$100,000 burgers

Lexington Herald-LeaderFebruary 18, 2014 

Chipotle bacon maple jam burgers with creamy blue cheese and pear, spinach and hazelnut salad. Photo from Sutter HomeChipotle bacon maple jam burgers with creamy blue cheese and pear, spinach and hazelnut salad. Photo from Sutter Home


America's highest paying burger contest has named 10 finalists who will compete for a $100,000 grand prize in May.

The Sutter Home Build a Better Burger recipe contest cook-off will be held at the Sutter Home Winery in St. Helena, Calif. on May 17. Five finalists have combined beef and jam in these recipes for chipotle bacon maple jam burgers; Lone Star hoss burgers with smoky bacon cheese spread and apricot and onion jam; over-the-top truffled burgers with caramelized balsamic onion jam, roasted garlic aioli and goat cheese; Mexicali burger with esquites (a Mexican snack) and pepita crema; savory French toasted burgers with seasoned arugula, bacon-shallot chevre, and merlot mustard.

Five recipes competing for the $15,000 prize in the alternative category are: Barbados tuna burgers with caramelized orange and ginger-garlic aioli; sour apple pork burgers with Cheddar cheese, cayenne-apple-candied bacon, and potato chip-onion haystacks; red lantern lemongrass-glazed chicken burgers with shiitake mushrooms and sriracha mayo; German currywurst burgers with tomato curry-ginger jam, curry-glazed pork skins, and sweet pepper, apple, and fennel slaw; and "chicken dressed as duck" burgers with spiced cherry mostarda and orange-thyme aioli. Go to Buildabetterburger.com for the finalists' recipes, including this one:


Chipotle bacon maple jam burgers

Chipotle bacon maple jam:

10 ounces bacon, sliced crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces

1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1 tablespoon adobo sauce

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup Sutter Home zinfandel

Large pinch kosher salt

Large pinch freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Pear, spinach, and hazelnut salad:

1 cup julienned pear

1 cup baby spinach

1⁄3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts

2 tablespoons finely minced onion

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Large pinch kosher salt

Large pinch freshly ground black pepper


2 pounds ground chuck

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped

3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

6 ounces Maytag or other blue cheese, crumbled

6 bakery white hamburger buns, split

11/2 cups sour cream and onion potato chips

Heat a grill to medium-high.

To make the jam: Heat a large fireproof skillet on the grill. Add the bacon and cook for about 5 minutes or until just starting to crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet, leaving the rendered fat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds. Return the bacon to the skillet and add the syrup, chile, adobo sauce, vinegar, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry, add a little water. Stir in the mustard and set aside.

To make the salad: Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

To make the patties: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.

To cook the patties: Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, top the patties with equal amounts of the cheese and place the buns, cut sides down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers:Spread a generous layer of the jam on the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom place a portion of the salad, a cheese-topped patty, and some of the chips. Add the bun tops and serve immediately.

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