By Monique Harrison
CORINTH – Since Danny Conniff left his hometown of Corinth for the bright lights of Birmingham several years ago, his taste buds have had one major craving.
“Slugburgers are good stuff,” said Conniff. “They’re made from leftover meat and from cornmeal and flour. It’s deep fried. You want them a little crisp on the outside and dry and meaty inside – not too greasy. If you get one that’s a little too greasy, you’ve got bad news.”
Conniff said his taste buds got nothing but good news Saturday at Corinth’s annual Slugburger Festival.
“They know what they’re doing,” said the 34-year-old, who was accompanied at the festival by his 5-year-old daughter Sara.
Conniff was one of several thousand festivalgoers attending the ninth edition of the festival, where about 5,000 of the delicacies unique to the Corinth area were served up.
The three-day festival kicked off Thursday and continued through Saturday, with live music nightly at the Corinth Depot.
The slugburger is made not from slugs but from a mix of soybean meal, beef trimmings and multiple spices.
The burger, which is a staple at several locally owned Corinth restaurants, was first popularized during the Great Depression, when residents were forced to serve it for economic reasons. Because it was not a genuine beef hamburger, it was quickly dubbed a slugburger. A slug is a metal, nickel-sized coin that people sometimes try to pass off as a genuine 5-cent piece.
“They’re good, as long as you serve them with mustard, lots of onions and pickles,” said Jamie Timbes, who cooked and served the burgers Saturday afternoon.
Non-purists sometimes try to add other condiments.
“We have people that ask for mayonnaise and ketchup,” Timbes said, laughing. “But we don’t usually do special orders.”
For the finicky eater, however, Timbes does keep a small bottle of ketchup on hand.
“That’s not how they are usually eaten, though,” Timbes said. “Usually, we try to stick with the basics.”
But festivalgoers devote their time to more than cramming down slugburgers.
“Honestly, this is an excuse to have a festival,” said Debbie Adams, manager of the Downtown Corinth Association. “When it was being planned, everyone tried to decide what was unique to Corinth. And naturally, the slugburger came to mind. We just built a festival around it.”
Youngsters said they were more impressed by the carnival, which featured a variety of rides and games.
“I had to shoot these cans, and I shot two down at the same time,” 7-year-old Tasha Carroll said as the Corinth-based group Symphony belted out ’50s hits on a nearby stage. “But my daddy helped me or I wouldn’t have done it.”
The Corinth resident took home a pair of blue-and-black feathers for her efforts.