Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thai won on Build a Better Burger Contest

Sweet-Hot Thai BurgerWe couldn't resisit the double entendre and we definitely couldn't resist trying the winning entry, the Sweet-Hot Thai Burger by Karen Bernards. Karen's delicious blending of the two worlds of American grill classics and Thai cuisine turned taste buds in Napa valley and captured the $50,000 Grand Prize yesterday in Sutter Home Winery's annual Build a Better Burger Contest.

The contestants, all winners, grilled up some amazing versions. To see all the recipes and get some of the inside commentary from Colleen go to the BBBBlog.

We've been following the lead-up to this cook-off all week along with Mike at The Naked Vine who has the wine list so now it's time to try out the winning burger recipe for ourselves. Seems like the burger is once again finding its ancient Asian roots.

By the way, you can catch Karen and her recipe Monday morning on NBC's the Today Show.

While waiting for the burgers to cook we enjoyed a Thai wine from Monsoon Valley Shiraz Special Reserve; the red wine grapes are grown in the hills of Pak Chong where the cooler climate is more favorable for the Shiraz and Colombard grapes.

It's a full bodied, fragrant, spicy wine that makes a perfect pairing with the sweet-hot chili background in Karen's burger. The wine finish is smooth with just a hint of cedar layered over an intense, rich taste of plums.

Here's Karen's original recipe

Sweet-Hot Thai Burger


Cilantro Mayonnaise

    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    Thai Salad
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 teaspoons bottled Thai sweet chili sauce
    • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
    • 1 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
    • 1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts


    • 2 pounds freshly ground chuck
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 3/4 cup bottled Thai sweet chili sauce
    • 4 green onions, sliced
    • 1 cup Spicy Thai Kettle Chips, placed in a bag and smashed slightly
    • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
    • 6 good-quality potato hamburger buns, split


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the mayonnaise, whisk the mayonnaise, lime juice, and cilantro in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the salad, whisk the lime juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, sweet chili sauce, ginger, cilantro, and basil in a small bowl. Combine the cucumber, red pepper, and bean sprouts in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the patties, combine the chuck, salt, sweet chili sauce, green onions, and chip pieces in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the buns. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the cilantro mayonnaise over the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a grilled patty, followed by equal portions of the Thai salad, add the top bun and serve.

Makes 6 burgers

by Harlan Weikle

1 comment:

Darrin said...

Boy... I usually don't get too adventurous as far as burgers go, but this one looks like one I could definitely go for!!