TODAY   |  June 13, 2013

3 TODAY viewers compete for best burger title

Just in time for grilling season, three contenders from all over the country have arrived on the plaza to share their creative burger recipes and compete for an award from chef Giada De Laurentiis.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 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.