It started last year when Jamie’s friend Sam came from Houston for a visit.   The gauntlet was thrown down when Sam casually remarked one day, “I make a mean burger”.  Oh really?  Caught up in the competitive spirit as the Warriors were playing the Rockets at the time it was….GAME ON for the best burger.

DSC04288 (1)This year Sam visited again during the July 4th holiday and once again the Burger Throw Down was on.   Off to the market we went, each of us trying to hide our ingredients from each other…so much pressure, can’t imagine how they do this on Top Chef.

While Jamie and Sam went the tradition route and used beef for their burgers.  Wes and I both veered away from tradition.  Wes created a Portabello Burger while I opted for seafood to create a crab and shrimp burger.  You would think creativity would score big points.  Nope, not in this house.

The winner of our 2nd burger cook off- Jamie!  The prize? Her burger featured on the banner of this post, a root beer float and of course best of all, bragging rights until next year.

It was a unanimous choice.  For her burger she added minced shallots, a mix of bread crumbs, crushed corn flakes, panko flakes and an egg as binder.  She seasoned it with salt & pepper and a touch of garlic powder.  She formed her patty, pressed her thumb into the middle (tip from our neighborhood butcher) to help keep the patty flat and the juices in and threw it on the grill.

Her toppings set her burger apart from the rest.  A thick slice of creamy, buttery brie topped with a grilled peach slice and cold crispy romaine sandwiched between a toasted, buttered brioche roll.

ARE YOU SALIVATING?  You should be!  It was delicious!

Not to say she didn’t have some competition.  Sam created his version of sliders.  Mini-burgers topped with swiss cheese, crispy pancetta and grilled pineapple on Hawaiian sweet rolls with a dab of mayonaise.  Yum.  My vote for 2nd best.

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Wes’s Portabello mushroom burger was really good, but in a house full of carnivores it faced a daunting challenge.  On any given day I would choose his burger but sitting next to two all beef patties with special toppings?  Tough job.  But it was tasty, his secret weapon, a delicious homemade pesto mayonnaise.  He finished his masterpiece with avocado slices and grilled red onions, it was a vegetarian’s dream burger.

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And finally my seafood burger.  Ok, not to toot my own horn but it was pretty darn good…much like a crab cake, I added shrimp (because crab is pretty darn expensive and I like shrimp) for texture and flavor.  I adapted an Asian crab cake recipe for my burger entry, hope you like it!

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The Great Burger Cook-off (Crab & Shrimp Burger with Asian Slaw)


    Seafood Burgers
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons bottled Thai fish sauce (nam pla) or soy sauce or ponzu soy sauce
  • 1 T thai sweet chili sauce or 1 teaspoon Siracha + 2 teaspoons honey
  • 6 ounces fresh crabmeat
  • 3 ounces cooked and peeled shrimp, chopped
  • 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • Asian Slaw
  • 2 cups julienned green cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned red cabbage
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1-2 green onions, tops and ends removed, sliced on the diagonal 1/4" thick
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (optional)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • Dressing
  • 2 T. sesame seeds,toasted
  • 3 T sugar
  • 2/3 cup oil, dash of sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1-2 t soy sauce
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • Combine, chill and cover. Just before serving, add dressing to slaw, mix to combine. Serve slaw on side next to burger or pile on top. Your choice.


  • Blend first 6 ingredients in medium bowl.
  • Mix in crabmeat, shrimp and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.
  • Season with pepper.
  • Place 1 cup Panko crumbs on plate. Drop 1/4 or 1/2 of crab mixture into breadcrumbs; turn to coat. Shape into 2 1/2-3 inch-diameter cake. Repeat coating and shaping with remaining crab mixture and crumbs, forming total of 2 cakes.
  • Chill to set cakes, approximately 1 hour
  • Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add cakes and sauté until crisp, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Serve on toasted buttered brioche buns with Asian slaw and Siracha mayo. (blend of mayo with Siracha to taste)
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