1. Peel and slice the onions into rings 1-inch thick.

2. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice, and set a medium mixing bowl inside, surrounded by ice.

3. Into the medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Form an indentation in the center of the flour mixture.

4. In a measuring cup, combine the water and beer. Slowly pour the water/beer mixture into the flour, mixing until the batter has the consistency of lumpy pancake batter.

5. In a large saucepan, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Dip the onion slices into the batter, then fry until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a rack and hold in a warm place.

The pinky patty

3 pounds (80/20) ground beef

1 (12 ounce) package pork chorizo

1/2 onion chopped, about 1/2 cup

2 to 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Scant 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning

2 teaspoons salt

1. In a large bowl, combine the beef and chorizo along with the chopped onions. Season with the Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, Montreal steak seasoning and salt, kneading until the seasonings and flavorings are evenly disbursed. Divide into 8 burgers, shaping the patties so they are slightly larger than the diameter of the buns (they will shrink while cooking).

2. Grill the patties to desired doneness. Hold in a warm place.

STG (Save the gravy) burgers

8 burger buns, divided

Gravy, divided

Caramelized pears

Bacon

Burger patties

Fried onion rings

1 (8-ounce) log goat cheese Mushrooms

To assemble each burger, spoon about 2 tablespoons gravy on the bottom of each bun. Top with a layer of caramelized pears, and divide the bacon strips evenly between each. Place a burger patty over the bacon on each bun, then top each patty with an onion ring and a dollop (1 ounce) of goat cheese. Top the onion rings with mushrooms and spoon over more gravy. Complete the burger by adding the top bun.

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To whet your appetite for the remaining finalists, here's a super-fast look at all the burgers we tasted.

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