Man vs. Meat

Sef Gonzalez, The Burger Beast. Photo: Candace West.

The Man

Dining with Sef “The Burger Beast” Gonzalez and his buddies on one of their perfect-burger quests is a lot like being on the dais at a comedy roast. Don’t order a salad with your burger – unless you want to be mocked for a digital eternity on, the culinary blog Gonzalez has built in little over a year into a South Florida phenomenon with bi-monthly burger events that attract hundreds of people.

In these burger boom times, with upscale outlets like Burger & Beer Joint and 8 oz. Burger proliferating, the average fast-food junkie cannot come close to matching Gonzalez’s obsession with the All-American meal. “Even when he was a little boy, all he ate were hamburgers,” says Sef’s father, Serafin Gonzalez. “He wouldn’t even eat pizza.” The younger Gonzalez wears his love for burgers like a turtle wears its shell, bringing it with him everywhere, be it restaurants where no one should order a burger (barbecue joints), on business trips (he manages a phone store) or on Burger Beast missions like his recent trip to Orlando to give Burger King’s Whopper Bar a spin.

The Blog

  • Gonzalez and the “BB cast of characters” have blogged burger reviews of 125 South Florida restaurants, with envoys weighing in from Las Vegas, San Francisco and Tokyo
  • Content extends beyond reviews, think coupons, news items and bizzaro deals like one earlier this week where any customer dressed in orange got a free burger at the Texas-based Whattaburger chain

The Challenge

  • On Nov 21, Gonzalez attempts the Quickie’s Challenge at Quickie’s Burgers & Wings in Hollywood – consuming a four-pound cheeseburger in 90 minutes
  • Quickie’s co-owner Aleka Nakis has seen two Quickie’s challengers wave the white flag after eating half the “Animal,” the four-pounder she chose for the challenge after a physician-friend told her a five-pound burger would risk stomach rupture
  • On a recon trip last week, Gonzalez laid down the terms of warfare for the monster burger before him:  “I am absolutely not going to cut it in half. If I can pick it up with my hands, I shouldn’t have to. I am going to enjoy the first few bites … and after that it’s just going to be work.”