Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Burger Snob

Warning:  None of this post is about healthy eating.  It's about burgers, plain and simple.  I make room in my diet for things that I love, and burgers are high on my list.  A healthy burger is a lesser burger.  Have fewer burgers, but have the burgers you love.

Burger Snob

I have to be honest, fast food burgers are better than homemade.

I know there will be thought of "Well, you haven't had mine."  While that's true, I have had many people's awesome, homemade burgers.  They are good and I do like them, but it's not the same.  There's usually some sort of gourmet bun, plus there's things like egg, onion, or spices in the meat.  All good, but it takes them to a different category.  Sorta like a meatloaf sandwich is also not an awesome burger... 

Rather than truly article this thing out, I'll let the burger descriptions do my talking.

This is not a ranking, other than to rank these as high enough to make my list.  They are all different and serve different needs.  Yet, they all satisfy "need for burger."

True Fast Food Burger

Carl's Jr Famous Star with Cheese - Char broiled 1/4 lb patty, a good bun, plenty of sauces to drip all over, all the toppings, and you've got one of the best burgers out there.  They seem to have the cooking of the meat down to a science.  If you like that Famous Star, only you want bigger, go for the Super Star, which doubles the meat and cheese, or The Six Dollar Burger, which is the same, but with one 1/2 lb patty.  All good.
Jack In The Box Jumbo Jack with Cheese - There's something about the thicker meat patty, mayo and ketchup, plus the rest that makes this burger really tasty.  It's fried, but they pull it off.


These two are pretty different from other burger chains and from each other.  So unique that, for some reason, people who totally avoid fast food will go here.  They even take their out of town guests.  Neither is actually healthier than the major chains, but somehow they get a pass from a lot of people who wouldn't dare drive through McDonald's.  Despite the double standards, I have to admit that I love these places, too.

In-N-Out Double-Double - Unchanged for how many years?  I don't know.  They still use the small, thin patties that seemed to be enough for us back in the oldin' days.  Two patties, two slices of cheese, thick tomato, secret sauce and all the rest.  It is all fresh, and you can watch them slice and dice, right there.  Pure and basic is what In N Out is all about.

The original location - no fries, chips!
Tommy's Cheeseburger - Tommy's is really all about the chili, which goes on top of all the things they serve.  Like In N Out, it's the small patty, simple bun, and thick tomato slices, and topped by good (and greasy) chili!  Mmm...  seriously good stuff.

Guilty Pleasure

Big Mac - Everyone knows this one.  You love it or hate it.  I love it, with it's awesome Mac sauce and weird little onions.  It could be better with less bread and more meat, but I have to admit that it's a good burger when I can spare 660 calories and still be okay with being hungry, cuz it's just not all that filling with so little meat.  I eat about one a year these days, usually with a bunless McDouble on the side.  Total calorie load for the two, 880!

Carls Jr Western Bacon Cheeseburger - The bun is flat and all the colors are too similar.  Onion rings, bacon, cheese, bbq sauce, and meat.  It all blurs together.  Despite it's sad look, I have to say that it's a magical combination who's sum is greater than it's parts.

Tom's/Tony's/Ray's/Roy's/Steve's Burgers, Gyros, Burritos, and Broasted Chicken

In So Cal, we have something like this on every other corner.  They aren't a chain, but since all the meat, buns, secret sauce/1000 island dressing, shredded lettuce, super thin onions, etc. are seemingly from the same source, they might as well be a chain.

These types have burgers, pastrami, burritos, and often gyros, teriyaki, and broasted chicken (whatever that is).
You can rest assured that you will get a tasty burger and those thicker fries (the only ones I actually eat anymore).  Nice vinyl booths, the scent of miscellaneous faux foreign cuisines, and the ubiquitous "daily special" of a cheeseburger, fries, and a soda for $4.99 gives every other corner a familiar feeling, whether you've been to that particular corner before or not.

Burgers at Home

As I said earlier, burgers out are better than burgers in.  But, if you want me to love your home made burgers...
  • Press the patty hard.  In restaurants they press them, hard, into the patty shape.  I use a big plastic jar lid that's just a bit bigger than the bun.  Line it with a baggy, press the patty into shape, and use the baggy to lift it out.  Pressed like this, the burger is flatter, even thickness, holds together better, and best of all, isn't super tall and small (almost like a misshapen meatball?) and looking sad on that big gourmet bun.  
  • Like I mentioned above, the bun must match the burger in size.  Somehow.  Wendy's sucks because of that whole square patty thing and home burgers tend to suck because they become a flattened meatball in the cooking process.
  • Just meat, salt and pepper.  Spices, eggs, oatmeal or breadcrumbs, or some exotic fruit of veggie might really taste good, but if you go this route, you don't need to lay out all the "normal' condiments anymore.  Now it's a special burger and it deserves the sauce you designed, the veggies you know will make it right, and that special bun to top it off.  It's all good, so skip the catchup if it's going to make you cringe when someone pours it on your masterpiece.  You're making burgers OR you're making your burgers.  Decide.

I'll eat your fancy, spiced burger, you know.  But just know that it's not the best burger ever.  It's a meatloaf sandwich.

Ross Enemait posted this on Facebook on Tuesday.  Couldn't be more timely...


  1. catchup? as in, "so skip the catchup." Are you trying to start a trend? As if two ways to spell the tomato condiment wasn't enough?


  2. Oops! Um, I mean I'm just trying to play it safe with people who search in google. You never know! ;)


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