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Hagerstown restaurant in national spotlight

June 26, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A local barbecue restaurant might put Hagerstown on the culinary map Monday when the results of a grilling contest are announced on "Live! with Regis and Kelly."

Hempen Hill BBQ Bar & Grill's Chorizo Burger is one of the five finalists in the show's Ultimate Hometown Grill-Off burger category.

Jason Vogel, the restaurant's executive chef, appeared in a video segment on Friday morning's show, talking about his burger creation. The video also is available online at the show's Web site (www.LiveRegisandKelly.com), where people can go to vote.

Voting opened Friday at 10 a.m. and will continue until Sunday at 10 a.m., the show's producers said in a press release.

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The winner will be flown to New York on Friday to appear on the show and prepare the dish.

Kathy Reeder, who owns Hempen Hill with her husband, Jay Reeder, submitted the recipe to "Live! with Regis and Kelly" after she found out about the contest.

"It's a little bit different and something really simple (that) people can do at home," Kathy Reeder said of the Chorizo Burger.

Vogel came up with the recipe after eating a bad Chorizo quesadilla somewhere else, he said.

"It enticed me to make something better," he said.

Vogel's recipe includes Chorizo sausage, ground beef and Cajun spices with pepper jack cheese melted on top. It's a burger that's a little bit spicier and with a lot more flavor, he said.

The burger is served with lettuce, onions and tomato, with a spicy vegetable slaw on the side.

The "Live! with Regis and Kelly" contest is the first food competition Vogel has entered, he said.

The Chorizo Burger takes the backyard grilling aspect of barbecue and fuses it with another type of cuisine, Jay Reeder said.

"He created a real winner," Reeder said.

Vogel made the burger at home last weekend for his father in honor of Father's Day, he said.

The Chorizo Burger is one of only three burgers available at Hempen Hill, which is at 13208 Fountain Head Plaza.

The couple opened Hempen Hill after years of throwing regular blowout parties at their home. They would cook for days, and perfect barbecue rubs and seasonings for the parties, Jay Reeder said.

Jay Reeder's background is in plumbing, and Kathy Reeder has worked in business management and bartending, she said.

Vogel has been the executive chef for Hempen Hill since it opened three years ago, and was hired before renovations were completed. He was recommended for the job by a friend, Jay Reeder said.

Kathy Reeder describes the restaurant as offering traditional pit barbecue with a culinary fusion. The restaurant also offers vegetarian fare.

"We're just a local restaurant, doing our thing," she said.

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