LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Donna Gribbins of Shelbyville, Ky. has been crowned the 2020 Derby Burger Champion in the ninth annual “Derby Burger Challenge,” sponsored by Kentucky Beef Council and coordinated by the Kentucky Derby Festival. Gribbins’ recipe for her “Bourbon Blackberry Bacon Cheeseburger” was selected as the overall winner after two rounds of online voting.
Saucy, fruity and surprising, her burger packs its flavor in the savory bourbon sauce and blackberry jam topped with bacon, lettuce, and cheddar cheese all on a brioche bun. This is Gribbins fourth time competing in the annual burger competition and the third time making it to the finals.
“I was hoping the third time would be the charm,” said Gribbins.”I wanted to create a burger that was more complex than my last entries with lots of flavors, and was inspired to use bourbon in this burger for my love of Kentucky and the Mint Julep.”
The festival received dozens of submissions in the spring for the annual competition. Due to restrictions surrounding COVID-19, the competition was moved completely online, instead of hosting an in-person cook-off. Over the last couple weeks, nearly 10,000 beef lovers voted online to help pick the top four finalists and the winning burger.
Gribbins’ winning burger recipe will be featured inside Louisville-area Kroger stores from Aug. 26–Sept. 8. Recipe cards will be available, as well as a showcase of ingredients for shoppers to purchase to make their own Derby Burgers.
She also receives VIP tickets to 2021 Thunder Over Louisville, 2021 VIP Experience at Waterfront Jam, tickets to 2021 BeerFest, as well as a $100 gift certificate to Kroger and a grilling package from Kentucky Beef Council.
Other finalists this year included Lori Poe of Mount Sterling with the Southern Charm Burger; Greg Schaad of Louisville with The Big Brown Butter Burger; and Scott Wisdom of Louisville with the Win Place Show Burger.
All recipes submitted for the 2020 Derby Burger Challenge will be automatically entered into the 2021 competition. Official rules of the competition can be found online at www.kdf.org/beef.