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Friday, August 14, 2009

Build a Better Burger 2009

How is it possible that one, little burger can cause such a fuss? Well, if you are aware of Sutter Home Wine's annual Build a Better Burger competition then you already know the answer. Since 1990 Napa Valley has been home to one incredible burger recipe throwdown, with the grand prize for the best beef burger a whopping $50,000.00! Another prize for the best alternative burger sits at $10,000.00!
I entered the beef competition.
The funny thing is, I'd never made a beef burger before I decided to enter. I know what you're thinking. (Well, maybe I do.) You're thinking, "What makes her think she could win with ZERO burger experience?" Well, you're right. But then, maybe not! When I set my mind on something, I give it my all. I went through a good twenty lbs. of ground beef, and another 5 lbs. of ground tenderloin butt (that's filet mignon!) experimenting my rear off with flavors, textures, cooking times and styles. If it makes you feel any better, I've gained about 10 lbs of cattle-weight.

Finally, after flopping the umpteenth burger I'd made, an idea hit me. What about something featuring Sutter Home Wine's sweet, tropical Chenin Blanc white wine? Bright, clean, crisp were the notes that danced on my tongue. Mango, mint, habanero and micro greens all came together in a bun to create a delicious masterpiece of a burger that had no name to speak of. Missing elements, like crisp, salty bacon and creamy smoked gouda cheese were invited to the party and viola!, the burger I would enter into the competition came to life. The final name, Smokin'-Spicy Mango Bacon Gouda Burger of Paradise.
I held numerous tastings and always received positive reviews. Surely my burger will win, they said. Now, as the announcements are an arm's length away, I am hoping they were right. To date, there are six days left before they announce the five beef-burger finalists who will be flown to Napa Valley to cook their burger for a panel of judges. Head judge James McNair stated in a podcast that they have wittled three-thousand entrants down to thirty, and will narrow it down to the last ten, five beef and five alternative. He also said that about half of the entrants were automatically disqualified for not following the rules. Yikes! I am on pins and needles wondering if I even made it to the preliminary judge's table.
Until August 20th friends. Wish me luck!


Brett_Y said...

GOOD LUCK! Great post on your process for the contest!

If you have a second, please go to and vote for my "Asian-Spiced Cashew-Chicken Piadinis"! I have a chance to compete at the Pillsbury Bake-Off if I win the online vote! This is the first time that they're letting America choose!

--Brett Youmans

B. Salazar said...

Brett, thank you for your compliments and I am happy to say that I have just voted for you! I saw the picture of your Piadinis, and WOW talk about gorgeous food. I hope to see you representing Reading, PA with pride on the stage. Good luck and let us know what the outcome is!

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