Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Burger Off! The Mofo vs. The Big Al

I'd heard tales of Ferg Burger's "Big Al" from Leo and a couple of friends who'd been to New Zealand a few years ago and it immediately got on my travelling to-do list. Eating an obscenely massive burger is just as worthy a challenge for me as jumping out of a plane, then when we got to Wanaka Sky and Sam told me about Red Star's "Mofo" burger, which apparently is even better than a Big Al... so I felt is was my duty to try both to settle the score on which mighty mammoth is New Zealand's best, obscene burger.

As a bit of a coincidence we had a BBQ the day before the Mofo and I ate 3 and a half burgers, we'll call that training for the big event. The day after the BBQ was The Mofo, followed by The Big Al the day after that. Both were awesome burgers and a challenge to eat, but which one was the ultimate?

By the way, a massive meat intake was long overdue, we've been eating mostly vegetarian food as we don't have a fridge in the van. I've devised a simple rating system to highlight the key points that make a burger awesome, and here's how they did.

The Mofo:

Me outside Red star
Me outside Red Star

After the second day / night on the beers at Sky's celebrating his "birthday week" we got down to Red Star at midday, the second they opened, supposedly. But it turns out they didn't open until 4pm so we had to wait another four hours in anticipation. It was worth the wait. The service was pretty slow once we'd ordered our meat, but we'd already waited four hours so what's another half hour, at least we knew they were cooking it properly for us, and being the scavenging travelers we are, a previous customer had left a whole bowl of sweet potato chips on the table (he was probably KO'd by The Mofo) so we tried a few of them! I am slightly ashamed to admit this. We had a portion of chips with our burgers in both Red Star and Ferg Burger and I must say the Red Star chips were loads better, but this is purely about burgers so let's stick to the point. We grabbed our Red Star burgers and hurried back to Sky's, I unwrapped the Mofo, I already knew it was big, the bag felt heavy, at least a kilo of food I'd say, and I wasn't disappointed when I broke the paper bag and lifted it out onto the plate.

The Mofo
The Mofo - one very fat homemade burger (somewhere between 1/4lb and 1/2lb of NZ beef that didn't seem to shrink at all when it was cooked - solid) with mushrooms, a fried egg, streaky bacon, edam, gherkins and beetroot relish, seasonal salad, home made tomato relish and garlic aioli.

The Mofo
Cross-section of The Mofo

After The Mofo we had a 2 hour drive to Queenstown for round two of clash of the titans. I had to sit and sweat for a bit before setting off, my stomach was bulging and my eyelids were getting heavy. This was one of the best burgers I'd ever eaten.

Weight: 9 - One fat food package, it felt like the paper bag was going to erupt.

Aesthetics: 8 - Hard to make such a tower of food look pretty, The Mofo is a beauty in it's own right but the beetroot relish ran all over the baps and made them just a bit soggy. An 8 is fair.

Meat to bread ratio: 8 - It would have been nice to have two burgers between those baps, but the one that was in there was pretty decent.

Freshness: 9 - Clearly a freshly made, and freshly cooked patty, and it was nice to wait for it to be cooked. Fresh salad and amazing aioli.

Obscenity /extent of meat coma: 9 - Just looking at it you can see it's pretty obscene and I didn't fully recover until I went to bed, in fact I could still taste and feel it. Awesome.

Overall taste: 9 - The best burger I'd eaten, would have been a ten if the tastes weren't quite so hectic, still that's the whole point of The Mofo I guess.

Final Score... 8.7

The Big Al:

Ferg Burger was pretty busy when we got there. All the seats were taken so we sat at the front bar and waited for our order to arrive. Service was very friendly and the burgers were being cooked in front of us as soon as we'd told them what we wanted. Having a Big Al the day after The Mofo actually seemed like it might not be that enjoyable but when I saw them put it all together I was ready. It was even more obscene than The Mofo, but it looked beautiful, all neatly stacked with two meaty burgers and two fired eggs, and the salad looked even fresher.

Me beside Ferg Burger

Two chunky burgers (1/2lb of prime NZ beef), loads of bacon, cheese, TWO fried eggs, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, red onion, home made relish and garlic aioli.

Cross-section of The Big Al

Weight: 9.5 - Two burgers and two fried eggs as well as all the other stuff. Pound for pound The Big Al deserves it's name.

Aesthetics: 9 - Somehow the Ferg Burger managed to present what should surely look like a big meaty mess, in a way that made it look less intimdating than it actually is. Pretty grease free too.

Meat to bread ratio: 10 - Would be a 9, but The Big Al gets a bonus point for the extra egg

Freshness: 10 - Everything was fresh and it tasted like it. The lettuce was springy and the relish that came with The Big AL was what really made the whole thing. It almost felt healthy eating it!

Obscenity /extent of meat coma: 10 - 'The size of a small child' obscene. Meat coma beyond reason.

Overall taste: 10 - Spot on in every way. Obscene but somehow you could taste everything from thecracked black pepper on the meat, the flame grilled taste, and all that fresh salad and relish. YUM.

Final Score... 9.75!

So, The Mofo was one of the best burgers I'd eaten at the time, and it is a formidable beast. However, Ferg Burger has it nailed - The Big Al probably is the best burger in the world. It's obscenely big, it's full to the baps with extras and the extras are really tasty and noticeably fresh. It's pure filth, but it's not dripping with grease, you can taste every ingredient, and the homemade relish tops off the whole thing. If there was a Ferg Burger in Bristol I'd probably have one every week and weigh almost a ton. McDonald's and Burger King just don't cut it anymore.


  1. I can't believe you ate a burger two thirds of the size of your head Tone. That is epic.