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Could your hamburger be worth $25K?

Be a contender in Sutter Home's Build a Better Burger competition

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTOS - Devon Delaney of Westport, Conn. is a finalist in the 2014 Build a Better Burger competition. Her burger is called the Tidal Wave Butter Burger.

Do you make a good burger?

Can you create a burger worth $25,000?

I just got word that the finalists in the 2014 Sutter Home Family Vineyards Build a Better Burger recipe contest have been announced. Five creative burger makers from across the nation will compete for $25,000 during a final cookoff in May.

Sutter Home has been hosting the Better Burger contest since 1990. It was a genius move on their part: Get people to pair Sutter Home wines with America’s favorite food, the burger, to clear away the mystery associated with drinking wine.

You don’t have to wait for a special occasion, or even the weekend — you can drink wine everyday with your most ordinary meals. During the 25 years the contest has been held, more than 10,000 people have entered. That’s a lot of positive exposure for the wine industry.

This year’s beef finalists include Ann Elkina of Famington Hills, Mich., for her Whistler Village Poutine Burgers; Jennifer Gentry of Steamboat Springs, Colo. for her Apres Ski Triple Ginger Bacon Burgers; Priscilla Yee from Concord, Calif., for her Chorizo Beef Burgers; Harrison Wheeler of Boynton Beach, Fla., for his The Heart and Soul of Korea Burgers; and Tidal Wave Butter Burgers, created by Devon Delaney of Westport, Conn.

At the final event on May 15 at the Trinchero Family Estates’ hospitality center in St. Helena, Calif., each of the finalists’ burgers will be prepared by Sutter Home’s culinary team and judged. The winner will receive $25,000; $15,000 will be awarded to the first runner-up and $10,000 will go to the People’s Choice winner. Voting for the People’s Choice Award will take place at Sutterhome.com beginning April 1.

Every year when they announce the finalists, I am a little green with envy. If I entered, I bet I could be a contender, but you can’t win if you don’t enter, as the saying goes.

Could 2015 be my year — or yours?

Start experimenting with your own burger concoction. Deadline for submissions is Sept. 8. Prizes for the 2015 contest include a $25,000 grand prize, $5,000 for the winner of the People’s Choice Award and $1,000 toward the purchase of Weber products. There is also a Build a Better Burger text-to-win sweepstakes for the chance to win $25 grocery gift cards.

To learn more about the Build a Better Burger Competition and Sutter Home wines, visit buildabetterburger.com.

To give you an example of the competition you’ll face, here is 2014 finalist Devon Delaney’s recipe for Tidal Wave Butter Burgers.

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!

Tidal Wave Butter Burgers

I have a great love of surf-and-turf dinners. I also love grilling my own crab cakes, so I wanted to bring all these inspirations together in a full-flavored burger. The butter burger is something I was taught by my mother as a great way to make the Worcestershire sauce rich and perfectly complimentary to the beef. The spicy watercress salad goes so well with the crabmeat and the zesty lemon caper mayo is a natural for surf and turf!

Serve with Sutter Home Chardonnay. This recipe serves  6:

PATTIES: 2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean); 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened; 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce; 2 teaspoons sea salt; 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

LEMON CAPER MAYONNAISE: 1/2 cup mayonnaise; 1/2 cup cream cheese; 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice; 2 tablespoons capers; 1 tablespoon country grainy mustard; 1 tablespoon apricot jam; 1/4 cup crushed roasted seaweed snack sheets, crumbled

WATERCRESS SALAD: 1 cup fresh watercress leaves; 1/2 cup chopped celery; 1/4 cup diced red onion; 2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper, chopped; 1/2 cup ripe tomato, chopped; 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 1/2 teaspoon sea salt; 1/2 pound lump crabmeat; vegetable oil, for brushing the grill; 1 (7 ounce) Président Brie wedge, sliced; 6 King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Hamburger Buns


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the patties, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly but gently and form into 6 burger patties to fit the rolls. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the lemon caper mayonnaise, thoroughly mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the watercress salad, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Mix the crabmeat with 2 tablespoons of lemon caper mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill and cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. In the final 2 minutes of cooking, place the buns on the outer edges of the grilling rack to lightly toast.

To assemble the burgers, spread the inside of the toasted buns with lemon caper mayonnaise. Place a scoop of watercress salad on each bun bottom, followed by a scoop of crabmeat blend, a patty, and equal amounts of sliced Brie. Add the bun tops and serve.

Devon Delaney, Westport, Conn.

Barb Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or by email at brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com. Follow her on Twitter@barbrandallfood.


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