Build A Better Burger

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Book review of Build a Better Burger - Celebrating Sutter Home's Annual Search for America's Best Burgers, plus free sample creative burger recipes.
The quintessential American dish, the hamburger, has come a long way since the norm was a thin patty of beef sandwiches between a white bread bun with a splash of ketchup. This book represents the best of the best of nouvelle burgers in all their glorious forms, made from all kinds of ground meats and even seafood!

Each year thousands of cooks, both amateur and professional, compete in the Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest. The Sutter Home Family Vineyards in gorgeous Napa Valley, California hosts the annual regional winner-takes-all cook-off. This book celebrates the contest's 15'th anniversary, with 44 prize winning recipes spanning the contest's history.

The collection represents the cream of the crop from the more than 50,000 contest entries since 1990. There are burgers flavored with nearly every ethnic style on the globe such as Cubano Pork Burgers, Tuscan Burgers Bruschetta, Casablanca Burgers with Citrus-Olive Relish and Harissa Aioli, or Indian Burgers with Grilled Banana Raita; as well as new takes on old standards like Chipotle-Honey BBQ Bacon Burgers with Gorgonzola Cheese, Fresh Salmon Burgers with Lemon Cilantro Mayonnaise, or Grilled California Avocado BLT Burgers with Caramelized Chipotle Onions.

In addition to the 44 prize winners, twelve former contest judges share some of their favorite burger recipes. These are superstars in the culinary world including Bruce Aidells, Mark Miller, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, Marion Cunningham, the author James McNair, and more star chefs.

Each and recipe is photographed in glorious full color by Noel Barnhurst. I actually got hungry while perusing these pages and had to fight off a serious urge to immediately go out and get a burger - although I don't know of any restaurant burgers that could hold a candle to these innovative creations.

To complement the burgers, Sutter Home's culinary director and executive chef, Jeffrey Starr, offers general advice on pairing wine with burgers and also suggests a specific type of wine for each of the recipes (nothing too specific, for example, Chardonnay, or Zinfandel).

Author James McNair has served as a head judge of the Build a Better Burger contest since its beginning, supervising both the regional selection process and the cook-off judging. He now works as the chairman of the national contest.

Sample Recipes:
See the Related Recipes section below for sample recipes from this book.