• Lebanon restaurant enters national burger competition

    By Jacob Smith -

    A local restaurant has submitted a custom burger with a blend of mushroom and meat for a national burger competition.

    Voodoo Smokehouse at 104 N. Maple St. held its grand opening in April, and just a month later announced it would participate in the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project, a nationwide initiative that challenges chefs to make a “blended burger” by blending ground meat with finely chopped mushrooms to create a delicious, healthier and more sustainable burger.

    Chef Chad Browning at Voodoo Smokehouse chose to feature the Caribbean Porkbello, an 8-ounce smoked pork and Portobello patty topped with Queso de Papa cheese, Voodoo sauce, cilantro pepper slaw, mango salsa and a cilantro lime aioli on a Brioche bun. The burger will be available at the restaurant through July 31.

    Blending meat with mushrooms reduces calories, fat and sodium while adding important nutrients like vitamin D, potassium and B vitamins. A blended burger also brings more sustainable, plant-based items to menus to allow people to enjoy the taste and flavor of the burgers they love, knowing it’s a healthier and more sustainable preparation.

    The contest is on the James Beard Foundation’s website. The top 20 burgers will be reviewed by a panel of judges who will select the top five winners, based on most creative use of mushrooms, best flavor profile and presentation. Chefs from the top five restaurants will win a trip to New York City to cook their blended burger dish during a special fall event at the historic James Beard House. The judges will be:

    • Andrew Zimmern, TV personality, chef, writer and teacher.

    • Antoinette Bruno, chief executive officer and editor in chief for starchefs.com

    • Susan Westmoreland, culinary director for Good Housekeeping magazine.

    The Caribbean Porkbello currently sits just outside of the top 20 burgers and needs votes to be featured in August. To vote for the local burger, visit jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject. Also visit Voodoo Smokehouse until July 31 to eat the Caribbean Porkbello and post a picture of the burger to social media with the hashtag #blendedburgerproject to spread the word.

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