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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

AnGela says …

Start simple with grass fed ground beef, add a pinch of salt & gently pat into 3in patties, flattening before adding to the cast iron pan lightly coated in coconut oil. Cook for 4 min on each side, don't flip or pat before 4 min! Add cheese slices after you flip - gruyere is nom! In the meantime, toast enough pieces of udi's gluten free bread or if you prefer boston lettuce, wash & pat dry lettuce cups. After the burgers are cooked, set aside to allow juices to redistribute. Use remaining oil in pan to sauté shittake mushrooms. Get out any condiments including home made mayo & ketchup. Invite each guests to create their own masterpiece (toast or lettuce cup, burger with/without cheese, mushrooms & condiments) & voile - a burger that respects the beauty of grassfed beef & is even celiac acceptable!

Jeanette LaMar says …

East Meets West Burger: 1. Reduced Balsamic Vinegar (cook until it reduces to a thick sauce) 2. Crystallized Ginger Paste (Chop Sweet-Crystallized Ginger in food processor to get a fine paste consistency) 3. Alexia Brand Onion Rings 4. Smoked Applewood Bacon (Nueskes is the best) 5. Cracked Course Black Pepper 6. Heirloom Tomato (Black Krim or other Black variety) No - I didn't Forget the lettuce, if you must have something green on your bun, then add some fresh Basil leaves. Personally I prefer to eat my greens in a side salad and not detract from the amazing combo of flavors listed above. Bun choices are very personal choices. I like this burger on a nice Onion or Kaiser Bun. It probably would be tasty on any kind of bun you choose.

Meredith Clark says …

So much goodness to choose from...but to top my ultimate Bison burger, would be: bean sprouts spicy mustard, red onions garlic lettuce yellow peppers and a thin slice of SHARP cheddar! YUM YUM!!!

Zack Blum says …

http://i.imgur.com/gjv2g.jpg?1 80/20 ground beef seasoned with salt ‘n’ pepper Sharp Cheddar Mayo Oven cooked bacon Pretzel Roll from Whole Foods

Sandy Milne says …

My favorite burger is topped first with guacamole, then tomato, lettuce and cheese. It is slightly spicy and delicious.

Cheryl says …

Grilled chicken burger with roasted pineapples with habaneros with lettuce grilled tomatoes and red onions...on crusty whole grain bread

Petal says …

Fresh wild-caught salmon, grilled onions, red peppers, and a thin slice of zuchinni, topped with fresh dill and baby arugula all on a hollowed out slab of crunchy rustic whole wheat bread (or pita) and slathered with homemade tatziki and a squeeze of lemon (whole-grain mustard with a dash of smoked paprika also a good way to go) try it and make sure you have crunchy bread to get maximum flavor profile

Noreen says …

i like mine with carmelized onions and goat cheese.

Rod Louden says …

Rod's killer Paleo Burger. Start off by picking up some killer grass fed beef from Whole Foods. For this recipe, we are going Paleo, so instead of using bread, pick up some butter lettuce to use for buns. Butter lettuce is the perfect size for burgers. Chop up some organic garlic and mix it with the meat with a touch of extra virgin olive oil,sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Now, it's time to make the topping. Chop up an organic avocado and an organic tomato. Mix these with a splash of olive oil, your favorite salsa verde, and/or hot sauce. This makes a delicious and healthy topping. Great tasting, low cal, and great for you!

Jeanine says …

love a good grass fed beef burger topped with cheddar cheese, wasabi mayo on both sides of the bun, grilled onions and cucumber slices and a juicy beefsteak tomato on a lightly toasted sesame seed bun

Katie says …

A Greek Burger! A burger sandwiched in pita bread, topped with fresh tzatziki sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions! Oh so tasty!

Jonathan says …

Black bean veggie burger with pepperjack cheese,sauteed onions,lettuce, tomato, jalapeno,and bananna peppers, jalapeno dressing, sesame seed wheat bread, with pickle on the side

sheila says …

I love bacon and Vermont Cabot Sharp cheddar cheese on top with ketchup!

Chris says …

I have two favorites that are alternatives to your traditional veggie burger. One is a middle eastern burger -- made with chick peas and sun-dried tomatoes -- in a pita with cucumber, tomato, lettuce and creamy dressing. Then there is the super protein burger -- made with quinoa, tofu and peanut butter (among other things) -- on a bun with ketchup, lettuce and tomato.

Trippy says …

Top the grilled grass-fed burger with a little spicy BBQ sauce some caramelized onions, grated smoked Gouda, and finally crumbled cooked bacon. Back on the grill just to melt the cheese then serve with a toasted whole wheat bun with just a hint of mayo. The combination of flavors is incredible!

Suz Goodman says …

Take a burger grilled medium add a slice of cheddar cheese, mayo,chopped pickle and chopped grilled pinapple, mixed all together with chopped red onion and grilled corn kernals, YUM!

Katie Hoffman says …

Turkey burger on the grill, add about 4-5 leaves of fresh basil,add grilled red onions (from the grill) and top all of that with fresh mozzarella cheese and melt. Add a dash of good Dijon mustard. If you must use bread, toast some sourdough on the grill also. Yummy

K Dolson says …

Blue cheese inside a burger is the Bomb! Then add some avocado, onion, and mustard ... Now, I'm hungry!

Saskia says …

Umami Burger: burger patty (80/20 meat) , sprinkle some Worchestershire sauce before cooking...once it is done, sprinkle with a pinch of Umami dust (recipe below) and top with gorgonzola, walnut paste (recipe below). Broil for 1 minute. Umami dust: Shitake, Kombu, and bonito ground up into a powder Gorgonzola paste: gorgonzola, cream cheese, and toasted walnuts creamed together into a paste.

Connie McElderry says …

Blue Cheese stuffed Turkey Burgers 1 lb ground turkey 1 egg 1 cup breadcrumb 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tbsp grill seasoning 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp salt 2 tsp pepper 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles 1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt 1 tbsp lemon juice 8 slices bacon cooked till crispy (can use turkey bacon) Your favorite burger toppings (I use carmelized onions on these) Start by mixing in a bowl the Turkey, egg, breadcrumb, oil, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Combine with your hands until all Incorporated. The oil is crucial as the turkey will dry out so be sure to mix well. Make the mixture into 8 equal portions. Separate out half of the blue cheese into a small bowl. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper and mix together. Place in the fridge for as long as possible so the flavors meld. Using your equal parts of meat, make 8 patties. Take some of the remaining blue cheese, and place it in the middle of one of the patties. Top with another patty and seal the edges so the cheese doesn't leak out. Season the stuffed patties on both sides with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes per side. This is poultry so you need to cook it all the way through. It should feel firm to the touch with no give, or with a meat thermometer check that it is 175 in the middle of the burger (not the cheese). You can use beef for these if you prefer.

Portia says …

Cheese, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard, and onion straws.

sheila says …

Grass fed, grilled medium on charcoal grill, served with habanero sauce and sliced avocado. Gobble.

Heather Scott says …

Medium rare burger topped with shaved corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese, with Thousand Island dressing on a rye bun

Darcy says …

Top burgers with carmalized onions, guacamole and veganese mixed with dijon mustard. Instead of using a bun place the burger in a romaine leaf. Enjoy!

Janka says …

Gotta go kiwi style! No matter your burger base, top with: Sliced beets Mesclun or dark greens Sliced ripe tomato Melted cheddar (or vegan) cheese Garlic aoli Deliciousness with a twist

Heather says …

Onion Jam, applewood smoked cheddar, applewood smoked bacon with a cajun/black pepper rub, a little bbq sauce

Lindsey D. says …

Salt and pepper with Worcestershire sauce marinade, grill to perfection. Top with avocado slices, tomato slices, and Havarti cheese, enclose all of the above with a toasted whole wheat bun. Yumminess for ALL ages!!

Yuichi says …

Burger (ground beef mixed with some smoked paprika) topped with Grilled Kale tossed in caesar salad dressing(garlic, mayo, parmesean cheese, worcestershire sauce, lemon, S&P), Caramalized onions, mustard on a whole wheat bun.

Rose says …

My fav is an adaption from Chloe's Kitchen, a vegan cookbook, hers is double Double Drive-thru Burgers. Mine is "Double Trouble Drive-In Vegan Burger." It is double "meat", double bun with lots of sloppy sauce, the burger is made of seitan, nuts and veggies. The sauces contain tofu, nutritional yeast. It sounds horrible but I would "double dare" ya that it willl be one of the best burgers, esp healthy, you ever ate. And I'm not vegan!!!

Tonylee says …

smoked gouda chipotle mayo applewood bacon caramelized onions

Nila says …

Ground beef 90% and ground pork 10%. Grilled to perfection (medium) and then the freshest lettuce, tomato, onion, thousand island dressing on a toasted sesame bun. The best!

Brandi rakita says …

Mushrooms onions red pepper and galic sauteed then mixed with a little cream cheese salt and pepper

Ginny says …

Pepperjack cheese, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, grilled jalepenos & salsa

maureen says …

WF's great burger seasoned w s&p,sauteed or baked to taste, topped with a melange of sauteed mushrooms(cremini,button, portobello), a slice of smoked goat or mozzarella, a slather of ajvar(pepper&eggplant spread)and a slice of roasted tomato(garlic p&s), on a whole wheat bun.

Adrian Paul says …

My favourite is the NZ burger. You have to try it to believe it is good. Top a beef patty with: a fried egg, slice of beet, fried ham, avocado, tomato, lettuce, cheddar, relish, and aioli sauce.

Mark D says …

Fresh ground chuck mixed with crumbled applewood smoked beacon, grated sharp cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Form into generous sized patties, prepare medium on a hot direct grill and serve on a toasted bun with beer battered onion rings.

josh says …

add some montreal burger seasoning to a WF burger then onto the barbeque with melted medium cheddar cheese, a leafy green such as romaine, at least two sizely tomato slices, thinly sliced pickles, and grilled onion slices, all on a whole wheat burger roll.

kristen says …

I'm a simple girl. My favorite is lamb burgers. We raised some of our own lambs last year. Take the ground lamb (add ground beef for some moisture) s&p. Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion. I put mayo, but my family says thats gross! They use ketchup. :)

Christine says …

smoked gouda on top!

Lee J says …

Bison burger: Ground Bison with crumbled feta and spinach Yoghurt sauce with lemon, dill, mint Tomatoes Cucumber Red Onion Managed to make and grill some up in Chicago in a freak 80 degree March weekend! Enjoy!

Renee says …

My family's favorite burger is ground turkey, egg white, bread crumb, and Greek oregano. Extra juicy and awesome taste!! Optional toppings: raw spinach and mustard, and red onion.

denise oreilly says …

Top a classic grilled beef burger with Grilled mt. vikos halloumi, carmelized onions and fig jam.

Tom says …

Start with a LB of good quality ground beef(if you can grind your own)mix in minced fresh garlic,salt & pepper and form 2 or 4 burgers,Grill burgers to medium rare.Slice & cook a medium/large onion in Buffalo wing sauce(I use Franks Hot Buffalo).On a nice & crusty Kaiser,lay a leaf of boston lettuce,then the burger and smear with some Buffalo sauce,pile on some buffalo-ized onions and top with a heap of crumbled blue cheese..mmmmmmm! My wife likes to throw a big slice of tomato on top of the Blue cheese....If you want to,I suggest a slice of an authentic Jersey Tomato - a nice red Rutgers! and to wash it down..a ice cold bottle of Blonde Wheat by High Point brewing co.

sandra says …

Simply bacon, lettuce and tomato with horseradish spread

Heather S says …

I like to top my burgers with a garden fresh slice of tomato, avacado, black bean salsa and red leaf lettuce.

Debra says …

I top off my burger with cole slaw, honey mustard, tomato, grilled sweet onions, mozzarella and cheddar cheese (1 slice each) and smoke bacon on a lightly toasted bun. YUM!

Laura says …

I keep it pretty simple, but if the ingredients are fresh,it's perfect: lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado.

steph says …

guacamole, cheese and mushrooms...or sometimes nothing beats just ketchup!

Kelly says …

I like to mix up a grass fed beef burger with Dijon mustard, then top it with a slice of provolone, some lettuce, tomato, and pickles.

Jerri Grern says …

I love my veggie burgers w/provolone, tomato pesto, & carmelized onions and baby bellas. My hubs likes real meat with cheddar, BBQ sauce & bacon. See pics here - http://www.cooking4carnivores.com/2011/02/two-burgers-two-ways.html?m=0

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