Last weekend Denver forward Al Harrington tried and failed to eat a six-cheese type of burger featuring two pounds worth of ground beef amongst other accoutrements, and this is both a good and bad thing.
A good and not entirely inappropriate go-to joke during the lead-up and duration of this NBA lockout has asked us to guess at who will turn out to be the 2011 (or, more than likely, 2012) version of Shawn Kemp following this labor impasse. Kemp, if you'll recall, showed up for the 1999 season massively out of shape; and he wasn't alone. Some careers were never the same.
We've heard rumors about those who have let things go a wee bit this time around, with Chuck Hayes and Carmelo Anthony leading the calorie-cause, but only Denver Nuggets wing (and mid-level exception anti-poster boy) Al Harrington is doing things on record. The Jersey guy is doing his part to let us dieting and/or "can't mess with the hands" folk live vicariously through him during this lockout.
On Saturday, Denver Nuggets player Al Harrington took the Bugsy Challenge at Burger Joint at Flamingo Las Vegas. The Bugsy Challenge consists of a burger with six one-third-pound burger patties, six types of cheese (American, cheddar, pepper jack, fresh house-made mozzarella, Swiss and panko-crusted deep-fried provolone), chorizo, sautéed mushrooms, black and tan onion rings, three strips of applewood smoked bacon, three strips of cayenne peppered bacon and a fried egg, all oozing with Burger Joint's special pink peppercorn aioli.
This massive burger is accompanied by a cast iron skillet packed with two whole potatoes cut in wedges and deep fried, then smothered in cheddar cheese sauce, three-cheese blend, crumbled bacon, sliced green onions and topped with two strips of cayenne peppered bacon.
The full Bugsy Challenge weighs in at 4.5 pounds and is on the house for anyone who can finish it. Harrington was given 45 minutes to complete the challenge and unfortunately did not succeed.
Apologies for the criticism in a time where levity works best, but this is what I hate about each of these food challenges. I'm not going to remind people that there are people starving in Korea or that some animal had to leave a wasted life in a pen for the chance to be half-finished by a Denver tweener. Nah, if the massive burger is on the menu, then you throw yourself at it. With gusto.
But to panko-crusted provolone? First off, panko crumbs are fantastic, but why misuse a nuanced (if very popular) cheese like that? Why waste chorizo on a sandwich that is only going to taste of ground chuck? Why add that much cheese to something that no punter will taste? The potato wedges with the delicious pork-based protein, however fatty? Why isn't that an entree? What a waste. Geez, people. Appreciate your salty snacks.
Hardwood Paroxysm's Danny Chau has his own criticism for Al, and while he was apparently hesitant to get into the competitive eating criticism realm, this is what a lockout does.
The burger's towering stature makes it fairly clear that the burger will have to be deconstructed for any kind of progress to be achieved. I suggest removing the pick/skewer from the burger and creating a burger with both top and bottom bun with the two (2) deep-fried elements seen in the top portion of the burger, and three (3) patties. The remaining patties, bacon, mushrooms, and whatever else is hiding should be left on the plate for later. This newly constructed burger is still fairly large, but it's a much more manageable portion. The onion rings will add some crunch to break the monotony of texture in the burger, while the fried provolone along with the fried egg (which hopefully has a runny yolk) will provide some moisture to help you ease into the groove of consumption.
The groove of consumption, maaaaaan.
(I've made it a few weeks without making a bad "Occupy" joke. Not going to start now.)
Better luck next lockout, Al.
(Photo courtesy Haute Living and the Las Vegas Flamingo.)
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