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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

Franne S. says …

My favorite burger has my homemade Pimento Cheese on it, small amount of mayo and ketchup all on an English Muffin...it's a messy delight.

Doreen says …

Really like to make a patty melt-grilled onions, with a burger topped with cheddar cheese. After preparing the burger-put the burger on buttered rye bread, top with the onions, and grill the whole sandwich.

Dawn says …

Avocado, goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, and lettuce, on a sesame seed bun. Soooo good!

Heidi says …

Of course, begin with a fresh organic, grass fed beef or buffalo burger patty from Whole Foods Market. I also love Dave's Killer Bread hamburger buns for a little extra flavor, crunch and fiber that adds to an exquisite burger experience. Caramalize 1 or 2 organic Whole Fods yellow onions in a tablespoon of good olive oil for about 25 to 30 minutes in a large skillet. Halve fresh organic peaches and toss them onto the grill for just a few minutes on each side until they are warm, juicy and have grill marks on the fleshy side. Remove from grill and slice into medium thin slices, then fan them out on your almost done burgers that are still on the grill. Layer on the caramelized onions and sprinkle with a bit of Oregon Blue gorgonzola cheese. Close the lid of the grill until the cheese is just melted and slightly bubbly. Slather a bit of organic stone ground mustard onto the buns, and top with a couple of freshly washed crisp dark green lettuce leaves. I usually love grilled sweet potatoe fries on the side of this outdoor dish, with a dab of homemade peach or tomato chutney for dipping. Serve with a glass of chilled Oregon Rose wine and Enjoy!

Amy says …

Veggie burger with vegan cream cheese, fresh jalapenos, a little red onion, couple of sauteed mushrooms...and maybe a hint of bbq sauce! YUM!!

Elizabeth says …

My new favorite is a caprese burger... toppings are fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato, and basalmic glaze.

Patti says …

Best Tex-Mex Burger 90/10 Burger meat, salt pepper - grill Top with refried beans and queso (American Cheese, butter, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos) Now add small Fritos on top of cheese Smear buns with Avocado. Yum Yum!

Matt Brown says …

I put green apple guacamole on a burger. Here's the recipe: 1 green apple, peeled and chopped in small pieces 1 avocado 2 tablespoons of cilantro 1 tablespoon of lime 1 jalapeño chopped (optional) Mix all the ingredients together and you have green apple guacamole.

Nicola Gabriel says …

I will only eat burgers that have awesome toppings - my current fave is a spicey morrocan salad called matbucha (mat-book-ah), I make it myself, it is simple to do and the ingredients are easy to find at Whole foods. It elevates a boring old burger to gourmet level - yummy!

Catalina S says …

Homemade turkey burgers topped with gouda cheese, avocado, tomato, arugula, bacon and a homemade cilantro sauce. yum...

Amanda says …

okay i know this will sound crazy, and I am not an adventurous eater but I did try this and loved it! Hamburger with peanut butter, fried banana's, and bacon! I NEVER would have imagined that peanut butter would be so good on a burger!!

James says …

Mix 1/3 ground lamb with 2/3 ground beef. Top fresh-baked bun with: 2 slices of brie. 2 slices of bacon. Beer battered fried onions (3-4 thin rings). Mache. Black Krim heirloom tomato slice, salted and peppered on both sides. Garlic and pesto aioli. Eat with delight, delirium, and deliciocity.

Sheena says …

My fave is a Salmon Burger with Scallions topped with: •Avacado •Feta •Mayo Sauce, which consists of: Mayo, Scallions, Black Pepper, & a generous squeeze of Lime Top it off with a few sprigs of Cilantro & a squeeze of Lime on a Toasted Whole Wheat Bun... & bite into heaven!

Suzanne says …

Turkey burger - mix ground turkey with fresh onion (chopped), a variety of spices including oregano, garlic, chili, cumin. Make oven roasted potatoes for the side, with the same spices. Top the burger with sauteed mushrooms, cheese, lettuce, tomato and of course a pickle on a big, beautiful kaiser roll!

Donna says …

My favorite burger is grilled in a cast iron pan or over charcoals to medium rare. Then topped with my son's pickles ( www.greenhollowsf.com/), chopped sauteed shallots, slices of fresh avocado and heirloom tomatoes, and a garlic aioli.

Michele Rolfe says …

Salmon Fillet Burgers w/Chipotle Mayo on Chibatta Rolls This is my personal creation- Lightly toasted Chibatta,with Chele's Chipotle Mayo sauce Shredded lettuce, red onion rings thinly sliced, grilled salmon filets bushed with Chele's tequila lime marinade add slice of Havarti cheese during last minute of grilling to melt. Serve with sides of quacamole,chipotle mayo sauce spiked with fresh cilantro, fresh lime slices to squeeze over hot salmon with harvati, place on Chibatta and serve with Chele's homemade Chipotle Pico De Gallo. Or a fruity version Chele's Chipotle Mango/Peach Salsa,enjoy! Recommend Black bean chips and roasted red pepper chips for a side...

Emma says …

my best dressed burger starts with organic beef - 80 or 85%, mixed gently and quickly with black pepper & worcestershire sauce (no salt, since the W. sauce has quite a bit already in it), grill to medium well, serve on a homemade bun (Bittman's no knead bread recipe is great for this, just cut the dough into smaller rounds, and proof & bake from there). When we don't have the foresight to make our own buns, then a lightly toasted batard makes a close substitute (but we never use soggy bagged buns). Lightly toast the insides of the bun (or baguettte) & put a thin coating of pesto mayo & serve the burger on the bun, stacked with fresh tomato, onion, applewood bacon, hunks of avocado (lightly salted), & a thin slice of a sharp cheddar cheese on the underside. I'm a ketchup purist, so organic ketchup on mine, but a grain mustard on DH's. We both like a full sized deli pickle on the side :)

Patti Sarno says …

I just like them simple. Grass-Fed Beef (or Buffalo or Turkey), a little salt and pepper then garnished with Swiss Cheese, fresh onion slices, Tomato and lettuce on an onion roll! Gotta be Medium-Rare! Hopefully this is not a recipe contest!

Naomie says …

Avocado Tomato Bacon Blue cheese

Erin says …

We love just a classic bacon cheeseburger at our house, but we have added our own twist. You have to start out with a really tasty bun, then patty out a half pound grass fed beef with half pound bacon(chopped up in food processor). Season with blackening season(1 tsp each:cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, black pepper, salt). Melt a slice of smoked gouda on top & finish that great burger with lettuce, tomato, pickle & jalapeno!! I know what's for dinner tonight!!!!

Scott says …

Teriyaki SALMON BURGER (from Whole Foods seafood section)on homemade buns. (Mine): Topped with Lettuce, thinly sliced roma tomatoes, spoonful of Whole Foods prepared guacamole and a pinch of alfalfa sprouts. (Wife's): Topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and homemade organic tri-colored bell pepper and lemon relish.

j'me weaver says …

before making my perfect burger i take my burger patties out approximately 1- 1 1/2 hours before cooking time and i marinade my patties in vinegar, and worchestire sauce until cook time. while cooking/grilling the patties i place a few slices of fresh onionon top of them and when the burger is finally finished i immediately place a few slices of cheese on top. it is now time to "dress" my burger 1.i first put a little mayo on both sides of my bun 2.i place my burger on the lower bun and put it aside until i am finished "dressing" the rest of it. 3. next i spread alittle guacamole on the top bun only. 4. next i put about 4 pickles on the top bun also. 5.ketchup and mustard are a must so they come next. 6.i usually like a few shredded potatoes on top of my burger also but it is optional. 7.i then put a few roasted mushrooms on my bun and i place the top portion and bottom portion of my burger together...You now have My Perfect Burger. 8. IT IS NOW TIME FOR YOU TO EAT YOUR BURGER ! ;)

Allison Simon says …

An 80/20 burger topped with two slices of American cheese, salt, pepper, potato chips, and pickles on a whole grain seasame bun - delicious!

Stanley Kong says …

Usually when I dress my burgers, id always buy the best local ingredients. For a family or friends bbq- niman ranch beef, organic portabello mushrooms, kosher pickles or dill, napa valley dijon mustard, organic ketchup sans high fructose corn syrup,homemade mayo, aioli sauce, organic spinach, grilled onions, beets, yellow peppers, several types of cheese-sharp cheddar, pepperjack, gorg, blue cheese, provolone, all from local businesses or farmers, worchestershire sauce, hass avocado, bacon-prosciutto, fried egg, black truffles, lobster tail or shrimp -only for special occassions. for sides-steak frites, sweet potatoes, or beer batter onion rings

Sagan says …

Ground, lean turkey meat with chopped Parsley, cilantro, & onion as the Burger. Juicy, red Tomato slices, arugula, organic red onion, fresh cilantro, crumbled goat cheese all on a whole grain, sesame seed bun :-)

Lisa says …

beef burgers grilled and topped with an organic fried egg, organic cheddar cheese,red onion,coleslaw and siracha sauce!

Aria says …

A kobe beef burger with black truffle shavings in the beef mixture topped with wild arugula, followed by a slice of truffle cheese to add an earthy and pungent aroma and flavor, followed by a bun with melted truffle butter to enhance the buns flavor. On the side you get beautiful white truffle infused french fries and thats done by adding a touch of white truffle oil to the fries after they are done cooking. Talk about pure love. Lets see who can top this burger!!!

Sonia says …

Medium well burgers topped with melted swiss cheese, garlic infused mayo, grilled onions, avacado slices, a tomato and applewood bacon. Yum!

petia modarelli says …

I top my burger with blu cheese crumbles, bacon, onion rings, and bbq sauce YUMMY!

Philonda Short says …

I like to top my burger onion rings lettuce Tomatoes and ranch dressing Yummo

Catherin says …

Peanut butter, bacon, strawberry jam.

LW says …

I have a Japanese inspired burger: I top my burger with some pickled Japanese vegetables, and wasabi mixed into some mayo.

Philonda says …

Oops i forgot the cheese so its Cheddar cheese onion ring lettuce tomatoe and Ranch Yummo

Monica says …

Seasoned Turkey burger -- topped with creamy balsamic vinagrette mixed with crushed corn flakes, and small, sweet, yellow onion, thin-sliced crispy onions rings (crisped in butter)! mmm-mmm-mmmm!

Jameil says …

Pepper jack, avocado, & pico de gallo. So. good.

natasha f says …

Burgers: 1 lb beef, salt and tellicherry black pepper to taste, diced portabella mushrooms, diced red onions, and small cubes of sharp cheddar (or guoda) cheese, minced garlic...mix together and form patties. Sear each side to lock in flavor and moisture. Toppings: Sliced onions, cajun mayo (cajun seasoning and mayo blended together), two strips of nicely fried bacon, a slice of pepperjack cheese, spring mix lettuce, and a little roasted garlic that's been sliced. Any bun works well although I prefer a ciabatta bread or onion roll. Delicious!

Suzy says …

Bison patty, topped with caramelized red onions, bacon, avocado, tomato, and ranch dressing.

Rosann Parrinello says …

Organic turkey burger toppped with homemade buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese crumbles.Lightly grilled Ezekiel 4:9 hamburger/sandwich thins.

Bry says …

5 pounds of grass fed beef. mix with fine chopped green onions, chives and parsley and 2 organic eggs. add some goat milk to it for additional flavor. add one garlic boursin to this mix and stir it good. make burgers of it and bake them in real butter (kerrygold grass fed butter preferred). once burgers are done you serve them on home made "bread" made with coconut flour (no grains). on bottom part bun you add 2 slices of imported dutch "graskaas" (grass cheese), then burger on top of it and the another 2 slices of imported dutch "graskaas". enjoy.

Jennifer says …

Everyone absolutely LOVES my teriyaki burgers. Ground beef is marinated with 1-2 Tbsp of oyster sauce (found from your local Asian market), minced brown onions, 1 egg (to keep moisture)and cracked black pepper. The buns are grilled with a light smear of mayonnaise around the edges to give it a crisp. Top bun in the following order: beef patty,baby swiss cheese, grilled red onions, sauted mushrooms,drizzle homemade teriyaki sauce (or a really good restaurant bought sauce), slice of tomato, and butter lettuce. I kid you not, people will go crazy over this!

Deborah says …

Our family favorite: Balsamic marinated portobello mushroom grilled to perfection. Basil-walnut pesto (or Bear Pond Cilantro Pesto for a speedy shortcut), fresh mozzarella and a ripe tomato on toasted english muffin. A perfect blend of flavors!

carrie says …

wild boar meat, baby swiss, bourbon sauted mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, pineapple, haas avocado, canadian bacon, fried and apple smoked onions, roasted red peppers and ranch dressing

anne says …

I prefer vegan spicy black bean burgers (black beans, brown rice bread crumbs, egg replacer, red pepper, jalapeno, onion, cumin) topped with fresh avocado slices, homemade cannellini bean hummus, and pea shoots. Yum!

Lori Thomas says …

Mix of 60/40 ground beef and pork, chopped yellow onion, Worcestershire, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, 1 egg. Mix, grill and top- Topping: Rich & Creamy Cilantro Sauce 1 cup chopped cilantro 1/2 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup walnuts 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 medium orange, about 3 tbsp 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 1/8 cup water 1 spring fresh rosemary, about 1 tsp, chopped salt & pepper to taste (taste, adjust, taste again, taste again, and again…) Pulse all ingredients together with a food processor or immersion blender, until mostly creamy- some chunks of walnuts add to the texture. Trust me, your taste buds will never taste anything quite as good again... (May also layer on sliced heirloom tomato, crisp butter lettuce, and a dash of balsamic vinegar.) DELICIOUS.

Margo says …

organic turkey burger with cranberry jelly Avocado, brie and mixed greens. This is yum with or without the turkey!

niza moore says …

cow meat , peppers , salt n oil, butter , n bbq , hot saure , n a hot brun bun , yummy

rachael stephens says …

heirllom lettuce, purple cheroke tomatoes, rosemary grilled vidalia onions, and stuffed ,not topped with rougue blue cheese,bubblies horseradish sauce, and petersons black forest bacon crumbles, with sweet potato and plantain chips acompanied by a curry ketchup

Mary says …

Pepper Jack Cheese, a little Meyer lemon oil, jalapeños and fresh avacado...great on beef, turkey or veggie burger grilled!

Sunnie says …

I love an organic turkey burger from Whole Foods topped with grilled eggplant, marinara sauce, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil served on a Food For Life sprouted grain bun. It has so much flavor and is also healthy!

cecilia says …

I love making fresh sweet potato black bean burger's and topping it with cheddar cheese, avocado or guacamole and homemade ketchup! Yum!

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