Serve 10 judges with six top-of-the-line hamburgers and you have the makings for a not only an incredible feast, but also a burger contest spectacular.

So it was when judges and guest judges recently savored entrées in the annual Citrus County Best Burger contest that saw Backwater Fins’ Signature Burger take top prize for the judge’s choice and Pudgee’s capture the People’s Choice for its Pineapple Express Burger.

Backwater Fins’ in Ozello offered a spicy one-half-pound seasoned burger with lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and mushrooms, bacon, pickles, jalapeños, Vermont cheddar cheese on a butter-grilled Kaiser roll with french fries on the side.

At Pudgee’s in Floral City, it was a taste trip to Hawaii when voters selected the diner’s fresh Angus burger patty cooked to order, topped with juicy char-grilled pineapple, two pieces of crispy bacon, drizzled with a pineapple habanero salsa and topped with queso blanco atop a bed of spinach.

Official judges for the burger extravaganza were Alli Will, Lori Driver, Mark Baker and Michael Pate, plus guest judges Gerry Mulligan, Trina Murphy, Mike Wright, Trista Stokes, Josh Wooten and Rick Grady.

People’s choice winners were selected from online write-in votes to the annual competition.

Other entrées were:

  • Claw Daddy’s Raw Bar & Grill in Crystal River — Western burger patties, 100% certified Angus beef burgers topped with freshly sliced produce, mouthwatering homemade barbecue sauce, beer-battered onion rings and bacon; all stacked high between a seedless brioche bun. Served daily, but on special every Wednesday.
  • Backyard Pub in Crystal River — Zombie Burger, a 7-ounce specially designed and seasoned beef topped with enough ingredients to scare the zombie in anyone, with bacon, cheese, egg, hash brown potatoes, lettuce, pickle, onion, tomato and onion straws, with the notation: “It takes superhuman eating skills to kill the Zombie!”
  • Lollygaggers in Crystal River — Bob’s Burger; the makers advise to “Get ready for a punch to your taste buds with Bob’s Burger.” A secretly seasoned burger smothered in pepper jack, topped with apple smoked bacon, guacamole and finished off with fried jalapeño peppers all on a ciabatta bun.
  • The Loft (near DeRosa Plaza on North Citrus Avenue) — Loft-D-Licious was named by Kevin Spiddle, and is one of the Loft’s favorites and of the latest creations to battle Bob’s Burger. The entry was a juicy half-pound Angus burger, topped with Boursin cheese and grilled onions on sourdough bread.

It appears from the quality and locations of the majestic burgers, diners have plenty of choices to try their favorites.

Watch for more special food contests in the months ahead sponsored by the Citrus County Chronicle.

Citrus County is filled with great home cooks and we know you would love to share your recipes with our readers. Please click "Submit Your Recipe " to send us your recipes.

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