Who Built it Better?

| Posted by juliana for Sutter Home

Now, we know that you’re all asking yourselves this question – who built the $100,000 grand prize-winning burger? Was it you? (Of course, I know you can only cross your fingers, toes, eyes & all hoping that it was!)

Was YOUR gourmet burger creation built to perfection? Did YOU build it bigger and better? There are so many questions dancing around in that sweet little head of yours (I am right, aren’t I?)

Well, as of right now, with SO many entries, our fabulous judges are gettin’ their palates ready for all of that deeee-licious burger tasting! And with the fate now out of your hands, you’re probably askin’ yourselves one big question: What Now?

Well, NOW it’s time to tell us about those sweet little burger masterpieces you’ve all been workin’ your tail end on! How did you taste test all of your creations? How did you determine the perfect toppings? Wine pairing? There are so many things we wanna know! (I can hear my stomach growling as we speak.)

And if you don’t feel like spilling ALL of your burger secrets, at least answer me this:

Who was your go-to taste tester during this whole process? Your spouse, the kids, a friendly neighbor perhaps?

Before I say goodbye, there’s one more thing – don’t forget to follow our blog! You wouldn’t wanna miss out on all of the burger action, would you?


Too bad I missed it this year! I had fun reading the event details. Congratulations to all winners and to all who were able to taste the best burgers this year!

Submitted by debbie ferron on

the recipes came from my head my sister said her mouth was watering as she read my recipes . thats when i knew i had a chance first time entering.

Submitted by Jason Ufema on

My wife and mother were my taste testers at first. Moved on to the three girls who work in our office and as I expected, didn't have one burger they all felt was the clear winner. So I entered both. This was my first attempt and since I haven't heard from you, I'm guessing I'll be selected on my second attempt next year :-)
My family certainly had a lot of fun watching me measure out teaspoons and cups of ingredients. I didn't know where those were in our kitchen. Can't wait to see the finalists you have chosen. If they beat mine, then you must have had some real good ones in there. Thanks for the opportunity.

Submitted by Gary D. Schoepf on

Sutter Home and all the contestants: This has been a fun experience of developing 4 recipes (one for each daughter and families). They all have enjoyed the trials as family, and looking forward to this Football 'Tailgate' season with Grandsons. The most critical and objective 'taste test group' were the ladies at Golf Club that had 'BLT's (Bacon, Lettuce and Turkey) Burgers with cranberry/orange chutney sauce. They had two events, and raved about the 'Weber grilled' alternative burgers!--And, we are in 'Go Big Red - Beef Country'!! The USA Red wine, White, and Blue cheese beef burger is going to the Husker Football tailgate to celebrate entry into the 'BIG 10' midwest conference! Happy Grillin', and good luck from Nebraska!
'Grandpa, Grill Chef - GShep'

PS: Thanks for the opportunity! Can't wait to read the winners' selections, and hope one of the tailgate recipes is included! Shep

Submitted by melynda saldenais on

I taste tested my burgers on my friends with numerous "burger dinner parties." My latest food obsession is the Banh Mi sandwich and I decided to see if I could translate the layers of flavors into a burger. I think I did! I'm excited to make the burgers for the judges and see if they think so too. I sent in a few other options as well, just in case. Cheers!

Submitted by serina on

my little fam & i (hubby & daughter)did the tasting & we really enjoyed it! made the recipe just once & it turned out great! best burger we ever tasted! quite different with the suttle orange & sweet notes but just delicious! dropped some merlot into the chutney too, love it!

Submitted by vmfoundry on

Debbie - Unfortunately, the Build a Better Burger competition is closed for entries, but there's always next year!

There's also a few other promotions going on in the Sutter Home world. Check out the Facebook page to stay updated:

Submitted by Ginger on

Wow! So many entries, so many good ideas and so many confident contestants! There will be a lot of people anxiously waiting by the phone this Friday. This was a fun experience that I thoroughly enjoyed as did my family and neighbors. They are just disappointed I don't show up at their doorstep with a plate full of burgers and a bottle of wine anymore! Good luck to everyone. I just hope that no one Beets my Burger!!

Submitted by Rebecca on

My go to tasters was my roommate! She is such a picky eater, BUT she loved my burgers!

Submitted by Thomas Brubeck on

Well we, my fiancé and I, were sitting around thinking how we could incorporate the burger entry with the trials and tribulations that were happening on the Gulf Coast. Being that we live in Mississippi, we are very close to those who have to deal with the problems down there. So, we devised a way to build a couple of delicious burgers at the same time as shining a light on the beautiful Gulf Coast. My fiancé has been my taste tester the whole way and I believe the burgers are incredible!! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. I had a great time creating these for you.

Submitted by Amber D. on

We had a bunch of friends over to sample my Asian Infused Sliders, and everybody loved them. I just love Asian flavors and thought they would mesh well with the burger idea. I hope it paid off...we could use a trip to Napa, and of course, the prize sounds awesome!

Submitted by Eric on

I came up with mine because my family and I all wanted two different things at the same time. I tried to combine the two and it just worked. As for taste testers. Myself, my wife, and my kids obviously, but also a few very good friends. I entered after reading a magazine article and a couple of friends from St. Jude Hospital who had tried it... and continue to ask for it everytime they visit even if it's not on the days menu, spent two days talking me into at least trying. I would love to be the winner, but I also feel great to have made an entry and tried.

Submitted by Melissa Shockey... on

Every week ,sometimes twice a week, for the past 2 months, My family (husband, 3 grown children, 2 grandsons & anyone else who happened to be at the house)have "endured" taste-testing all of my burger inspirations. Since all were a hit & there was no clear cut winner, I submitted them all. Hope you enjoy them as much as they did.

Submitted by Ken Harrison on

Of course I subjected my family and neighbors to taste and taste some more, but I knew there might be a recipe to submit was when a co-worker (who almost daily asked me to bring him some of my ribs), after tasting the hamburger, said, "Forget about the ribs, bring more of this burger!"

Submitted by Judy M. on

My taste tester was my writing partner Steve. I don't know how he endured it but he did and I'll be forever grateful, especially if I'm behind one of those grills!

Submitted by Kathryn Harcarik on

CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR! Hope to be coming to Napa Valley to try out any wines you want me to taste! Of course i will have to bring NJ tomatoes with me for my recipe. My sister lives in CA and hoping to visit for a while with her too! I have never been to CA and might just stay for a long time!

Submitted by Debbie on

Is Build a Better Burger recipe contest over? Where do I submit?

Submitted by Sue Cook on

It's been a whirlwind of trials - All of my workmates in the NW Maritime Center's Boat Shop & Chandlery gathered with staffers & volunteers to taste my 3 Sutter Home wine sauces, different cheeses, pancetta or bacon...In then end we all agreed on one thing - So worth the extra lbs! De-lish! I hope to come home for a Napa Country visit.

I am a Foodservice Director in a suburb of Buffalo, New York we are always trying new ideas in our schools for theme days for our students especially geared around our local fare and sports teams. So this is where the idea came from we all love chicken wings and sports my family tried this upscale recipe and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Submitted by Ann Schoenberger on

I live in Wisconsin and wanted to showcase some of our delicious and fun products - cheese, beer, and sausage - what could be better on a burger?!? My dear husband volunteered to be my taste-tester :-)

Submitted by Ann Schoenberger on

My Taqueria Burger pays homage to the three years that we lived in El Paso, Texas - a city on the border of Mexico that's enriched by the Hispanic culture and flavors.

Submitted by Jaimie Patterson on

My fiancee is always my best taste tester! I had all the guys from work come & try out my burgers too along with a Southern gal friend of mine :) That way tastes from different parts of the US tried them out!

Submitted by Yi Lynne Weber on

My six year old daughter was the icing on the cake! When she told me that this burger was even better than chicken nuggets and French fries, I knew I had a great recipe:) That was the first time she ever ate a WHOLE burger herself!

Submitted by Brett on

I tested and tasted and tasted and tested in the hopes I could come up with a WINNER! I took it up a notch by testing the limits of this amateur and my grill! Fingers crossed for 5 lucky beef category people--Good luck to you all!

Submitted by Mike on

My go to taster, was my wife. She is an extremely picky eater, so I knew if I could win her over, the judges would be a piece of cake.

Submitted by Nicole on

I'm getting so excited to see the results for the contestants, I can't stand it! I had a lot of fun creating my enteries for the contest. I, of course was the first taste tester, then after perfecting the recipe would have my new husband be my judge!:)

Submitted by Peggy Williams on

When I found out about this contest I quickly realized that their was one burger I thought I would love. Because my family, my husband and myself, both love fajitas and I decided to apply those flavors to a burger. We tried it and loved it. Hope we win! Even if we don't, we've come up with a new flavor for us that will be a great change from the same old burger.

Submitted by Peggy Williams on

When I heard about this contest, I began to think about what I would like to see as a new flavor and quickly realized that it had to be a fajita flavor because both my husband and myself love fajitas. We tried it two different ways and found the second one to be just what we wanted.Hope we win, but even if we don't, we've got a great new flavor to enjoy!

Submitted by Jenni on

I asked my brother-in-law to come over...he tasted with me every step of every sauce (there are three in the burger ensemble). He has worked in restaurants for many years, and I thought his palate would be the most objective. It was fun!

Submitted by Karen Roseman on

My first go-to-taste tester was my 24 year old daughter. She absolutely loved my creation. I have been taste testing on people everywhere from Indianapolis, Indiana to Fort Myers Beach, Florida, to Monticello, Indiana. I even tested my recipe at my place of employment's company cook-out. That was a batch of 30 burgers....WOW! I've been getting the same response everywhere I take the recipe. Delicious, mouth-watering and the best burger I've ever eaten.

Submitted by Michelle on

My family was subjected to four burgers a week for several weeks. I knew I had a hit when my nine year old daughter, who hates all things ground chicken or turkey, asked for a ground chicken burger again by name.

No matter what, they were real troopers and didn't mind having the same burger AGAIN so I could tweak something on the burger.

Submitted by Mary Vitrano on

My husband was my main taster. He has the wonderful ability to give constructive criticism and encouragement all at the same time. Once I perfected my recipe I tapped by bookclub for their unbiased opinions. Lastly, I emailed my recipe to my friend Marion in MN; she's a real foodie. She it just like the recipe indicated to ensure I had the process correct. She made fabulous suggestions and I submitted with my fingers crossed. Hope to see you in Napa!

Submitted by Vince R. on

My Girlfriend was my BEST and most helpful critic. We tried so many variations on the burger we started making just one
(instead of two) and cutting it in half!

Submitted by Patti Davis on

I made my burger based on everyones favorite sauce.I put this sauce on Quesadillas,potato skins,salad and now burgers.A family member once said that she would eat poop with this sauce on it on it,therefore i call it pooh sauce.I am hoping my pooh sauce pays off,my friends and family can't get enough of it.

Submitted by Walt Thomas on

My 14 year old daughter loves burgers, she was the final judge.

Submitted by Dahn Lyttle on

For me, my go-to-taste tasters were a couple groups of friends; BUT, before I even attempted to have them try the recipe, I had to try it first! Bottom line: if I don't like it, there's NO WAY I'll feed it to someone else! lol :) I made only ONE of my recipes for a group of friends before testing it myself and luckily it was a success! (Let me tell you though...the anxiety was quite high... :) )

As for how I came up w/ my recipes (like I'm sure many of us have) I really just thought "What do I like to eat? What flavors work well together? and How can I make that into a burger?" For inspiration I looked to my heritage, where I'm living, and some of my favorite cuisines.

It's just a waiting game now...I thought my recipes were tasty, so did my friends. Will the judges? **dun-dun-dun...dramatic pause...fade to black** :)

Submitted by Patty Colon on

My family and friends are my taste testers. I have everybody over and I hand out sheets for them to "judge" my burgers on different areas and they check off what they think, i.e., great, good, fair and no good under the different questions - such as taste, look, overall appeal ... They do it anonymously and are asked to give their suggestions on the bottom of the paper. By asking them to do it anonymously none of my family nor friends are afraid to say that they really feel about a burger because they know I won't get mad at them if I don't know who filled out the form. It's fun, we always have a good time and gives me a chance to tell them about the contest and have them try the different Sutter Home wines!

Submitted by Pam Foley on

It's Monday 8/9/10 still counting the days. I hope my phone will ring and I will be one of the 5 chosen. Friends are already asking me if I have heard anything. August 20th will be here soon!

Submitted by BooDreaux on

Must have cooked my entry 10-12 times for varying groups of people......From my best friends to people I didn't really know that well. There never were any left and people raved about how different the blends of flavors were and how the layers of flavors just kept being revealed. Very gratifying to say the least. Eric, yours does sound terrific. Good luck to all and see ya at the contest.

Allons manger and Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler!!!

Submitted by shannon on

the weeks leading up to the deadline were somewhat stressful trying to figure out the perfect pairings, however, after finding it i tried it out on family and everyone was raving...i'll see you in california

Submitted by Evie on

My taste testers are always mainly my sons, daughter, daughter-in-laws, husband, son-in-law and seven grandchildren and many great friends. This is a good thing as they are always ready for a burger. It is a bad thing because they always say "Mimi, this is the best burger you ever made". I never know if it really is or if they are just "buttering me up", but we keep on making them and trying new things. I love cooking, great wine and sharing with my family and friends. I hope that one of my creations will be loved by the judges as much as by my family and that I will be able to share the Sutter Home Build A Better Burger with them also. Thanks for the opportunity to participate and my family loves you because they have been here every weekend eating burgers and the adults enjoying great wine.

Submitted by Tanya Copeland on

Taste testers included my husband, kids, neighbors and other family members who stopped by to try something new and different. It took a few attempts but the burger is awesome!!!

Submitted by Kim on

I love taking a bite of smoked gouda cheese and a sweet gala apple together. I love the two flavors together. Another flavor I love is truffle. And we all love bacon. So I took four of my favorite flavors and made them into a burger. My husband is my taster, plus myself, of course. We use plenty of napkins, and love every bite. First, one flavor hits you, and then other flavors start revealing themselves as you chew. Simply delightful. This burger is tops in my mind, so I look forward to creating it again for the judges in California.

Submitted by Sharon on

My go to tasters were my guy, my best friend, and my daughter. They were brutally honest. I had so much fun doing this challenge, I hope to be grilling in Napa Valley.
Good luck to everyone who entered.

Submitted by Regina on

I had a lot of friends and family over and we turned it into a build a better burger backyard b-b-que! So there were a lot of nibbles and lip smacking used to determine which alternative burger I would submit. It is a scrumptous GROUPER BURGER! Yum Yum!!

Submitted by Deb Geist on

My husband and kids were happy to help taste-test! I even had to send the recipe to my oldest daughter and her husband in OKC, OK so they could give me their culinary feedback! They all loved the basic concept of the holiday steak dinner on a bun, and I enjoyed receiving each of their ideas to contribute to the final recipe. It was a challenge, but a tasty one to finalize the recipe to enter! We hope ya'll love it as much as we do! PS My son recommends I open a Potatoe/Noodle restaurant. He is convinced that is the winning secret ingredient for breakfast, lunch, or dinner dishes!

Submitted by Donna Owens on

I had a 100K Burger Tasting Party! It was a huge hit and it narrowed down my recipes to two entries...one beef, one turkey. Good luck to all who entered but I hope, hope, hope mine gets picked!

In honor of my Grandfather and Uncle I submitted my burger with 3 minutes to spare. My recipe came from my Polish heritage; good food, family and lots of fun. FYI-my awsome mother's birthday is 9/25 which I hope to be celebrating with her at Sutter Home Family Vinyard.

Submitted by Kevin P on

We had a "build and taste a burger" party! It was a ground beef on bread gastronomic gauntlet. The kids were away and the cooks did play. In the end the two survivors were submitted. It was wine and food filled fun for all.

Submitted by Cynthia on

All I can say is CUBAN Fiesta and Chipotle Bacon Cheddar... I created two delicious recipes that took weeks to perfect. My biggest fan my wonderful boyfriend, one of my dearest friends and my 2nd biggest fan my mom. They loved my creative sliders I just hope the judges do too! See you in California!


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