Derby Festival Names 2020 Derby Burger Champion

Burger fans have spoken and the 2020 Derby Burger Champion has been crowned.

Donna Gribbins of Shelbyville  took the title of 2020 Derby Burger Champion in the 9th 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. Her burger features a savory bourbon sauce, and blackberry jam topped with bacon, lettuce, and cheddar cheese on a beef patty 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,” she said.”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.”

Gribbins’ winning burger recipe will be featured inside Louisville-area Kroger stores from August 26 – September 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 Mt. 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 here.