Chris Belcher and Assistance League of Mid-Missouri win burger competition

Thursday, September 30, 2010 | 9:57 p.m. CDT; updated 10:47 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 1, 2010

COLUMBIA - The results are in, and the winner of the Great American Burger Challenge is the Belcher Burger — blue cheese infused between two patties and topped with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar.

Fifty cents from each purchase of the Belcher Burger will be donated to Chris Belcher's chosen charity, the Assistance League of Mid-Missouri, a nonprofit organization that serves the region's women and children.

“We will put it to good use,” said Assistance League president Marilyn Starwalt before the results were announced.

Afterward, she was elated.

“We’re just excited and thank all of our members for voting,” she said. “(I) never thought we’d win.”

Chris Belcher, the superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, said he wasn’t sure if his burger would win either but said he was told to believe in the power of the Assistance League. He was full of praise for the organization and said he felt great.

“It’s nice to give something back,” he said.

T.J. Cleveland and Mike Kelly, two local celebrities who both entered the challenge, said they liked the Belcher Burger but were jokingly reluctant to say it was the best in the competition. Cleveland said he doesn’t plan on eating another burger for two weeks.

There were about 40 people at the tasting event, where all six burgers were available to be sampled.

You can make your own Belcher Burger by following these steps from Stadium Grill's website:

  • Prepare 1/3 pound of hamburger (20% fat) by adding salt, pepper and a pinch of dried oregano, thyme and sweet basil.
  • Make the ground beef into two patties.
  • Take a golf-ball size portion of blue cheese, flattened, and place in the middle of the two beef patties. Be sure to fold the edges to keep the cheese in the middle during grilling. Burgers should be grilled to medium rare.
  • Top the burgers with caramelized Vidalia onions sautéed in butter. Finish the burger by drizzling balsamic vinegar on top of onions.
  • Place between a kaiser roll.

Belcher said his inspiration came from his love for both blue cheese and balsamic vinegar.

The Belcher Burger will go on Stadium Grill’s menu starting Nov. 1.

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