Bored of the basic, backyard burger?

Bored of the basic, backyard burger?

Recipes from the Los Angeles Times' second annual Battle of the Burgers contest ensure that this summertime favorite is anything but typical.

The best burgers — beef, buffalo, turkey and sausage — were inspired by Italian cuisine, the lexicon of chilies, the balance of yin and yang, a BLT for breakfast and one contestant's mustard- and onion-loving uncle, Howie.

Never "just a burger" to true fans, a hamburger is the very extension of a grill master's identity. These entries proved that a great burger is a work of art, passionately thought-out and painstakingly executed. Of course, determining what makes a burger great can stir as much passion as choosing our next president.

Thousands of votes from Times readers nationwide narrowed 140 submissions from all over the country to the top 20 burgers. These recipes then were put to task in the Times Test Kitchen. The burgers were judged by Food section editors and staff.

It was tough, but after days of testing, exhaustive judging (and maybe a little post-burger napping), they came up with five favorites. So as the smells of charcoal and propane perfume backyards across the country, take up the burgermeister's challenge with these winning recipes.

Featuring from-scratch jams, relishes and other condiments, these burgers require at least an hour of preparation or up to two. But some components can be made a day to a week in advance of your next burger bash.

If that's more effort than lazy summer days will allow, blame these overly enthusiastic cooks. As Richard Amiel, originator of The H-Bomb Burger, said, "The devil made me do it!"

See accompanying recipes for The H-Bomb, The Howie, BLT&E, Buffalo-Cambozola and Taste of Italy burgers.

Mail Tribune Food Editor Sarah Lemon contributed to this story.