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Smith: No frou-frou burger will take the prize in Sturgis

  • Amy Meiers of Santa Rosa.

Amy Meiers is cooking up quite the atypical summer trip to South Dakota. And the Weber barbecue people will pick up the bill.

Amy is a Santa Rosa escrow assistant whose surname was Garcia when she graduated from Elsie Allen High in 2000. She travels to Sturgis this week as one of three finalists in a national hamburger competition.

The grill-off next Sunday will be a major amusement of the 74th annual Harley-Davidson rally that will draw legions of motorcycle riders to the town.

“I can’t believe they picked me,” said Amy, 31. Here she’s a home cook and the other two finalists in the Weber’s Big Burger Battle Championship are a New Yorker who trained at Culinary Institute of America and works for a restaurant chain, and a Southern California graduate of Le Cordon Bleu who’s becoming a caterer.

Go Elsie Allen!

Given that Amy hails from Sonoma County, I expected that her entry might be something like a Bodega lamb patty finished with organic arugula and paper-thin golden beet, a dusting of roasted quinoa, spritz of truffle oil and dollop of chevre aioli, presented open-face on artisanal ciabatta.

Hardly. As she refined her burger recipe, Amy was mindful that were it to do well it would premiere in a national championship at the dusty, South Dakota confab of some hundreds of thousands of Hog riders.

So she went bold. Her beef patty recipe, available at weber.com/promotions/big-burger-battle, boasts jalapeños, chipotle sauce, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, refried beans and guacamole.

She calls it ... Wait for it ...

“Nacho Average Burger.”


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