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Top This: A Burger Contest

By Elizabeth Leader Smith, April 29, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Elizabeth Leader Smith

A few months ago we had an unseasonably warm Sunday. It was the sort of spring day when I open as many windows as possible in hopes of airing out the stale winter air that inhabits the house from fall through winter.

By midafternoon, the beloved scent of barbeque wafted through the open windows, tickled my nose and ignited my appetite. With simply a hot grill, some meat and veggies, my neighbors had officially kicked off grilling season.


Read on to find out how you could win a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card for your next homemade hamburger dinner.

One of many reasons I’m an ardent fan of grilling is because you can make a fuss-free meal and it doesn’t have to be boring or bland. Take the hamburger for example. Over the years, my husband and I have experimented with lots of different recipes in hopes of creating the best burger ever.

During this quest for perfection, we’ve tried (and enjoyed) lamb, grass-fed beef, portobello mushrooms, turkey and black bean patties. But where we’re able to truly elevate our burger is in our choice of topping. Roasted red peppers. Goat cheese. Savory and sweet relishes. Bacon. Chipotle-spiked mayo.

Surely the world’s perfect burger must include some of these. At my house, we haven’t discovered the ultimate burger topping but we have enjoyed the search and are looking forward to another grilling season of tasting our way through more potential winners.

If you too are on a quest to build a better burger, here are a few of our favorite recipes to inspire you.

Wow your dinner companions with beef burgers topped with cherry-spiked mustard, sweet grilled onions and tangy blue cheese.

Portobello and Pineapple Teriyaki Veggie Burgers offer a delicious family-friendly option without the meat.

Fans of cheese and bacon step forward and try these hearty and flavorful Gorgonzola and Smoky Bacon Burgers.

Raita, a cool cucumber and yogurt sauce, makes an ideal complement to the spicy patties in this lamb burger recipe.

The touch of finely chopped habanero pepper may be just the thing to make Turkey Burgers with Roasted Pepper and Avocado Salsa a star at your table.

Enjoy the fresh flavor of a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich straight from the grill with this burger version.

Do you shake up the standard condiment rundown? Share your best-dressed burger in the comments below by June 30 and you could win a $50 Whole Foods Market® gift card.

Let the grilling begin!




JennyM says ...
Gorgonzola and caramelized onions! Or avocado and garlic Veganaise...so many options to top a good homemade grass-fed beef burger or wild Alaskan salmon burger.
05/01/2012 12:38:21 PM CDT
Mary says ...
Medium rare burger topped with shaved Virginia ham, avocado, sprouts & a splash of ranch dressing. Yum.
05/17/2012 7:17:40 PM CDT
Craig says ...
Mayonaise, thin slice red onion, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato.
05/17/2012 7:19:27 PM CDT
Allie says ...
Goat cheese inside, blue cheese on top!
06/02/2012 12:48:33 PM CDT
Jo says ...
I like to top my burger patty with a squirt of a homemade roasted red pepper mayo, a thick slice of fresh burrata cheese, a thick slice of ripe heirloom tomato and top it with a handful of spicy arugula on a homemade herb ciabatta bun.
05/17/2012 9:40:16 PM CDT
K T says ...
I usually start out simple -- just salt, pepper and fresh chopped garlic. Then I measure out my portion, divide it in half and then "stuff" the meat with my favorite cheese, making sure to seal in the yummy goodness. When this is cooked, I have a great cheeseburger that is topped off with grilled onions, grilled mushrooms and sometimes bacon (or avocado). Sometimes, when I feel a little wild, I'll massage in some beer before grilling -- yummy!
05/17/2012 9:59:09 PM CDT
linda says ...
I like to stuff cheese- my fav being feta- inside my burger, topped with basil & a heirloom tomato.
05/17/2012 10:09:30 PM CDT
Dee S says ...
Turkey burgers topped with grilled onions, tomatoes, cheddar and a fried egg!
05/17/2012 11:10:33 PM CDT
Linda Walsh says ...
W love to mix finely minced onions, garlic and worsheshire sauce into the ground beef, then top the burger with blue cheese, onions, tomatoes and lightly toast the bun!
05/17/2012 9:17:58 PM CDT
Merry Graham says ...
I love making an Kalamata, red bell pepper, pepperonccini tapende and spread it on one side of an Artisan whole grain bun, add the burger, and on the other bun is melted Fontina. I add on that side sauteed red onions and arugula. Yum!
05/17/2012 9:27:04 PM CDT
Erich says ...
Patties made with a few different types of ground beef (can even add bison) and topped with pimento cheese and a little sweet slaw. Looking forward to trying it with homemade kaiser rolls.
05/01/2012 11:03:41 AM CDT
Bobbi Dunn says ...
When I want something special, I like stuffed burgers: 2 thin patties with grilled onions, blue cheese, and grilled portabella mushrooms between the patties ... crimp the edges to hold it all inside. Yummo!!!
05/17/2012 8:46:03 PM CDT
Ashley B. says ...
Bison burgers topped with swiss cheese, sauteed green onions and shitake mushrooms, and crisp bacon. Yum!
05/17/2012 7:44:06 PM CDT
Donna Lee says ...
Grass-fed ground beef with some olive oil, grated onion, a little Dijon mustard and salt and pepper - combine with the grass-fed beef. Top cooked burgers with roasted red onions, cheddar cheese and a sauce made of mayo, mustard, ketchup and a drizzle of chipotle chili sauce.
05/18/2012 1:36:59 AM CDT
Phillip says ...
- Garlic California Burger - __________________________________ Toppings: Sliced ripe tomato Thinly sliced red onion Red Leaf Lettuce Black Pepper Dijon Mustard - Start with 93% lean ground beef formed into 5 ounce patties. - Slice raw garlic cloves lengthwise into 1/4" slivers. - Pierce a dozen slivers of garlic into each patty. - Grill over an open flame, being careful not to overcook the burgers. - Serve on your favorite bun and top with lettuce, tomato, and onion. Note that, although the beef is very lean, the garlic will add moisture to the burger, melting away and infusing the beef with a mellow garlic flavor.
05/20/2012 7:09:28 PM CDT
anna pry says ...
Bison burger with mashed avocado and mild corn salsa
05/03/2012 12:52:11 PM CDT
cinnamon says ...
Hi - I like lots of fresh cracked pepper and a bit of roasted garlic mixed into burger and a thin glaze of mustard thinned with wine, grilled
05/18/2012 9:19:09 AM CDT
Cari says ...
My favorite burger a southwwestern pork chorizo burger...is 2/3 ground pork, 1/3 pork chorizo with a little onion, garlic, worscester topped with pepper jack cheese and a green chili aoili!
05/18/2012 9:26:49 AM CDT
Krystal says ...
bison burger stuffed with roasted green chiles, pepper jack cheese, sweet onion on a potato roll
05/16/2012 6:50:59 AM CDT
Charlotte says ...
I like my veggie burgers topped with avocado, sauteed mushrooms and cheese. Yum!
05/20/2012 9:20:18 PM CDT
Tammy Stern says ...
Grass fed beef burgers with sharp cheddar, avocado, tomato, lettuce and chipotle mayo on a pretzel roll bun. Yum!
05/16/2012 8:03:10 AM CDT
Connie O. says ...
We have 2 in this house: Grass feed beef with applewood smoked bacon and good cheese with garden fresh tomatoes..burger is simply seasoned w/salt and pepper and grilled to medium/medium well max. The other fave is a ground turkey burger seasoned with garlic/onion powder, salt and pepper, grilled or cooked in a hot pan with a nice seared and finished in the oven to keep the juices in. Then topped w/a grilled portobello and fresh mozzarella and garden tomato and a dab of homemade pesto...Oh yumm I can go for one now.
05/16/2012 8:59:16 AM CDT
Sarah says ...
Grilled 80/20 beef patties with just a simple salt and pepper seasoning and then topped with smoked cheddar, griled onions and bacon.
05/16/2012 9:12:03 AM CDT
Amy D. says ...
Mine is not terribly creative, but my favorite vegan burger has the works! My go-to toppings are lots of ripe tomatoes, sweet fresh onions, crunchy lettuce (romaine), mashed avocado (spiked with lemon juice), toasted sesame seeds, and spicy mustard on top of a grilled veggie burger - in a seeded whole grain bun. Whew! :)
04/30/2012 8:51:30 PM CDT
wen says ...
I love blackbean with oatmeal as basic ingredients...then, add whatevery you'd like to as spices...yum...
05/17/2012 6:08:14 AM CDT