The results of the Final Fork food bracket are in — and you guys really, really love chicken. (And hate Skyline Chili.) Here’s the winning bracket, distilled from more than 8,000 entries, in all its caloric glory:
How close were you?
A few notes on some interesting storylines:
Five out of five chicken dishes in the Round of 32 made it to the Sweet 16.
But after that, the chicken dishes started to drop like stunned birds. Chicken Fingers went down to Thin-Crust Pizza, by a score of 1,772 to 3,279; Chicken Pot Pie got mauled by Lasagne, 1,573 to 4,219; and Nashville Hot Chicken suffered a stinging loss — the worst of the tournament, in fact: 5,654 to a measly 703 — to powerhouse chicken squad Buffalo Wings.
Tell me about it, man. I had Hot Chicken going all the way.
Food from south of the border also did particularly well in the tournament, but only to a point:
- Enchiladas racked up wins against Clam Chowder (basically like the 1957 Yale basketball team, when you think about it) and Fettucine Alfredo before falling to Baby Back Ribs in the Elite Eight.
- Quesadilla cut Grilled Cheese right in half before getting creamed by Mac & Cheese in the Sweet 16.
- Burrito knocked Hot Dog out of the park in the Round of 32 (5,972 to 2,468) before losing in the Sweet 16 to a really tough matchup in the form of eventual Final Fork Finalist Cheeseburger.
In a counterpoint to the Future Is Mexican narrative, everyone hates Chile Relleno (or doesn’t know what it is.) The dish — for you drooling chicken addicts, it’s “a stuffed, roasted, fresh poblano pepper” — got stomped on by Baby Back Ribs in Round 1, 7,233 to 1,189, and overall it was picked the fewest times of any dish in the tourney.
This tournament had some real crave-worthy gut bombs. Unfortunately that meant it was harder for true underdog meals (not “under dog meals,” that’s disgusting) to rise up, like glorious loaves of baking bread. But a couple less common meals did make it as far as the Elite Eight, including:
- Chicken & Waffles emerged as the champion of the Sweet Division, smothering Breakfast Cereal and French Toast along the way. Its exhausted crumbs were ultimately consumed by the OG red-hot juggernaut, Buffalo Wings, 3,928 to 1,017.
- Good old Lasagna, just like nonna used to make, fought its way out of a weak Hearty Division, beating Meat Loaf and Chicken Pot Pie in the process. Ultimately its tomato-y dreams of Old Country glory were wolfed down by the humble Mac & Cheese on its way to the Final Fork, by a score of 1,886 to 1,425.
We presented you with some hard choices in this bracket — and, like all good sports fans, you guys tried to work the refs:
I choose to take all this as a compliment.
The CSSS (Creamy/Smoky/Sweet/Spicy) Conference produced a lot more consensus winners in the run-up to the Final Fork, with Baby Back Ribs coming out on top out of the Smoky Division, facing up against — you guessed it — Buffalo Wings.
The CHCW (Cheesy/Hearty/Crispy/Wildcard) Conference, particularly the Cheesy and Hearty Divisions, was more split, with closer matchups across the board. That allowed a meal that was picked just 10th-most overall to emerge as the Cheesy Division’s gooey standard-bearer: Mac & Cheese.
Its Final Fork opponent? Cheeseburger, which fought its way out of a wild and woolly Wildcard Division (beating Sushi and Burrito), before taking historic rival Thin-Crust Pizza down to well-done town, 2,217 to 1,597.
In the championship, it was Buffalo Wings over Cheeseburger in an epic battle of new(ish)-school bar snack vs. old-school American classic. Wings ultimately polished off Cheeseburger at the ding of the timer, 1,183 to 980.
Thanks for playing! And big ups to DEVOUR for making this series possible. You can find crave-worthy DEVOUR takes on many Final Fork competitors (from Italian Sausage Lasagna to White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Bacon) in your freezer aisle. Here’s one last comment for the road:
Hey, there’s always next year, pal.
Hunter Slaton is the Content Director for Studio@Gawker.