Our friend CC, like Lily in How I Met Your Mother, loves her birthday. Unlike Alyson Hannigan’s character, she’s the one who plans her often adventurous, always unique birthday parties. Two years ago, CC was living in the heart of Borderstan and had grown to love the Wellington at BGR, the now well-known burger joint on the north side of Dupont Circle. When she found out about the restaurant’s 9-Pounder, she decided that this would be the center of her celebration.
BGR’s monstrosity, like many in this fine country of ours, is part feat of daring, part eating contest. To wit, if a single person can finish it in one sitting, it’s on the house; otherwise, it’s $80. The Nine-Pounder name isn’t even entirely accurate: the whole ensemble actually weighs 15.4 pounds, when you take into account the two heads of lettuce, eight tomatoes, three red onions, four whole pickles, mojo sauce, and giant bun that come with it. You even have to call and order it the day before.
Since the party wasn’t really in the mood for a gastronomic challenge (or any gastrointestinal problems), we ordered two for the group of 30, figuring that this would be more than enough friends to handle the task. Since this was only the 4th and 5th 9-pounders respectively that the Dupont location had made, they threw in some free fries and cookies. We positioned ourselves in the bay window (where we picked up many a curious onlooker, or probably in reality, horrified passerby) and set to work.
Eating a burger that large (much less two), isn’t a pick-it-up and stuff-it-in affair. It’s really a slice-it-up-like-cake meal, a serendipitious substitute given the occasion. Where icing and ice cream layers would have been was replaced with stripes of bread, veggies, and meat. Each piece was the size of a Harry Potter book and required just as much sitting time to finish.
And that’s the key: endurance. I have a working theory I call The McGriddles Rule, which identifies a food with a first bite that says, “this is unbelievable. Why hadn’t anyone ever created this till now?” but with quickly diminishing returns leading to a last bite that says, “I never want to see another X again.” This wasn’t as severe, but it did require dedication: the burger itself was really solid but even Kobe lobster will eventually fall into a too-much-of-a-good-thing.
By the end of the night, the scorecards gave the Nine-Pounders a majority decision: the 20 or so guests succeeded in taking down about one-and-a-half burgers, leaving just enough for leftover lunch portions. But was it one of the cooler things we’ve done , and a great way to mark a special occasion? Absolutely.
BGR The Burger Joint is at 1514 Connecticut Avenue NW.
For more burger pictures and stories, visit DC Wrapped Dates.