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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

Katrina says …

We like to mix in with our beef a bit of finely shredded onion (almost juice like) and a bit of garlic. The main topper is the usual items to taste but often feta and fresh basil.

Char says …

We don't top as much as stuff. We prefer Whole Food's ground buffalo. From a pound of that, I make 4 thinnish patties. On two of the patties, place your ingredients - we love Greek burgers, so I use flavored or plain feta cheese, minced red onion, chopped Calamata olives and a few bacon bits. Top with the remaining two patties, pinch edges well and reshape into thick patties. Spray or rub tops with olive oil, sprinkle with Cavender's Greek seasoning, and grill to your liking. We prefer them bunless, with tzatziki on top, and served with a Greek salad on the side. OR taco burgers - same idea, but stuff with shredded 3 cheese Mexican blend, chopped mild canned chiles, some sliced green onions; form as above, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Top with chipotle aioli (mayo mixed with minced canned chipotle chile/sauce or some chipotle-flavored hot sauce.

Becca says …

I love a burger with zesty flavor! We always mix our grassfed beef with homemade BBQ sauce. Then we usually cut the patties in half, flatten them out, put cheese and Applewood bacon on the bottom patty and then put the top patty over it for a stuffed burger. I may have to change my plans for dinner tonight!

Rebecca says …

On an slightly toasted onion roll - medium rare burger with guacamole, roasted onions, smoked gouda, lettuce and tomato.

Alan says …

I like to cut up onion and mix it in with the burgers. Other than that, I keep things pretty standard.

Stephanie Daniels says …

Our household favorite is grass-fed ground beef mixed with salt and pepper and stuffed with blue cheese, topped with a balsamic glaze, onion and tomato. Délicieux!

Sharon Pellino says …

Grass fed beef burgers medium well with Montreal Steak seasoning and Worchishire sauce. Top with grilled onions, applewood smoked crisp bacon, your choice of cheese. Place on a bun that has been buttered and toasted in the oven. Yum! A little garlic aoili if desired! Enjoy!

Carol R. says …

Organic turkey burger with a little chutney blended into the ground white turkey, topped with lettuce, home-grown tomatoes and veganaise; and for the bun, a whole grain bun with olive oil spread lightly, toasted in a pan.

Terri B says …

My favorite homemade burger is a turkey burger (I prep my ground turkey with beef base to give it extra flavor) topped with crisp bacon, gruyere cheese, a fried egg, grilled onions, roasted garlic puree, a little bit of mayo & ketchup, all on a pretzel bun. It's to die for, but seriously a once-a-year kind of burger!!!!

Candy says …

I always out grilled pineapple and bbq sauce on my burgers.

Davina says …

Medium rare burger lightly seasoned. top with the filling of about 10 black mission figs mashed up and spread over burger, sprinkled with goat cheese, and layered with mixed greens. Little light mayo on a sesame seed bun and you're good to go!

Chrissy says …

Grass-fed beef burger topped with pimento cheese and pickled red onions. Simple and delicious!

Erika Moog says …

I have done beef and lamb burgers but mix in chopped onions,garlic, worchester sauce, liquid smoke, and tear up bacon then make pattys. Amazing! Its hard to buy a hamburger at a restaurant now because I love mine. Top it off with sauteed mushrooms, and add lettuce, tomatoe and ketchup or bbq sauce

linnette says …

Best burger with smoked gouda caramelized onions bbq sauce lettuce tomatoes between two portabella mushrooms

Melinda says …

My favorite is burger made of ground turkey mixed with bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and tomato paste. It comes out extra juicy and delicious this way! I slap it on a whole wheat bun with crisp fresh baby spinach and vine-ripened tomato (and sometimes BBQ sauce). The turkey burger is so juicy and delicious!

Julie says …

Gotta have ketchup, lettuce, tomato & avocado.

Karil Whetstone says …

sirloin burger monterey jack cheese cheddar cheese bacon whole green chille sliced onions sliced black olives sliced tomato taco flavored sour cream / mix sour cream with taco seasoning

Nia says …

The burger - turkey(ground turkey,kosher salt, sage, ground black pepper,olive oil) carmelized onions, yellow tomatoes,apple-smoked bacon, and gruyere on top of a lightly toasted buttery brioche slathered with a thin layer of Hellman's (or Duke's) mayonaise with a drizzle of honey.

jo says …

I love a burger with granny smith apple slices and blue cheese. so amazing and with that creamy cheese and the crunch of apples. perfection.

Scott G says …

Grass Fed Beef Caramelized Onions Blue Cheese Mushrooms So delicious...

Sokha McCarthy says …

Dress burgers with tropical taste, organic papaya sliced and grilled pineapples.

Debbie Chioffe says …

Sauteed Fresh Mushrooms and White Onions...as well as Raw Purple Onions and Sliced Avocado and Chopped Fresh Cilantro, some curry powder and cumin sprinkled on and a bit of horseraddish mayo! WOOHOO!

Steph says …

My new favorite burger is what I call the Ultimate (Vegan) Veggie Burger. Homemade veggie patty with spinach, peas, and corn, topped with vegan homemade Thousand Island dressing (Vegenaise, WFM 365 OG ketchup, and WFM 365 OG dill relish), carmelized onions, chopped Napa cabbage, sweet pickle slices, and tomatoes! Yum!

Kelly Pierce says …

We start out with 100 percent grass fed ground beef from America’s Grass Fed Beef sold in Whole Foods. I then add onion, organic parsley, oat bran, ground rosemary and thyme. If I have any, I add nettle root powder for energy throughout the day. I live vertically in big city Chicago so grilling is limited. Instead, I use a cast iron skillet and coconut oil in summer or grass fed suet in winter. The patties are slow and long. After 15 to 20 minutes, they are done and eaten open faced on a plate. The flavors are amazing!

Alison says …

My "once in a while gotta have it" favorite is a burger with lots of peanut butter and bacon. Banana and/or cheddar are optional. Sounds crazy, but it's delicious.

Marianna says …

I love ground beef or turkey burgers with spinach, feta, black olives + a fresh tomato!

Jerry C says …

Building the best burger requires skill and determination. First toast the bun on all sides. On the bottom bun mustard ketchup & caramelized onions. Next the beef Pattie

E.J. Nichols says …

Cook burger, on grill, sprinkle, blackened seasoning on both sides, top with ham, slice of american cheese, slice of alpine swiss, sprinkle on shredded cheddar, lettuce, tomato, lots of "Dukes", mayonnaise, oh, and don't forget to toast the bun!!!!

annie s. says …

My favorite combination is definitely a backyard, charcoal-grilled burger with 1) a buttered & toasted bun, 2) caramelized onions, 3) Pt Reyes or Rogue blue cheese, 4) a smear of garlic mayo, 5) lots of fresh arugula, and the secret ingredient: 6) roasted chipotle jam. It's CRAZY-good, one of the best things I've ever eaten!

Jessica Tunon says …

Brie Roasted pepper ketchup Avocado Sprouts Organic spring mix

Scott @ The Healthy Eating Guide says …

I'm a fan of keeping it simple: grass-fed sirloin mixed with a little salt and pepper, topped with some sauteed onions and sliced avocado with a sprinkle of lime on a whole wheat bun.

Reva says …

My favorite is ohsheglows best veggie burger topped with avocado, spinach, red onion, and hummus

Claire says …

Brie & fried egg!! Yum!

rickey jenkins says …

Darn near burnt 10% off the mark blue cheese lettuce swiss cheese mayo and tomatoe with onion is ole fashion truth .... A real burger .

Mary says …

I love to grill Plant Burgers made with roasted beets, lentils, cashews, mushrooms, onion and seasoning - all blended together in the Vitamix. So easy and flavorful!

Holly Cooper says …

Swiss cheese, mushrooms and sauteed onions. Yum!

Jerry C says …

Building the best burger requires skill and determination. First toast the bun on all sides. On the bottom bun mustard ketchup & caramelized onions. Next the beef patty cooked to perfection and topped with aged cheddar cheese. And at last the real toppings, my personal favorites: slices of crispy bacon, beefsteak tomato and iceberg lettuce. The top bun slathered with mayo. That's it!

Kate says …

Best Burger : Buffalo burger on a Macrina potato bun with heirloom tomato, grilled onions & mushrooms with arugula and melted galaxy mozzarella cheese! That's usually PERFECT but you can also drizzle a little mustard or balsamic & olive oil if you'd like. In a word... AMAZING!!!!

Dawn Scire says …

Sauted mushrooms and onions, swiss cheese, thinly sliced tomatoes, kale, a touch of mayo and ketchup. Yum.

T. Earp says …

I love freshly ground beef, cooked medium with the following: GF barbeque sauce grilled onions grilled mushrooms bread and butter pickle slices garden fresh tomato lettuce slice of sharp cheddar cheese from humanely treated dairy farm (ie 365 brand) sliced avocado all on a Udi's bun! YUM!!

Jerica says …

mid-rare Grass-Fed Beef Burger Ciabatta Bun (dig a little bit of bread out of the bun to make space for the burger): smeared avocado (on bun) melted gruyere 1 slice black forrest bacon grilled vidalia onion Egg- over medium sliced roma cracked black pepper *Carefully top together into a tasty masterpiece*

Iphie says …

Caramelized onions or thinly sliced red onions, depending on what I have on hand, sauteed mushrooms on a brioche hamburger bun are my favorite.

Bridget says …

Black bean burger with kale, hummus, and beef steak tomatoes! So yum!

Erica says …

Wasabi-turkey burger topped with mayonnaise, black sesame seeds, and shredded daikon on a crusty sesame seed bun. Yum!

katherine garcia says …

Burger with pineapple and provolone cheese!

Janet Spiegel says …

Serious yum...organic grass-fed free range beef. The meat flavorings: mix into raw meat 1 egg, finely chopped onions, worsteshire sauce, montreal steak spice. Sear burgers over grill. Top with shredded 4 cheese or brie, whole seed dijon, bbq sauce, sweet relish, grilled onion, grilled mushrooms & grilled tomato. Mouth watering.

Linda W. says …

I love the works! Lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo and ketchup, a slice of American cheese. Maybe some roasted red peppers too.

Mindy says …

grilled red onion and spicy aoili

Peggy Morris says …

I like to top my burger with some freshly grated cheddar cheese, "mashed" avacado, grilled onions and just a tiny bit of ketchup/mustard/mayonnaise mixed together and spread on a toasted whole wheat bun.

Sally S. says …

I like a "California" style burger, with a slice of Vidalia or other mild onion, slice of tomato, slice of green or red pepper, and a small dollop of plain or flavored mayo. (I use turkey or chicken for the burger.)

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