Recipes: Emeril's Best Burger Ever Challenge

In June, "Good Morning America" launched Emeril's Best Burger Ever Challenge. "GMA" narrowed the list to five semifinalists, and you voted for your favorites.

Allison Koplan's Stuffed Bacon-Cheddar BBQ Burger, Suzy Tarnowski's Texican Burger, and Tina Osborne's Bruschetta Burger came out on top. And today in Bryant Park, Emeril Lagasse announced the Burger Queen:
Allison Koplan and her Stuffed Bacon-Cheddar BBQ Burger.

You can find all five of the semifinalists' burger recipes below.

STUFFED BACON-CHEDDAR BBQ BURGER

Allison Koplan, Tampa, Fla. This is a good old-fashioned barbecue bacon burger, but the way the cheese and bacon taste at each bite, along with the soft, sweet barbecue onions makes my family go "WOW!"

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chuck

1 lb. ground round

2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

2 tbsp. garlic salt

8 oz. block of sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 medium Vidalia onions, sliced

1 tbsp. butter

1 bottle of sweet barbecue sauce (of your choice)

Hamburger buns

Lettuce (optional)

Tomato (optional)

1/2 cup Onions

1/4 cup Barbecue sauce for basting

Directions:

Combine ground round, ground chuck, salt and pepper in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the coarsely shredded sharp cheddar and cooked bacon pieces. Let bacon and cheese mixture sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to get soft. Then, shape mixture into balls (for however many burgers you would like to make).

Form 2 patties of meat and place one cheese/bacon ball in between them. Pinch the sides together to seal in cheese ball. Gently press formed patty, to spread out cheese ball. Continue until all patties are formed.

Cook burgers on grill over medium flame for about 7 minutes on each side. While burgers are grilling, slice sweet Vidalia onions and saute them in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter. Once onions become translucent (about 4 minutes), add some sweet barbecue sauce.

Flip burgers, and baste the cooked side of the patties with the same sweet barbecue sauce used in the onions. After about 7 minutes longer, the burger should be done (these are big thick burgers and may take longer to grill to your liking). Baste again with sweet barbecue sauce before removing from grill. Butter hamburger buns and place on top rack of grill for several minutes, until toasted.

To build burger, take toasted bun, add patty, and top with smothered barbecue onions. You can add tomato or lettuce, if you'd like, but the flavors are great without them.

SOPRANOS ITALIAN-STYLE BURGER

Rocco Giuseppe Poveromo, Wilmington, N.C.

Burger Ingredients: 1 lb ground pork

1 lb ground beef

½ lb pancetta

6-8 cloves of garlic (chopped)

1 medium onion (chopped)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ cup Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

½ cup grated carrot

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup grated asiago cheese

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

Ground black pepper to taste

Salt to taste

1 tsp oregano

Splash of red wine (Cabernet, if available)

Topping Ingredients: 1 healthy slice of fresh mozzarella cheese

1 roasted red pepper

1 slice "joisy" beefsteak tomato

red tip curly lettuce

2 basil leaves

2-3 arugula leaves

2 anchovy filets

homemade fresh Genovese style pesto sauce

"Whacking" Ingredients: Pinch of paprika

Pinch of grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch of salt and black pepper

All "laid to rest" on a seeded Kaiser roll

Directions:

Add 2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil to a medium hot 12-inch skillet. Add the chopped pieces of pancetta to the skillet and saute, do not brown. Add chopped onion and saute until sweated. Add the chopped cloves of garlic, and saute the mixture until garlic becomes fragrant. Remove from heat, and immediately add the chopped basil. Allow mixture to cool.

Combine beef, pork and pancetta mixture in a large mixing bowl. Then add the following burger ingredients: carrot, parsley, Parmesan/asiago/goat cheeses, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, ground black pepper/ salt to taste and a splash of wine! Combine all the ingredients, using a large rubber spatula (not by hand). Refrigerate the entire mixture in clear plastic wrap for at least 90 minutes.

Preheat and season grill. Form ½ lb patties and grill on each side for 6-8 minutes. Remove from grill.

COOK'S NOTE: You may add slab of fresh mozzarella cheese now and melt over the top of the burger in broiler OR just enjoy the burger with the fresh mozzarella as is, cold from the refrigerator!

TO ASSEMBLE: Spread both sides of Kaiser roll with homemade pesto sauce. Add red leaf lettuce and place patty on top. Place the slice of tomato and healthy slab of fresh mozzarella cheese, then top with fresh arugula, basil, roasted red pepper and finally, thin filets of anchovies! You finally "whack" the soprano's burger (or in Emeril's words, "BAM" the burger) with a pinch of paprika, oregano, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and ground black pepper.

SUZY'S TEXICAN BURGER

Suzy Tarnowski, Cypress, Texas

Ingredients: 1 lb. ground chuck

1 cup crushed corn tortilla chips

½ cup chopped onion

1 egg

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp chili powder

4 toasted bakery buns (spray inside of buns with butter flavored cooking spray and toast on grill 'till lightly browned)

Jalapeno mayonnaise (recipe follows)

Shredded cheddar cheese

One large avocado

Shredded lettuce

Salt to taste

Combine first 10 ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix with hands until combined. Shape beef mixture into four round patties. Cook over medium high flame on grill for 5 mins per side for medium doneness or longer, if desired.

Jalapeno Mayo: ½ cup mayo

1 tbsp minced pickled jalapeno (about 5 jalapeno slices from a jar)

1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp prepared minced garlic

Combine ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and chill until ready to use.

To assemble burgers, spread mayo on toasted buns. Add patties and top with shredded cheddar cheese and lettuce and avocado slices on top of the burger, plus a little salt and pepper on top of the avocado. Top with bun and enjoy!

HONEY-PEPPERED PORK BURGER WITH FRESH PEACH RELISH

Laureen Pittman, Riverside, Calif.

Burger Ingredients: 1½ lbs ground pork

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

2 tsp ketchup

1-2 canned chipotle peppers, chopped finely (use 2 if you like it spicy!)

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

3 tbsp honey

4 onion rolls

Peach relish (recipe follows)

1½ c shredded green cabbage

Peach Relish Ingredients:

2 large firm-ripe peaches, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 tbsp chopped red onion

2 tbsp honey

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Pinch (or more) cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In large mixing bowl combine pork, coriander, garlic, pepper, salt, ketchup and chipotle peppers. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the honey in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Add mustard to the honey and mix well. Add the honey-mustard mixture to the pork. Using your hands or a fork, work the pork mixture until all ingredients are well combined, but do not over mix.

Shape the pork mixture into 4 patties, about ¾ to 1 inch thick. These burgers can be cooked on a grill, a grill pan or in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Do not cook over high heat because the honey in the burger may burn.

Cook each burger about 5 minutes on each side or until nicely caramelized (dark golden brown) and cooked through. Serve on toasted onion rolls and top with fresh peach relish and shredded cabbage.

RELISH: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined. The relish should still be chunky (small chunks), not pureed. The relish can be made a day ahead and kept in refrigerator.

BRUSCHETTA BURGER

Tina Osborne, Madison, Ohio

Burger Ingredients: 1 lb. ground chuck

8 tbsp. blue cheese

Garlic salt, to taste

Italian dressing

1 tomato (seeded and diced)

4 tbsp. sweet onion, diced (Vidalia is good)

3 large fresh basil leaves, chopped (place leaves on top of each other, roll, slice thinly)

1 loaf French bread

1-2 cloves fresh garlic

Olive oil

Directions:

Pat out ¼ lb ground chuck and make a little well in the center. Put 2 tbsp. blue cheese inside well and bring sides of burger in to cover all of cheese with burger or it will leak out. Pat out a little more and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Cook burgers on grill or in grill pan (try to only turn once to seal in juices and keep blue cheese from leaking out).

While burgers are cooking, mix chopped onion, basil, tomato and Italian dressing in bowl and let flavors blend. Right before the burgers are done, split loaf of bread and brush with olive oil and lightly toast on baking sheet. When bread is toasted, remove form oven, and rub with peeled garlic clove; cut into fourths. To plate, place both slices of bread on plate; toasted side up. Cut grilled patty in half and place each half on bread slices (everyone gets two!). Let the cheese ooze out, then top with bruschetta topping. Enjoy!

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