was 590 pounds. This led to a conversation with Nick Nicora, co-owner of Ovation Food Services, which has a facility in Pleasanton. And that led to Saturday’s spotlight event at the Alameda County Fair, in which Enright and Nicora cooked the biggest whopper the world has ever known.
They began at 5 a.m. with 600 pounds of meat, which they expected to shrink to about 400 pounds during cooking.
They forged 340 pounds of dough into two buns. On standby were 50 pounds of cheese, 20 pounds of onions, 12 pounds of pickles, 30 pounds of lettuce and 10 pounds each of mustard and ketchup. The final burger weighed in at 777 pounds, shattering the old record.
It was estimated the ingredients would comprise a 1.375-million calorie gut bomb.
“I kind of have a thing for big food,” Enright said.
The barbecue was Enright’s pride and joy, a massive trailer (the Outlaw Grill) that pops open into a massive food preparation station with an elevated cooking platform. The rig spends 11 months a year on the road, bouncing from NASCAR events to concerts to fairs. The burger was its most challenging project to date.
“Cooking it is difficult,” Nicora admitted.
It was estimated the burger would be ready to weigh at 5:30 p.m.
At 5:27, Nicora told a bystander, “It’s like Thanksgiving — when the meat’s done, you eat.”
The meat wasn’t close, having failed to reach its target core temperature.
The world record attempt was very much in the delightful spirit of the county fair. Which is to say fairgoers had options as they awaited the weigh-in. Among them: having their picture taken with a pig, watching elementary-age children try to ride a sheep, dining on all manner of fried food and buying a goldfish in a water-filled plastic bag.
Ain’t that America.
Jose Haro of Sunnyvale brought his wife and two kids to the fair specifically to see the quarter-tonner-plus.
“I barbecue pretty much once a week,” said Haro. “We just want to see it. Unleash the beast!”
Alas, the beast remained leashed past 8 p.m.
Onlookers lined up for a bite-sized, 99-cent taste of the burger, with proceeds to go to the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
Fast food it was not, but a record it was.