It’s National Burger Day!

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Today is National Burger Day and with Memorial Day weekend, many people will be grilling outdoors.  While going through some cookbooks in my Culinary Cellar, I came across my favorite burger cookbook.

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I’ll tell you why it’s my favorite.  Not only are there great award-winning burgers in the book, but one of them happens to be mine that I would like to share with you.  I was honored to be selected as a contestant in the cook-off back in 1998.  Sutter Home Winery is the sponsor of the contest, which it started in 1991 as a way to promote their food and wine philosophy.  Contestants are encouraged to develop an original burger that pairs well with wine.

My burger is definitely different, but maybe that is also why it won the Judge’s Award for Creativity and $1,000.

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My burger is German-inspired, called “Sauerbraten Burgers.”  The patties are beef with additions of onion, pickles, sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard, crushed gingersnaps, lemon, ginger, and celery seed.  While grilling, the burgers are basted with a mixture of Zinfandel, dill pickle juice, liquid from the sauerkraut, cloves, ginger, and instant espresso.  Lastly, Muenster cheese is melted on the burgers.  Topping off each burger is a sour cream and dill horseradish sauce and served on rye bread with red lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and red onion slices.


Burger photo

Sutter recipe


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The original cookbook is a hardback, but in 2005 the book was reprinted into paperback.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I received the paperback in the mail with the following inscription:

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James McNair, the great cookbook author and judge of the contest from the beginning, not to mention a very nice man, sent this to me.  It’s one of treasures of my Culinary Cellar!

Do you think you make a great burger?  Would you like to have a chance at winning a grand prize of $25,000 or four runner-up prizes of $1,000?  Guess what?  You have until July 31st to show off your burger ideas.  Sutter Home is still sponsoring the Build a Better Contest, looking for your best burger to pair with wine.  Go to the Sutter Home website to read the rules and go for it!

If you are very interested in cooking and have never competed in a contest before, then you should be introduced to the cooking contest world, where there is a lot of money, products, and other great things to win, not to mention a way to make lots of new friends.  Go to the country’s premier cooking contest website, Cooking Contest Central to learn about how to join the contest world and get your cooking chops moving!  There are millions of dollars to be won.  Why not go for it?

In the meantime, have a great weekend and go “build a better burger!”


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