Year's top blended burgers revealed

boar burger

A burger ground from wild boar and mushrooms and a mushroom-lamb mix topped with sour cherry mustard are among the five blended burgers selected by restaurant customers as the year’s most appealing.

The boar blend, which also includes fennel, rosemary, broccoli rabe and garlic and is topped with a black garlic aioli, was developed by Jon Lemon, a chef at Bareburger.  The lamb burger, identified on menus as Brevard’s Taste of Summer Blended Burger, was created by chef Toni Elkhouri of Cedar’s Cafe in Melbourne, Fla. Its other flavorings include a caper and walnut relish, and apricot glazing on the bun.

Rounding out the top five finishers in the Blended Burger Project’s annual recipe contest:

  • The Greekish Burger, a beef chuck and porcini blended patty garnished with basil aoli, melted feta, a miniature Greek salad and paprika oil, created by chef Petros Jaferis of the Houston Yacht Club in La Porte, Texas.
  • The Goomba Burger, featuring a beef blend with three types of mushrooms (oyster, portobello and shiitake), with a bacon-lemongrass aioli, developed by Bud Taylor of Bistro at Topsail in Surf City, N.C.
  • The Backyard, a blended beef patty flavored with oyster mushroom confit, aged double cheddar, cracklings, charred ramp mayonnaise, coffee salt, Cabernet Franc molasses and brown butter mornay, cooked up by Phillip Craig Thomason of Vintage Kitchen in Norfolk, Va.

The five were this year’s winners in a contest run annually by the Blended Burger Project, a joint venture of the James Beard Foundation—the New York City institution that promotes fine dining and sustainability—and the Mushroom Council. The group earned top honors by developing burgers built around a patty combining chopped mushrooms with a meat or vegetarian ingredient. The mushroom component has to account for at least 25% of the patty.

Customers of all participating restaurants were invited to visit the Beard Foundation’s website and vote for their first choice among all the entrants. The Foundation also encouraged consumers through a media campaign to visit the balloting page and vote.

The five burgers that garnered the most votes were featured at an event last night at the James Beard House, the Foundation’s headquarters. The burgers were cooked by their respective creators and served at last night’s event, dubbed the Blended Burger ‘Bun’Anza.

A similar competition for college and university foodservice departments is underway. Those winning blended burgers will be showcased in mid-April.  

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