Illinois Native Wins Build A Better Burger Contest

Contest is key component of beef checkoff's 2005 summer grilling promotion.

Published on: Oct 10, 2005

Barry Rosenstein of Elmhurst, Ill., used an extremely creative recipe to capture the $50,000 grand prize in the 15th annual Build a Better Burger contest.

Rosenstein's Sweet and Spicy Red Fez Burger features ground chuck seasoned with Moroccan spices, combined with dried apricots, dates and lamb sausage. The burger also features unusual presentation, as it is served on a bun colored with red food coloring, to simulate a red fez. It topped the list of 4,400 recipes entered in this year's contest. 

In honor of "America's Favorite Sandwich," the Beef Checkoff Program has joined Sutter Home Family Vineyards in sponsoring the Build a Better Burger contest as part of the checkoff's annual Summer Grilling Promotion. The contest encourages burger devotees across the nation to show off their best burger recipes. The checkoff sponsorship is coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and state beef councils by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. The NCBA serves as one of the Beef Board's contractors for checkoff-funded programs.  

The partnership allows the Build a Better Burger contest to employ the award-winning "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" slogan as part of its promotional materials. The contest serves as an exciting promotion for ground beef during the heart of the grilling season, without any actual expenditure of checkoff dollars. Prize money and other costs of the contest are covered by other sponsors.

"This contest generates enthusiasm around the burger and helps grow demand for beef – America's No. 1 protein," says Randy Irion, director of retail marketing for NCBA. "It's a great value for beef producers, because it creates excitement for the grilling season with no actual cost to the checkoff program."

Irion adds that as part of the partnership, Sutter Home also provides gift baskets for winners of on-line contests, as well as coupons for discounts off the purchase of beef.

The contest cook-off was held at the Sutter Home Winery in Napa Valley, Calif. The Food Network filmed the event, and will air coverage as part of its "Challenge Series" in the spring of 2006.  For more information, including complete recipes from the contest winners, visit the contest Web site at