Thursday, January 20, 2011

That's A Tasty Burger

Say "Whataburger" again!
I'm not saying that whatever Drew wants, he gets around here.  But he did make a solid point yesterday in that we need more posts about food/booze.  I couldn't agree more.  We've had lively discussions about chicken wings and pizza before, so hopefully we can keep it going when I take the theme of the day over to the grill.  Let's talk burgers.  Everybody likes burgers.  So let's see what I think makes them great, makes them shitty, where to get the best, and where to avoid them like the plague.  I have 30 years of experience when it comes to eating and I'm pretty good at it, so consider me sort of an expert.  Let's start things off with one clarification that shouldn't need to be said but I will (AGAIN) anyway:

It is OK to put ketchup on a burger.  It is not OK to put ketchup on anything that is put in a hot dog bun.  Period.  I've yelled at my own mother for this before so you know that I'm very passionate about ketchup usage.  Now that we have that out of the way, how should one of the greatest foods ever be prepared?

*You better fucking grill it - grill marks are fucking beautiful, aren't they?
*Toast the bun - Always toast it.  My wife refuses to do this which I think is archaic and uncouth.
*Melt the cheese - Nothing offends me more than when I order a cheeseburger and it's brought to me with a cold Kraft single on top of it.
*Always include bacon when available - I don't need to explain this more than saying that bacon makes everything better
*Grill the onions - Best topping that you could have that doesn't come from a pig...holy shit are grilled onions great or what?
*The tomato has to be ripe - I grew up in the Tomato Capital so I demand quality tomatoes.  I always open my burger and check to see if the tomato has that white circle in the middle indicating it is not at it's best.  If I see this, the tomato gets tossed.  I am very strict.
*Brown lettuce is not welcome - Lettuce is green, not brown.  I hate brown lettuce.
*Crunchy pickles are a must - Those shit pickles that you get at McDonald's?  Fuck 'em.  Bitches better be crunchy.  Having different textures within your burger is underrated.
*Mayo is white trash - The older that I get, the more that I realize that mayo is really gross.  I don't put mayo on anything anymore.

Now that that is said, let's get the no-no's out of the way:
*Make sure it's cooked - OK, I am one of those guys who always orders things well done.  But I have a good reason for it.  I am DEATHLY afraid of undercooked meat.  No joke.  One of my groomsman once got sick (he ate chicken off of a plate where it had been thawing...he is not smart) and was shitting blood for three days.  That is terrifying.  So that is why you will never see me order anything rare or medium or even medium well.  I don't care either.  I don't want to have a period coming from my ass.  Deal with it.
*Sliders are gay - Don't order these.  I like going to White Castle about once a year but you, as a man, leave the mini-burgers to the women and gays.  You are a man, dammit, and a burger should always be a two-hand event.
*The Whopper is disgusting - It is really, really, really not good.
*Never ever use mushrooms - I hate these things.  They have no flavor and grow in shit.  Who exactly was the first person to think of eating these things anyway?

My favorite 5 burger joints (if it isn't on the list, I haven't been there so get over it)

Places I still need to get to:  Johnnie's Tavern (which Drew is going to tell us about), Whataburger, Graffiti Burger, and Fatburger (I think it's a Cincy thing, but I've heard all good shit)

Honorable Mention: McDonald's/Big Boy - Come on, who doesn't love a Big Mac/Big Boy every once in a while?  Those things are delicious!  By the way, I have never told any stories here about my tenure as a waiter at Big Boy back in high school.  Let's just say that it was hilarious and disgusting and that you should never eat there again.
5. Town Tap - You Naptowners know what I'm talking about.  But this recognition is for the days when Boxer still owned the place and ruled the world with his burgers and soup, not when those Liberty Center assholes fucked everything up.  I believe that Mr. Ace will back this claim up 100%.  Also a treat from Nap, the Whamburger.
4. Red Robin - I never knew that this place existed before moving to Columbus, but I have never had a bad experience there.  Nothing great, but everything is good.  And if you wonder if I have ever asked for more of their all-you-can-eat fries as soon as my burger and fries get to the table, just know that I have done that more than once.
3. Five Guys - I assume that someone has a heart attack in that place at least once a week.
2. In-N-Out - Gotta go animal-style but this place is just incredible.  Somehow, they make a fast food burger taste amazingly fresh.  It's bizarre but very boner-inducing.  Walter Sobcheck knows his burgers.

1. Thurman's - This will always be #1 to me.  If I made goals for myself, taking down The Thurmanator (which I believe is a Thurman Burger AND a bacon cheeseburger all in between one bun) is on that list.  I also want to leave someone an Upper Decker.  I have lofty goals as you can see.

And I couldn't finish this post with constructing my own beauty..."THE BIG MONEY"
1/2 pound patty (well done of course) on a toasted onion bun, bacon, grilled onions, smoked cheddar, banana peppers, A-1 steak sauce, and a generous glob of my spit.  Delicious.  Who wouldn't eat that?

Discuss good places to get a sandwich.  Make your own burger.  Whatever you want...the important thing is that we're talking meat.


Anonymous said...

O'Charlies has really good fucking burgers, they remind of Red Robin.


Grumpy said...

Zips in Cincinnati. Five Guys. McDonald's sucks, but the Super Big Boy is great. Dip your fries in mayo. Try it, you'll like it.

Can't wait for Iceman to do a review on sausage eating.

Drew said...

That's some good stuff there and it already makes me want to eat a big burger today.

I don't really disagree with any of your toppings stuff. I'd throw mushrooms on there, but I don't need them. I do like jalapenos on my burgers if possible and I prefer pepperjack cheese when an option.

Graffiti Burger is a solid joint.

I've never had a Big Mac lie.

I don't put mayo on anything.

Thurman Burger is the obvious choice for # 1 and there should be no disagreement.

Johnnie's Tavern. Anybody in Columbus should make a trip to this will have a great burger. It's basically a little bar/shack on Trabue Rd just West of Riverside Dr. It's a tiny little place...probably enough tables to sit 20 people and a bar with maybe ten bar stools. Somehow they also fit a pool table in the joint. Anyways it's everything a dive bar should be...but, they make fucking excellent burgers. The ONLY things they make are burgers and roast beef or bologna sandwiches. I've only seen people get burgers...and you can get fries or onion rings. Plus, they serve beer in frosted mugs which is always excellent. You will be scared to enter the joint when you arrive to it....but, I guarantee you will have one tasty ass burger and fries for like $7.

GMoney said...

Jalapenos (and guacamole for some reason) give me explosive diarrhea. That is all. Pepper Jack is the superior cheese over all others but I kept it off of my burger since it would lose it's flavor with the A-1.

By the way, I don't know if they still sell it or not, but BK's cheeseburger with bbq sauce and onion rings on it was a delight.

Oh yes, Johnnie's, I know where that is. I'm scared to even drive by it. It's near the Private Dancer, I believe.

Anonymous said...

If you are ever in the Akron area, gotta hit up Swenson's. Was actually on TV recently and won best burger. The place is famous for incredible burgers.


MuDawgfan said...

Now that I live in Cincinnati - I'll agree that Zips is excellent. For that matter, so is Terry's Turf club AND Oakley Pub.

In reference to toppings - some more that should be considered:

1. Crunchy Fried Onion strings
2. BBQ Sauce - applied conservatively.
3. Decent, normal Bacon. Not shitty thin strips. Give me a man's cut of bacon.

In reference to joints you should try - has anyone ever been to "Ted's" ??
Pretty good spot (if a bit pricey).

Anonymous said...

I agree with Seal, the “Galley Boy” at Swenson’s is a must have for any burger eating aficionado.

In terms of toppings has any mentioned a fried egg?

J from JBeanie

GMoney said...

Dawg, you talking about Ted's Montana Grill? I think the Ted is Ted Turner, isn't it? Good burgers but nothing legendary.

I don't eat eggs, J. I don't believe in eating an aborted fetus!

Anonymous said...

Anyone that gets their steak well done should be shot. What a waste!

I can't believe you put Red Robin over the Town Tap. I would put Town Tap number one on my list.

I have Fatburger high on my list, but my judgement may be off since I had it after a nice long binge drinking session in Phoenix. Also, I stole the burger, so that adds to the enjoyment.

Sonic has the best fast food burgers.

Thurman's is overrated.


Drew said...

Ted's is good because they have game burgers. Growing up I worked at a restaurant where you could get Emu and Buffalo burgers.

GMoney said...

Don't tell me how to eat a steak. Clearly I'm better at eating than you are!!!

Yeah, I've done the bison and buffalo burgers, too, but it ain't no beef.

Dut, the only person I knew that ever ate at Sonic was Reba and he didn't care for it at all. So again, fuck you.

GMoney said...

And I might be ranking the Tap so low because it's been about a decade since they made a quality sandwich.

Jake said...

Tilted Kilt in Polaris makes a solid burger. But since you're of homosexual persuasion, I doubt you'll try it.

Graffiti Burger is good, but it is the exact same thing as Five Guys with cole slaw. Five Guys is better.

Tony B. said...

There was a point where I ate at In-And-Out too often and got sick of it. It loses its mystique when there are 12 locations I could go on any given day. I try to only eat there every few months so I can really appreciate it when I go.

Mayo is gross. An excellent condiment is Beaver's Sweet Hot Mustard. Check it out.

Upstate Underdog said...

In-N-Out is the best burger chain, ever. Whattaburger is a close second, get your ass to one of them.

Also, Checkers makes a decent burger. McDonalds is shit, Wendy's is the best of the Big 3 (McD's, BK, and Wendy's)

The Iceman said...

Sausage...dicks...I get it. Real original Grumpy. For a white trash inbred Steeler fan. Go back to fucking your sister or cousin (whoever puts up the least amount of fight) and using your "Twilight" pillow case to clean up the shame.

The best burger I've ever had is a place in Chicago called Kuma's Corner. Every burger they have is named after a heavy metal band. They also use pretzel buns which are fucking boss if you've never had them. I recommend the Slayer. It will rip your face off. It's a bit pricey $10 to $15 per burger) and you're gonna wait in line (we waited almost 2 hours) but it's totally worth it.

I've had the Thurminator and I will shake the hand of whoever can finish it. Thurman's is the shit. Also, a non burger joint that is worth mentioning is P.J's in Columbus. I got a sandwich there that had chicken fingers, potato skins, mozz sticks, bacon and liquid cheese on it. I cried while eating it.

Drew said...

Iceman....PJ's has a sandwich named after my brother due to all the beer/food he used to buy after living across the street from them for three years. Here it is...

Skinny Dean
$7.25 Pizza steak, pepperoni, mozzarella sticks, bacon, potato skins and onion rings

Tony B. said...

UU - I agree with the Wendy's call. If I have to eat at one of those fast food joints, Wendy's is the best.

It's too bad they don't have Jack In The Box out in the Midwest. I'm not putting it in the class of the places G$ mentioned, but it's pretty good from time to time.

The Iceman said...

Skinny Dean
$7.25 Pizza steak, pepperoni, mozzarella sticks, bacon, potato skins and onion rings

That sounds amazing. I'm shocked that Bowling Green hasn't borrowed PJ's idea yet. It's the perfect college town for that type of food.

Anonymous said...

Best sit down restaurant burger: Thurman's. Anyone who says it is overrated is an idiot.

Best Fast food burger: In-N-Out. Excellent burgers....Best in this region: Sonic.

McDonalds blows. The only good thing about McDonalds is its breakfast. BK has way better burgers (including the Whopper).

Five Guys is good, but a little expensive for what they give you. Yeah, it is fresh and fully customized and they give you twice as many fries as you ordered, but the actual burgers are not anything great.

Also, although I like my steaks cooked with some color in the center, a burger has to be cooked all the way through. A rare burger is gross.

I also make an good burger. I believe some commenters can vouch.

-Lil' Strut

Ace said...

Town Tap was legit. Its a shame Boxer let it go. Their old school casing hot dogs were fantastic.

I've only had Thurman's once and I thought it was good not great. But I've only had it once so I'm not judging them yet.

Graffiti Burger was solid. But it has nothing on Five Guys.

My favorite creation is a ranch burger...but I will save that for some other time.

GMoney said...

OK, for the record, I'm not calling McD's good, just that sometimes a Big Mac is fucking delicious.

Iceman, Burgers + Heavy Metal sounds like an outstanding combo.

PJ's is the shit. Anyone who gets a sandwich named after them is very impressive. Drew, was that Skinny Dean that I met on Friday night?

And yes, Li'l Strut, I accept your offer to grill up some burgers for me.

Drew said...

Yes, that Dean you met on Friday was Skinny Dean. They even let him come up with the ingredients for the sandwich.

I've never had Jack in the Box. I do remember when I was a kid they had some terrible health people barfing all over due to the meat they used or something.

Anonymous said...


You name the time/place. Its not whats on my burgers that makes them great, it is what is in them. Just an fyi.

-Lil' Strut

GMoney said...

I don't even know what that means but I'm terrified.

And for all you Wendy's wonks out there, is it just me or is everything there getting ridiculously expensive? You can't even get a value meal for less than 6 bucks, it seems.

Anonymous said...


I love me some Wendy's, and you are right, the combo meals are getting pricey. I normally always get a combo meal, but now its more of a value to just order of the $.99 menu.

-Lil' Strut

Drew said...

I eat like a bird at lunch to keep my girly figure....I get the exact same thing each time I go to Wendy's during lunch.

Large Chili (their chili is really good somehow and not bad for you)
Side Salad
Value soft drink

Comes out to $ 4.99.

Drew said...

I hope Lil' Strut means he puts marijuana in his burgers somehow.

Tony B. said...

There was actually a Wendy's location that was dealing Weed out of their drive thru. You had to order your burger with "extra lettuce" to let them know you were an interested buyer. I have a feeling that lasted about a week before they got caught.

Upstate Underdog said...

@TonyB, yes Jack in the Box is pretty good. Especially their breakfast burritos.

Johnnyhopkins said...

I'm ganna throw some Pittsburgh taste into this. Primanti brothers is fucking delicious one of the best burger sandwiches I have ever tasted. But five guys does do it up for a chain restaurant and it is greasy as hell.

Your red robin spot is too far up the only good thing to come out of that place is their steak fries.