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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

L says …

I love jalapeno pickle slices and avocado on my burger.

Cindy says …

The best burger toppings are often inside the burger--use buffalo meat mixed with chili powder and worchestershire sauce, salt & pepper, and finely chopped grilled onions and/or bell peppers. Form into patties and grill, then top with pepper jack cheese and thin round slices of grilled sweet potatoes seasoned with jamaican jerk. Just the best!

christina says …

I like to keep it simple. Raw onions, cheddar, bacon and tomato. Maybe a little ketchup.

Susan McCardell says …

Best burger ever - into a pound of beef stir in a few heavy dashes of soy sauce, two tablespoons of prepared tahini, 3 cloves finely minced garlic and 3 diced green onions. Grill and top with cool cucumber slices and heirloom tomatoes. yum

K. Schwary says …

I like it with avocado, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, mayo, mustard and ketcup.

Aaron says …

applewood smoked bacon and a really good blue cheese, lettuce tomato & onion rings.

antona says …

I keep the burger simple, mixing in salt, pepper and minced garlic as I make the patties. Then top burgers with tomato, lettuce and avocado!

Yelena says …

I love a medium rare burger topped with spinach/artichoke lightly sauteed in garlic topped with melted fresh mozzarella. It is lovely!

Jan Mari says …

We used to drive 82 miles for Cesar Burgers in Oklahoma City. I live in Illinois now and I make my own. Thick juicy grass fed beef, grilled of course, topped with shredded romaine lettuce and my mother's Cesar Salad dressing, and lots of Parmesan cheese on a toasted bun. YUM, I think that will be on the menu this week.

valli says …

pimiento cheese and bacon on top of a medium rare burger that has a little worcestershire and garlic mixed in during the patty making! delish!

cebette says …

I love to grill a whole foods salmon burger and place it on bun of choice topped with chipotle sauce, avocado, sushi ginger, and field greens. Yum!

detroit says …

Black bean burger topped with: avocado slices tomato slices grilled / caramelized onions drizzled with balsamic reduction

Karen says …

I start with grass-fed, extra lean ground beef seasoned with salt, pepper, minced shallots and garlic, grilled medium rare. I top each patty with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms (criminis are fine, but when I'm feeling extra decadent I use shitake mushrooms or a wild mushroom blend), and melted Gruyere. Put that on a fresh Ciabatta roll with dijon mustard and little of that 365 steak sauce( A1 sauce minus the corn syrup)and you have yourself a delicious burger. Pairs beautifully with an ice cold martini made with our local Meydoyoff vodka!

O. Peterson says …

Buffalo Wild Wing Burgers I season my hamburger patties with season salt and grill them and top them with some hot sauce that is used to make Buffalo Wild Wings, lettuce, tomato, and Blue Cheese and serve on a bun.

Patricia says …

I LOVE a turkey burger on a toasted gluten free bun, topped with fig jam, goat cheese and minced fresh basil!

j.J. says …

garlic aioli, smoked blue cheese, flavorful yellow onions, and ketchup.

Candace says …

Grilled Lamb burgers topped with feta cheese and taziki sauce, roasted red peppers and harrisa/hot sauce. Messy but really good.

Juan says …

gotta be blue cheese & bacon

Sarah says …

For all the vegetarians in the house (yes..we do eat veggie patties depending on who you talk to!) my favorite way to do it is: smoked cheddar or gouda (depending on your preference), grilled onions, and some avocado with a grilled bun with a little bit of mayonnaise. This combo is great with either the pre-packaged stuff (like Morningstar) or black bean patty as well! You could switch it up and use grilled mushrooms but I don't think that'd work so well with the black bean patty burgers! If you live in Denver, Wazee Supper Club will make a veggie burger pretty close to this!

Brenda says …

I use grass fed beef. I season the burgers with salt and pepper, grill for about 10 minutes turning once. Toast the buns on the grill. Top the burgers with a salsa verde made with green chile, cilantro, lime juice and cumin. Add cheese if you like. Yum!

Alison says …

Hatch green chiles.

Jenny says …

Wait? You haven't tried elk patties? That's my vote, but if you still insist that I submit a condiment instead of a meat, I suggest Red and Green Tomato Relish as the unusual one.

Heather McMullin says …

My favorite is a ground turkey (not all white meat) burger (finely chopped Vidalia onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and Worchestershier) with melted Brie and whole Cranberry Pepper Jelly Mayo!

sm says …

Burger au poivre -- all the way! Coat a seasoned burger with a good amount of coarsely ground black peppercorns. Sear in a hot cast iron pan to give the burger a nice peppercorn crust. Serve with gruyere cheese, homemade mayonnaise, and salad greens lightly dressed with a vinaigrette. A good bun/roll is essential too.

Erin says …

I top the whole foods sweet onion patty with a grilled portabella, home made guacamole and vidallia onion relish. The buttery flavor of the Bella and guac are complimented by the sweet vinegar bite of the relish- it is delish!!!!

Howard says …

What could be better than a high-quality, grilled hamburger? All that really matters is the quality and flavor of the beef, IMHO For me, it comes with: mayo mustard pickles tomato lotsa sliced onions topped with cole slaw (potato salad or chips on the side please) Simple. Delicious.

Gabby says …

I like a Thai veggie burger (chickpeas, soy sauce, peanut butter, carrots, seasonings, a few other things) topped with a grilled pineapple ring, teriyaki sauce, romaine, and mayo.

Brian says …

Bacon, bacon, and more bacon!!

Toni says …

My favorite burger is a mix of 85/15 beef & whole foods black forest bacon and jalapenos, covered in grafton vermont cheddar and homeade bbq. YUM

SB Cee says …

My favorite topping is simple- cheddar cheese and a touch of Beaver creamy horseradish.

Stephanie says …

i like to use a veggie burger, top it was chive and basil flavored goat cheese spread, crispy friend onions, tomato and some lettuce. i like to put it all on top of a pretzel roll! delish!!

Jennifer J. says …

I like to start by mincing garlic and onions very fine and mashing them into my patties. Then I slow cook some onions and cremini mushrooms until caramelized. I use some really good swiss cheese to top off the burgers just as they're about done cooking so that the cheese and the burger are melted into one. I love to use just a little bit of butter on poppyseed buns and toast them on the grill for one minute before assembling all of them. I top it with a little Hellman's olive oil mayonnaise and a few jalepenos. Mushroom swiss with a southwest twist!

Anna says …

I am a dietitian and recently did a TV segment on a healthier hamburger since May is National Hamburger Month. I found a recipe for a blueberry burger that was delicious. The burger combines beef, 1/3 cup blueberries, garlic, dijon mustard, worchestshire sauce and salt/pepper. Then we placed the burgers on sandwhich thins with spinach, tomatoes, bean sprouts and topped with spicy mayo (mayo and Sriracha sauce). Yum!

Curtis says …

I dress my burger with Ketchup, Mustard, Cheddar Cheese and twice fried french fries or onion rings.

Erin says …

I like a turkey burger with crumbled goat cheese, and some all natural mayo and ketchup mixed together :-) Also some sweet potato fries on there! Oh and carmelized onions, that's it! :-)

Patti says …

Slice Gouda, but the real secret is in the sauce! Made up of the following: mayo, minced garlic, orange juice, chopped chipotle peppers and chopped cooked bacon. It's amazing!

Kelly says …

Pimento Cheese!

Stacey says …

I take extra lean turkey meat purchased at Whole Foods, and add a squeeze or two of ketchup, a nice amount of bbq sauce, a few splashes of worsteshire sauce, one or two splashes of soy sauce, add diced onions and small cubes of pepperjack cheese. Mix all the ingredients together, form your patties and grill to your preference. The cheese melts inside the patty so no need to worry about adding some on the top (unless more cheese is desired). Depending on the mood, I can go with or without the bun. Top with a slice of fresh tomato, lettuce and avacado! For an extra kick you can add some jalepeno slices:) Easy, healthy and delicious. This one never dissapoints!

Mark W. Johnson says …

Sliced Mango, cream cheese and bacon!

Kelly says …

My favorite is a caprese burger with pesto aioli, fresh mozzarella, a couple slices of heirloom tomato and pieces of fresh basil on a beef or chicken patty make the perfect summer burger :)

Trish says …

Simple--avocado, cheese, and Whole Foods 365 organic ketchup!

Christina P says …

My favorite burger has to have bacon, blue cheese crumbles, frizzled onions, and cole slaw! The flavors and textures are incredible together!

Kay says …

I love burgers with guacamole on top!

tara says …

We've been eating bison burgers with caramelized sweet onions, avocado, swiss cheese, tomato, and whole grain mustard lately. (Bacon optional!) So delish!

Alexandra says …

Our favorite is a beef burger on a cuban roll with "caramelized" onions and Rembrandt extra aged gouda. For the onions, I dice one red onion, then saute it with a little bit of butter. When the onion is wilted, I add a nice pinch of course sea salt, some fresh ground pepper, and about a quarter cup of aged balsamic vinegar. Cook the onions until the vinegar has evaporated. Meanwhile, grill the burgers, and when they are almost done, add a few slices of the gouda to the top, and put the rolls (lightly brushed with olive oil) on the grill. To assemble, put the burger on the roll, and pile on the onions. Delish!

Tina says …

Black bean burger w/ sprouts, lettuce, tomato,cilantro jalapeno humus & roasted pablano peppers.

Toni says …

Roasted red peppers, little bit of pesto and sharp provolOne!

Michelle says …

Best burger is an 85% grass-fed beef burger grilled to just well done. Top with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, touch of horseradish, a slice of beefsteak tomato, mushrooms if you like them or not, 2 pickle slices, sweet peppers (not green peppers) and mustard. Absolutely stellar!

Marcy says …

This summer my favorite burger toppings combination is (on any grass fed beef burger patty with a grilled Whole Foods Brioche Bulkie Roll): - Roasted eggplant (sliced, lightly brushed with oil and roasted in oven or on grill) - Sharp cheddar cheese slice - Lightly grilled onion (thin slices, full circle slices placed on grill for a couple minutes) Delicious!

Kim says …

Try this for burger toppings: thick organic avocado slices, grilled kale, thick heirloom tomato slice, and goat cheese. Flippin' fantastic!

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