The 2022 best burger from the Flying Elbow in Marshalltown. (IBIC photo)

The annual contest is now underway to find the best hamburger in the state.

Iowa Beef Industry Council spokesperson, Kylie Peterson, says the criteria for the 2023 contestants remains the same. “A 100% real beef patty served on a bun or bread product from a restaurant here in the state of Iowa,” Peterson says. “So, any spices can be added to the patty. And the burger can include any combination of condiments, toppings, you name it.”

Peterson says the various eateries find a lot of different ways to add to the base layer of beef and bun. “People get super creative with the toppings. I mean, there’s different types of burgers now — smash burgers, stuffed patties, you name it — people get really creative. And I think that’s one of the most kind of exciting thing about burgers, or one of the most unique things about burgers is there’s so many different ways to prepare burger and serve a burger that provides different tasting and eating experiences,” she says.

The Beef Industry Council holds the contest with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, and they are asking you to help nominate the best burger at “On the home page, we have a link to the best burger voting link. If you’re a restaurant owner, and you want to participate, there are promotional materials for you on there to print out and use in your restaurant or on your social media platform,” Peterson says, “And then you’ll also find contest rules there as well as the link to vote.”

Past winners have come from all over the state and sometimes the joints that serve the burgers may be one of the few businesses in a town. “It’s a great way to kind of highlight those rural communities that might have a hidden gem. I like to call them restaurants that locals know about that have great tasting foods, but maybe not the rest of the state,” she says.

Winning the contest helps boost the burger business of the eatery — and she cites the central Iowa winner’s experience from 2022 as an example. “I know the Flying Elbow in Marshalltown was reported preparing 750 pounds of beef for well over two-thousand patties during an average week in July after they won in May of last year, Peterson says. “So it really increases their sales and draws attention not only in the state but outside of the state people are paying attention to Iowa’s best contest. They are going to make a trip to Iowa to try our beef.”

The contest will go on until March when the winner will be chosen from ten finalists and announced in May are part of the Beef Month festivities.

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