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Video: 3 TODAY viewers compete for best burger title

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    >>> all right. we are back with today's burger battle live on the plaza. we scoured the country looking for the three best burger recipes from our viewers, and we have found them. so right now we introduce you. l.j. watson from new orleans, louisiana. she lives in santa barbara , california. lance is from greenville, south carolina . lori pagone is from petaluma, california. and the judge today is "today" contributor giada de laurentiis . thanks for joining us. you call this the boyfriend burger ?

    >> i call it the boyfriend burger because my take is once your boyfriend tastes it, you'll get a ring on your finger within an hour.

    >> are you married?

    >> i am not married.

    >> how can that be?

    >> because i don't know how to read the guy's expression on their face.

    >> what is in the boyfriend burger ?

    >> pork, ground pork , italian sausage , beef, an egg. it's really nice. i put some bread crumbs and some tomatoes. worcestershire sauce and wine. mix it up here and make a little patty . put it on the grill for about five minutes or so on each side.

    >> one of the ingredients that caught my attention on your list here, these critters right here.

    >> those little crunchies. you take a bite and get that crunch.

    >> how do you do that?

    >> you get a sweet potato and just make little strips. you deep fry it in oil, put a little salt on it. deep fry in oil, and you have these nice little crispies there.

    >> and you assemble that thing after cooking it. i just want to show people , can we get a shot of what it looks like on the end? is

    >> really good.

    >> is giada , you've already taken a bite. we'll be judging this in a second. sir, let's come to you. what do you call this? the backyard mess?

    >> this is the hot mess.

    >> why do you call it that?

    >> it's a triple l decker hamburger that puts all five senses on alert. start with basically three patties. so you make them a little thinner than you would a normal patty. these are going to be thin because you've got to put your mouth around it.

    >> actually, giada has to do that, but that's okay. what do you top each one with?

    >> i'll take my first patty and put on lettuce, pepper for some space to it. take my second.

    >> how does one get their mouth around this burger ?

    >> you have to push it down really hard.

    >> like that?

    >> there you go.

    >> if you need help, you can have matt help you push it down a little further.

    >> three different kinds of cheeses on each patty?

    >> three different kinds of cheeses. a little bit of cilantro. this is my special avocado spread.

    >> is there onions on here?

    >> you continue assembling that. giada you take a bite of that. i'm going to move down to lori . how are you doing?

    >> matt, i am so excited to be here today.

    >> you combined two of my favorite foods actually, pizza and burgers.

    >> is that's how i came up with this recipe. i love pizza . i love burgers, and i love the taste of a smoky wood fire.

    >> no bun. that's pizza dough.

    >> this is pizza dough, and this is my tomato caesar dressing with sun dried tomatoes, and my secret ingredient is smoked olive oil .

    >> very italian. she made it just for me.

    >> you're assembling that so fast. i want to point something out. you've got cheese in that burger .

    >> when you bite into this burger , it will be a volcanic eruption of creamy camembert cheese .

    >> what else is in there?

    >> all the flavors of the pizza , chopped up black olives , diced red bell pepper .

    >> i'm looking for the cheese. sorry.

    >> i know. it should be erupting right out of there.

    >> you make your own pizza dough or buy store bought?

    >> you can use store bought. i make my own. i love the whole yeasty smell of the dough. and there's some of the smoked olive oil in here.

    >> all right. so giada is now tasting that one. l.j. and lance, come on down here as well. so we have the boyfriend meatloaf burger . we have the hot mess backyard burger . and now we have the west coast grilled pizza burger . giada , you've tasted them all. you are an aficionado. could we have a drum roll , please. the winner of the 2013 best burger competition.

    >> i will say that i love the crispiness in your burger . the boyfriend burger . i like the sweet potatoes . i had a hard time putting your burger in my mouth, but i'll tell you --

    >> why are you crying?

    >> i'm tearing up about how amazing this was. the jalapenos were awesome. and i love yours because i love the pizza . this is a tough one. all right. ready?

    >> no. take your time. go ahead.

    >> well, you were no help.

    >> go ahead.

    >> i think i'm going to have to give it to lance.

    >> yeah!

    >> lance with the hot mess backyard burger . thank you so much. lori , thank you. congratulations, man. you want to thank the little people or anything?

    >> thank you. this is just amazing. i appreciate it.

TODAY recipes
updated 6/13/2013 9:39:34 AM ET 2013-06-13T13:39:34

Recipe: Hot mess burger

  • 3 (1/4 lb.) patties of ground sirloin
  • 3 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons of course pepper
  • Fresh cut lettuce
  • 3 avocado slices
  • Finely chopped sweet onion
  • 3 fresh tomato slices
  • Thinly sliced fresh jalapeno slices
  • 2 slices of American cheese
  • 1 slice of pepper jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro
  • Mustard and ketchup to taste
  • Fresh onion hamburger bun

1) Ground out your quarter pound ground sirloin patties in a thin round fashion. Apply the sea salt and pepper liberally on both sides of each patty, cover and refrigerate for an hour. Fire up the grill with charcoal to get it good and hot.

2) Sear the seasoned sirloin patties once the grill reaches 450 degrees to get good grill marks on both sides; grill each patty to cooked preference, add the cheeses to the patties and cover for another minute. Lightly butter the onion bun and place on the grill for another minute to get a firmly toasted foundation and cover.

3) Take the bottom and the top of the bun and spread mustard and ketchup down, then add the first sirloin patty on the base of the bun with the melted American cheese. Smother with lettuce, sweet onion, and 3 to 4 thinly sliced jalapenos.

4) You will then add the second sirloin patty with pepper jack cheese, smother with cilantro, then place the 3 avocado slices on the bed of cilantro. Add some additional cilantro on top of the avocado because of the slippery texture.

5) Finally, add the final sirloin patty with American cheese and again smother with lettuce, sweet onion, and 3 to 4 thinly sliced jalapenos. Then add the 3 tomato slices, then place the top of the bun to complete the burger.


Recipe: Meatloaf burger recipe

  • For burger:
  • 1 cup herb stuffing mix
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 4 tsp. creole seasoning
  • 4 tsp. marjoram
  • 4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 tsp. onion powder
  • 4 tsp. shrimp/crab boil
  • 4 tsp. hot sauce
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green onion
  • 2/3 cups of red wine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lbs ground meat
  • 1 lbs ground Italian sausage
  • 1 lbs ground pork sausage
  • For crispies:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, shredded
  • Salt to season
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil

For burger:

Shape into burgers and grill.

For sweet potato crispies:

Fry on medium high heat till golden, drain on paper towel. Season with salt.

(Add crumbled blue cheese, add apples and cranberries to your favorite coleslaw, and your favorite onion and mushroom gravy on your favorite bun to build your burger. )

Recipe: West Coast grilled pizza burger

  • For pizza dough
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 pkgs. (1/4 oz. each) quick-rise yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 cup hot water (120’-130’)
  • 1/4 cup smoked olive oil, The Smoked Olive-Sonoma Smoked Olive Oil
  • For hamburger
  • 1 lb. ground beef-90% lean ground sirloin
  • 1/2 cup rough chopped black olives
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Mrs. Dash-Extra Spicy salt free seasoning
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. smoked olive oil, The Smoked Olive-Sonoma Smoked Olive Oil
  • 4 oz. Camembert cheese (rind removed) Marin French Cheese Company
  • For dressing
  • 1 oz. anchovy fillets in oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano, packed
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • 14 cup dried parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. freshly minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil

1. Make pizza dough: In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the olive oil and hot water. Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for ½ hour while you make the burger patties.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl gently mix together with your hands: ground beef, olives, bell pepper, seasonings and olive oil. Divide beef into 4 equal portions and shape each into a 5 inch round burger patty. Place half of cheese in the center of each of two of the patties, top the cheese with another pattie. Press to seal edges. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. After dough has risen, punch dough down. Cut pizza dough into 4 equal balls. Cover and set aside to rest.

4. Make dressing: Into a food processor add anchovies, oregano, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, garlic and lemon juice. Process until finely minced. Scrape into a small bowl and stir in the 1/3 cup olive oil. Set aside.

5. Heat outdoor grill to 400’. Once heated, place room temperature burger on the grill and cook with the lid closed for 5 minutes. Turn and cook another 5 minutes with the lid closed. Remove burger and keep warm.

6. Pat each pizza dough ball into a 5 inch circle. Place onto your hot grill and cook with the lid down until bottom is nicely browned. Turn pizza over and spread each one with enough dressing to cover well, close lid and continue cooking until topping is bubbling and pizza is cooked.

7. Remove pizza from grill. Place cooked burger on top of one of the pizzas, then flip the other pizza over onto the top of the burger, dressing side down.

8. Eat it while it’s hot…the cheese will be oozing out. Have plenty of napkins ready too!!

Serving Size

Makes 2 pizza burgers

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