I Tried the Trader Joe's Burger Contest Winner and It Was Love at First Bite|Recipes Spots

  • on September 1, 2023
I Tried the Trader Joe's Burger Contest Winner and It Was Love at First Bite

4 Trader Joe's Burgers on a Platter
Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

Every once in a while, Trader Joe’s has a recipe contest (Remember those delicious banana sandwich cookies? I do!). The latest contest was burger-themed, and the results were announced just in time for Labor Day weekend. I tried the winning recipe, and I’m here to tell you to do the same.

The “Italiano Burger,” submitted by Anthony Trifilio, delivers on its name. It uses all Trader Joe’s products to make a burger that is arguably more meatball sub than burger. But am I complaining? No, no I am not. And neither did my neighbors, who devoured their burgers in seconds.

Trader Joe's store front with burger illustration
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Sarah Crowder

How To Make Trader Joe’s Italiano Burger

The recipe makes 2 burgers, but I used two 1-pound packages of meat to make six burgers. If you follow my lead, just scale everything up. For two burgers, you’ll need:

  • 5 ounces Trader Joe’s 80/20 Ground Beef
  • 5 ounces Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Sausage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Red Peppers
  • Trader Joe’s Garlic Spread Dip
  • 2 Trader Joe’s Brioche Buns
  • 2 slices Trader Joe’s Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara Sauce, to taste

Combine the ground beef and sausage (removing the casings) in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix and form into two patties. Cook as you please, on the stovetop or on the grill, waiting to flip until both sides are nicely charred.

Meanwhile, trim a couple of roasted peppers to fit on a bun. Spread both sides of two buns with the garlic spread and then toast them.

Place cheese on the bottom buns and toast lightly to melt. Top with the burger patties, roasted red peppers, and a couple of spoonfuls of marinara, followed by the top bun. Serve.

Hand holding Trader Joe's contest winning burger
Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

My Honest Review of the Trader Joe’s Burger Contest Winner

I would argue that this is a meatball sub on a brioche bun instead of a burger, but let’s not squabble about such things, because it is delicious. What’s not to like about a sausage patty with melty cheese, garlic bread, and marinara? Nothing! My neighbors and I gobbled them up. They’re obviously a bit messy, but all good burgers are.

Replacing half of the ground beef with sausage and topping with a few Italian ingredients is an easy way to turn a burger into something special. These took just a few minutes to make, but they felt like something you’d get at a fun restaurant and pay $20 for.

Quick Tip for Making This Burger

One thing that the sparse recipe doesn’t mention is that you need to cook this patty all the way through as it contains raw pork. I tend to cook my burgers medium or medium-rare, so I had to stop myself from pulling them off too early. That being said, because the patty is half sausage, it doesn’t dry out and stays nice and flavorful.

The Best Thing About the Italiano Burger

Hands down, my favorite part was the generous spread of Trader Joe’s Garlic Spread Dip on the brioche bun. I love that the bun is toasted after adding the spread; it’s like a super-quick, flavorful garlic bread. I’ll be using this trick for other burgers, sandwiches, and to make shortcut garlic bread.

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