The Victorious Burgers of Burger Week

Categories: Burger Week

Kellers Burger 2.jpg
Miss you Keller's
I can't believe burger week is coming to a close, but it had to end sometime. One can only eat so many burgers before enjoyment is lost and the cheese from one burger experience melts into another.

We had six smackdowns that each pit two popular Dallas burgers against one another, and now we have six great burgers you should really seek out in Dallas.

See Also:
Burger Smackdown: West Dallas Fast Casual Class
Burger Smackdown: Deep Ellum Full Service Class
Burger Smackdown: Deep Ellum Fast Casual Class
Burger Smackdown: Dive Bar Class
Burger Smackdown: North Dallas Class

Keller's (pictured above) may not provide thick, juicy patties, but they do provide a one of a kind atmosphere that must be experienced, preferably on a warm weekend day, just afternoon.

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Odes To Our Favorite Burgers: In Which City of Ate Reflects on the Best Meats

Categories: Burger Week

Rachel Watts Burger Ode.jpg
With burgers, like many things, beauty is in the mouth of the be-eater. While I've been running around town looking for my perfect burger, I realize that everyone has their favorites, and no amount of smackdownin' is going to change the mind of a devoted burger enthusiast.

I polled the staff of the Observer and asked them, not to simply vote for their favorite burger, but defend their love. They sent me a mouthful.

Rachel Watts, clubs editor
My favorite burger is the Cool Beans cheeseburger at Cool Beans Bar and Grill in Denton, where they have maintained the same $3.50 burger special each Friday for more than a decade. For the past two years I have seldom skipped a Friday. Eating Cool Beans cheeseburgers over a game of dominoes is now a tradition in my world. What I admire most, and what has kept me coming back more than 100 times, is its inconsistency. You never really know what you're going to get, and it depends a lot on which cook is making it.

Really, it's nothing terribly fancy, just your run-of-the-mill toppings, like lettuce, tomatoes,
mayo, mustard, onions, pickles and cheddar cheese. Sometimes the burger and bun are burned to a crisp, other times the burger is so juicy the cheesy grease sauce runs down your arm and drips off of your elbow onto your basket of waffle fries (which are included in the $3.99 basket and drink special). I guess I like the element of surprise. Somehow the cheeseburger never tastes the same as the last time I ate it, whether because the proportions are always different or because each cook uses a different method, but regardless, it always tastes like a cheap American cheeseburger -- the best kind.

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Burger Smackdown: Drive Through Class, Dairy-ette Vs. Kellers

Dairy-ette's Formica counter tops and shiny, red bar stools are the marker of a burger joint with some serious history, but if you need more proof, the push-board menu drives it home -- they've been serving burgers for more than 50 years.

Order a cheeseburger here and a few minutes later a paper parcel arrives in a plastic basket, its contents gently steaming away inside. Dairy-ette was the Best Burger in Dallas in 2011, according to Jim Schutze, who proclaimed the small drive-in a master of burger basics.

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Ranking Dollar Menu Burgers: Don't Deny it, You Know You Eat Them

Categories: Burger Week

The City of Ate has spent the past week parsing and pummeling through the Dallas burger scene. We can all personally attest to the wide girth of our coverage, which includes buns, off-the-beaten-path burgers, Korean burgers, smackdowns and more.

See Also: Burger Week

But, if we're really going to discuss burgers, we can't leave out fast-food burgers. (Or can we?) Because honestly, fast-food burgers are what we eat the most. Now, I didn't technically fact-check that, nor should you, but I'm basing it on a really good source, who will remain nameless because I couldn't read her name tag. See, there was a slight snafu in my order at a McDonald's drive-thru the other day (Dr Pepper instead of Diet Coke), which was no big deal, but then the lady at the window apologized for being in such a hurry and offered this:

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An Englishman and a Scot Walk into a Korean Burger Joint ...

Categories: Burger Week

LA Burger.jpg
Gavin Cleaver
I am taking burger week seriously, everybody. Very seriously. Do you know how seriously? Normally, I do no research, display a startling lack of expertise, write a couple of swears, tell a crass joke and then insult everyone in the comments. That won't fly during this crucial period. I've got in a hired gun, an expert who writes about burgers all the time (but the opposite way to how I write about food), to sit across from me and tell me what I should be looking for, what's going on, what it is I should be thinking, where I am and what my name is. Oh, and he's British too.

See also:
- Snuffer's Gets Snuffed on Serious Eats

It is of course the Englishman's natural enemy, a Scot, more specifically Ewan MacDonald, of A Hamburger Today, previously featured here on City of Ate as a guy who knows what he's talking about. Thrown together unceremoniously on Reddit by Ewan's sister-in-law, I decided to enlist his help when it became clear how important Burger Week is on this here blog.

After a week spent insisting that he take me to the strangest burger place he's ever seen, because I thrive on awkwardness, we eventually settled on LA Burger in Irving Carrollton (10045 N. MacArthur Blvd. 1017 E. Trinity Mills Road) for its interesting fusion of the whole Americana/Korean thing, and the prospect of kimchi all up in my burger. Apparently there is a burger place in Plano so terrifying that Ewan won't even discuss it. Maybe next year.

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Burger Smackdown: North Dallas Class, Liberty Burger Vs. Hopdoddy

Of all the smackdowns I've ever done, none has been so crystal clear. I stopped by Liberty Burger first and ordered their namesake topped with cheese and bacon. Each cost me an extra buck, and the cheese I received was American.

As I paid, I watched the cooks behind the counter squish the burger patties they were cooking with their spatulas and wondered why this is such a popular practice. I guess it's something to do to keep yourself busy when all you do is flip burgers all day, but it's a shame the behavior is so common when all it does is squeeze the patties dry.

Liberty burger 2.jpg
When my massive burger arrived I was surprised to find a very moist patty, which despite being ever so slightly overcooked was actually quite delicious -- one of my favorites of this entire burger endeavor.

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Burger Smackdown: Deep Ellum Full Service Class, St. Pete's Vs. Angry Dog

I'm perplexed. The first time I had an Angry Dog burger more than a year ago, I was really disappointed. The meat was way over-cooked, the cheese wasn't melted and gooey, and I walked out of the restaurant smelling like a teenager who had just put in a double-shift at McDonald's. I was sure St. Pete's Dancing Marlin was capable of better -- they pummeled Angry Dog in a recent chili dog smackdown -- but the burger I ordered for Burger Week was exactly the same -- tough, dry and rather flavorless.

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The Perfect Burger Bun: Hunting Dallas' Best Handmade Buns

Categories: Burger Week

Village Baking Co. hamburger buns, served at Off-Site Kitchen
The bun of a hamburger is what draws me in. In terms of burger dynamics, it's your workhorse, a testament to the amount of love in the burger-maker's labor.

A slather of soft butter followed by a soft sizzle on a well-seasoned grill can resuscitate even a languid bun. Delicate crumbs form a gently toasted golden layer that gives way to a plush middle.

See also:
- Burger Week Cometh

I spoke to the Clint Cooper on the issue of proper burger bunage. He's the proprietor of Village Baking Co. and supplies bread for many local restaurants and hotels, including Off-Site Kitchen.

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Interrupting Burger Week For A Public Service Announcement From PETA

Categories: Burger Week

We're halfway through burger week, so we thought we'd take a break from the carnivorous coverage and take a look at this video from the folks at PETA.

Dubbed Stay Firm and Fresh, the newly released video suggests that men who adopt a vegan diet might be better in bed.

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A BBQ Snob Finds Bliss on a Bun at Kenny's Wood Fired Burger

Categories: Burger Week

Kenny's 01.jpg
Daniel Vaughn
We don't respect much here at the Dallas Observer, but when it comes to Texas barbecue, there's one guy whose word is holy writ: BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn, whose Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog is the go-to guide for sniffing out the best smoked meat in the state. So for Burger Week on City of Ate, who better to ask help us find that elusive creature, the real BBQ burger? Check out Vaughn's post below, and for more of the Deacon of Smoke's missives, mark your calendar for May 14. That's the release date for Vaughn's new book, The Prophets of Smoked Meat with photographer Nicholas McWhirter.

Where do you find a good barbecue burger in Dallas? Unlike Houston with Guy's Meat Market that smokes their burger patties, Dallas doesn't offer a truly smoked burger to my knowledge. There are plenty of burgers with ground brisket in the patty and even more slathered with barbecue sauce, bacon and/or onion rings and dubbed a "BBQ Burger." What I was seeking was simplicity rather than toppings. Meat cooked simply with fire, on a bun, naked and vulnerable.

Kenny Bowers will open a new barbecue joint in Plano next month, and maybe he'll do a smoked burger there. In the meantime I visited his eponymous Kenny's Wood Fired Grill in Addison. I ordered a burger to-go at the bar and found it curious that it came with a warm popover, but who was I to resist warm dough and soft butter? With only a few popover crumbs remaining on my shirt, I went over to the kitchen where they confirmed that the burgers were cooked directly over a hickory fire, unassisted by gas heat. Let's hope Kenny employs the same simple wisdom with his barbecue.

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