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Top This: A Burger Contest

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.

Hurrah!

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, 2012 and you could win a $50 Whole Foods Market® gift card. Update: The contest is over. Thank you to all who participated.  

Let the grilling begin!

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460 comments

Comments

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.

Mary says …

Medium rare burger topped with shaved Virginia ham, avocado, sprouts & a splash of ranch dressing. Yum.

Craig says …

Mayonaise, thin slice red onion, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato.

Allie says …

Goat cheese inside, blue cheese on top!

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.

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!

linda says …

I like to stuff cheese- my fav being feta- inside my burger, topped with basil & a heirloom tomato.

Dee S says …

Turkey burgers topped with grilled onions, tomatoes, cheddar and a fried egg!

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!

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!

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.

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!!!

Ashley B. says …

Bison burgers topped with swiss cheese, sauteed green onions and shitake mushrooms, and crisp bacon. Yum!

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.

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.

anna pry says …

Bison burger with mashed avocado and mild corn salsa

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

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!

Krystal says …

bison burger stuffed with roasted green chiles, pepper jack cheese, sweet onion on a potato roll

Charlotte says …

I like my veggie burgers topped with avocado, sauteed mushrooms and cheese. Yum!

Tammy Stern says …

Grass fed beef burgers with sharp cheddar, avocado, tomato, lettuce and chipotle mayo on a pretzel roll bun. Yum!

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.

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.

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! :)

wen says …

I love blackbean with oatmeal as basic ingredients...then, add whatevery you'd like to as spices...yum...

Vanessa says …

Grass fed burger topped with swiss cheese, thinly sliced red onion, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, red or green leaf lettuce, sliced avocado, thick slice of brie, roasted red pepper aioli, on a buttered and toasted brioche bun. Seems like a busy burger, but it sure is delicious. Good day, everyone!

Carla says …

Grassfeed beef topped with feta, dab of hummus, greek olives, roasted peppers, cheddar, and onion. Yum!

John says …

Gourmet Burger: Nothing too crazy, lets the beef shine. 80/20 Grass-fed Ground Beef (ground to order if possible) Onions finely chopped Fresh Garlic Garlic Powder Handfuls of flat leaf parsley Ritz Crackers smashed Egg for binding Splashes of worshestire (however you spell it) SALT and Pepper Mix all the together in large mixing gently not overworking it. Salting is most important and I usually salt and pepper the patties afterwards as well. Let the patties rest a little at room temperature and get to work on aioli. I usually do a carmelized onion aioli by reducing down a full white onion and a little garlic and splash of worsheshire for color as well. Sear patty on screaming on pan, I usuaully put Havarti or sharp cheddar, but if you want more meltiness a processed cheese is best for it. Cheese goes on bottom!!! top fresh med cooked patty with ketchup, carmelized onion aioli, a little yellow mustard, then nice little spring mix on top with a large tomatoe slice and flat cut pickles. good luck! This can be adapted for a healthier bigger by mixing in ground turkey and using bulgar instead of crackers.

Raymond says …

I'm a purist so for me it's med rare grass fed beef, bacon (first boiled then fried which will produce the best tasting, crispiest and least fatty bacon you've ever had) and a slice of american cheese on a potato bread bun.

Ken D says …

I often go crazy on the toppings, but really; sometimes just a spread of mayo under a perfectly medium rare burger with some sharp cheddar cheese is too perfect in it's simplicity.

Aimee says …

Dr. Praeger's Veggie Burger on Udi's Rice Bread with Dijon mustard, guacamole, sprouts, arugula, soy cheese, & red onion.

Ryan says …

My favorite burger starts with grass-fed beef, 80/20 or 85/15. From there, mix in some rolled oats and Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Grill to medium rare, then place on a fresh grilled roll of your preference, I prefer a good Challah roll and top with roasted jalapeno (seeded and peeled), brie cheese and a couple slices of avocado. That's all that is needed! Try it, you won't be disappointed!!

Julie {BananasForBourbon} says …

My favorite burger toppings are roasted poblano peppers, avocado, and pepperjack cheese. Preferably over bison/wild boar burgers on a sweet potato roll. That's how I do it!

Faith says …

My family's fav are the over-the-top turkey burgers I make! I mix both feta and cheddar cheese in the meat along with oregano, basil, salt, pepper, paprika, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, chives and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Then I top it with white American cheese (pepper jack if I'm feeling spicy) and chipotle mayonnaise. Delish!

robbjunk says …

Turkey burger seasoned with with salt, pepper, chili-p and garlic power topped with Pepper jack cheese, baby spinach, tomato, pickles and mustard.

Erica Young says …

My perfect burger is all about the ARTICHOKE HEARTS! I like to use a kaiser roll brushed with a bit of olive oil, rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt. Add the grass fed organic beef patty and top it off with some artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers. So delicious and flavorful! :)

Alan says …

Nothing beats the taste of the islands! Toppings: grilled fresh pineapple rings, greens of choice, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, and a little dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne. Savory, sweet, and spicy - explosion in your mouth!

melissa smith says …

I like to grill up some zucchini and squash and add them to my burger along with tomatoes lettuce onion turkey burger and bbq sauce all on a whole wheat bun.

Leigh Downing says …

My burgers are lettuce wrapped! For a topping fiesta: red onions, pickles, mustard, avocado, sprouts. I add bacon occasionally for that adventurous cholesterol addict in me that surfaces from time to time....mostly when my partner is watching Storage Wars Texas.

Jacyntha says …

I use spicy mustard, wasabi mayonaise, tomato, pickle, carmelized onions, romaine lettuce, roasted red pepper, and pepper jack cheese on my buffalo burger.

rachel says …

My burgers: Ground turkey with a quarter cup sweet salsa (like a peach or mango salsa), mixed in with salt and pepper, topped with caramelized onions and sauteed apples, swiss cheese and baby spinach on a whole wheat bun.

Krista says …

The ultimate burger that I cannot get enough of is a lightly seasoned buffalo burger topped with blue cheese, crispy pancetta, and a pesto aioli...mmmm delicious

Jack Quick says …

Yellow mustard, carmelized vidalia onions, 365 bbq sauce, and a couple of dill pickle slices.

Sarah Johnson says …

The best burgers are the blue cheese burgers cooked medium rare with saute mushrooms, Swiss cheese, and lettuce on an onion bread hamburger bun. Yum!

Samantha says …

a little whiskey steak sauce on the bottom of a kaiser or potato roll, grass-fed beef patty, spanish onion confit with thompson farm bacon crumbles, melted blue cheese and bok choy chiffonade. Wowza!

Tiffany Temple says …

Blue cheese stuffed burger! Simple GREATNESS

Brooke says …

pretzel bun, spicy mustard, swiss cheese, sauteed onions, lettuce and tomato

Stacie Strittmatter says …

I like spicy n cheesy yum a little pickled jalapeno some fat free swiss cheese lettuce tomato mustard n mayo katsup done eat yummmy

Arlene M. Baladi says …

My favorite burgers are topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms, American cheese, mayonnaise, and ketchup on a fresh baked panini!

Ana Chiu says …

Hawaiian style - grass fed burger with a runny fried egg and gravy on top.

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