The Burger Debate of 2008

September 28, 2008 at 1:43 pm (Napa Valley) (, )

So I was one of the lucky few to attend the 18th annual Sutter Home Build a Better Burger competition yesterday – a competition that seeks out the best burger maker in the US.   This years theme was along the lines of “Americana”, the burgers that best represent a home town, state, or region.  It was the perfect day:  good weather, great food, and fab friends. 

There were 10 total contestants: 5 “Alternative Burgers”, which can be made of any type of meat (like pork, seafood, lamb), and 5 “Beef Burgers”.  And guess what…we got to taste them all, AND VOTE for the People’s Choice Award. 

All of the judges are culinary professionals – from cookbook authors to restaurant owners – and the Burgers are judged on a 50 point scale from the following attributes: 
Visual (10 points)
Ease of preparation (10)
Creativity (10)
Taste (20)

If you want additional information about the competition you can click on the link below which will take you to the web-site.
http://buildabetterburger.com/

The following is the orders the burgers were presented to each table and the judges.

Alternative Burgers:
1.  Ocean State Swordfish Burgers wih Tangy Apple Tartar Sauce – Valerie Szlatenyi, Wakefield, RI
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Chardonnay
2.  Tidewater Boil Burger with Charred Sweet Corn Salsa and Lemon-Lime Crem-onnaise
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Chardonnay – Susan Scarborough, Fernandina Beach, FL
3.  YooperSausage Burger with Mustard-Zin Mayo – Lisa Huff, Clive, IA
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Zinfandel
4.  Kansas City BarbequePork Combo Burger with Barbeque Bean Spread and Piccalilli Slaw – Kathleen Stubler, Kansas City, KS
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Zinfandel
5.  Ole Mole Chicken Burgers with Pepita Pesto and Tomatillo Slaw – Sharyn Hill, Las Cruces, NM
Suggested Wine Pairing:  White Merlot

My favorite:  Tidewater Boil Burger – it reminded me of a East Coast Crabl Boil out on the beach.
People’s Choice:  Ocean State Swordfish Burgers with Tangy Apple Tartar Sauce
$10,000 Winning “Alternative” Winner:  Susan Scarborough – Tidewater Boil Burger with Charred Corn Salsa and Lemon-Lime Crem-onnaise

Beef Burgers
1.  New York Steakhouse with Tarragon Mayonnaise and Frizzled Onions – Sonali Ruder, New York, NY
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Cabernet Sauvignon
2.  Palmetto Pride Pimento Cheese Burgers with Tangy Bacon Slaw and Spicy Grilled Green Tomatoes – Mary Thompson, Lexington, SC
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Merlot
3.  Smoky-Sweet Bacon Burgers with Crisp Apple and Blue Cheese Slaw – Jamie Miller, Maple Grove, MN
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Pinot Noir
4.  Bluesiana Burger with Zydeco Sauce, Mardi Gras Slaw and Root Beer Glaze – George Graham, Lafayett, LA
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Cabernet Sauvignon
5.  Hawaii DaKine Burgers with Sweet-Chile Glaze, Ginger-Goat Cheese Spread, and Hot Watercress Salad – Kristine Snyder, Kihei, HI
Suggested Wine Pairing:  Zinfandel

My favorite:  Pimento Cheese Burgers
People’s Choice:  Hawaii DaKine Burgers with Sweet-Chile Glaze, Ginger-Goat Cheese Spread, and Hot Watercress Salad
$50,000 Build a Better Burger “Beef” Champion:  Hawaii DaKine Burgers with Sweet-Chile Glaze, Ginger-Goat Cheese Spread, and Hot Watercress Salad

Guess the People Knew What they were doing on this One!  Thank god, I only ate a bite of each of the burgers, or I think I might have been sick!

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