In June 2005, I started taking photos of the burgers I was eating while researching the feature "Texas Burger Binge." I finished the feature in August of that year, but the burger photo file kept on growing.
105 Grocery & Deli.
Okay, there is such a thing as too much meat. But when the burger patty is thick, it’s possible for the grill cook to make it a little pink in the middle, so it comes out wonderfully juicy. Such was the case with the subject of this week’s Café section review: the hand-formed hamburger at a rural convenience store in Washington called the 105 Grocery & Deli.
I could only finish half of the double meat, double cheese pictured here. I estimate that each patty was over half a pound. But it was the best half a burger I have put in my mouth in recent memory.
Adrian’s Burger Bar.
Monster Burger Invades Downtown Houston
The "Big Adrian Burger" features a one-pound ground beef patty on a toasted bun with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, purple onion, mustard, mayo and pickles. It sells for $6.50 and looks like a meatloaf on a tossed salad with some bread thrown in. You can cut it in half and feed two hungry longshoremen, or cut in it quarters and feed four people quarter-pounders
Be It Ever So at Humble Cafe
Up at the Humble Cafe, they call this monster a “Humble Burger.” The patty is a whopping ten ounces of hand-formed ground beef. The square buns are made from dense, sweet bread and well-toasted to stand up to the juicy meat. Lettuce, tomato and purple onion are standard; mustard and mayo are provided on the side.
The sandwich comes with unpeeled, hand-cut crispy fries and a whole dill pickle for $7. For $8.50, you can upgrade to a bacon cheeseburger with cheddar or a patty melt with sautéed onions and melted Swiss on toasted rye. --
Humble Cafe, 200 E. Main St. in Humble, 281-319-0200 http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating...umble_cafe.php
Best Burger on Bingle
The Cowboy Burger at JR’s Bar-B-Que, 6810 Bingle, is a free-form half-pounder topped with bacon, Monterrey Jack, and mushrooms on Texas toast. At $7.50 it’s the top of the line at JR’s Bar-B-Que, which advertises the “Best Burgers on Bingle.” (If you know of a better burger on Bingle, please let us know.)
While I was attempting to photograph the sandwich, the restaurant’s manager, a young man with a blond crewcut, came outside and confronted me. “Can I ask what you’re doing?” he asked angrily.
“Taking a picture of my hamburger,” I replied. Perhaps he thought that I was engaged in some sort of industrial espionage, a digital Hamburglar, as it were, because he took out a camera of his own and took a photo of my automobile’s license plate. I have no doubt he reported me to the police. I put my burger in the car and beat a hasty retreat before things got any testier.
I highly recommend the Cowboy Burger at JR’s Bar-B-Que, but I suggest you refrain from photographing it.
Five Guys Burgers & Fries.
Here’s a bacon cheeseburger from the new Five Guys Burger & Fries chain location at 24004 Southwest Freeway in Rosenberg.
I got mine with mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and jalapeños and paid $5.59.
The standard issue burger at Five Guys Burgers & Fries is a double patty sandwich for $4.39 -- a single patty version is called a “little burger” and it goes for $3.19. The patties weigh a little under a quarter pound.
There is a sign above the grill that says all burgers are cooked well-done, so I didn’t bother asking for anything different. Personally, I’ll take one pink and juicy half-pound patty over two well-done quarter pound patties, but lots of my friends like the thin burger patties better. And the meat here is fresh, never been frozen ground beef, so it stays juicy.
But what really makes this burger stand out is the big stack of fresh crispy vegetables they pile on it. It’s not a leaf or two of iceberg, it’s a wedge.
The tomatoes are fresh-sliced, the onion is crunchy, and the jalapeños are fresh instead of pickled.
Nice attention to construction details too. http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating...uys_burger.php
Mama’s Famous Beanburger”
at Mama’s Café came with a choice of fries or onion rings for $7.29. (I got the onion rings with a cup of ranch dressing for dipping.) The burger was voluptuous.
The signature refried beans were spread thick on the bottom bun and studded with Fritos corn chips. Then came a thick slice of raw purple onion. The burger patty was cooked medium -- it appeared to be of the previously frozen variety -- and it was topped with a slice of American cheese. Guacamole and salsa came in little plastic cups on the side -- I spread both onto the top bun. It tasted like a burger with a bean and cheese taco inside.
In his book, Hamburgers and Fries, John T. Edge used the infinite variations on the hamburger to understand the “totems of local tastes.” And he spent an entire chapter on the Alamo City bean burger.
Invented near Fort Sam Houston in the 1950s at a joint called Sill’s Snack Shop, the original bean burger was a regular ground beef patty on a bun, topped with refried beans, Fritos corn chips and a dollop of Cheez Whiz. Lots of burger joints in San Antonio serve the original version, while upscale variations there include bean burgers made with trendy black beans and Chris Madrid’s tostada burger made with tortilla chips instead of Fritos.
The bean burger and its Tex-Mex embellishments “define the burger as Texan, while paying homage to the Mexican roots of the state’s people,” according to Edge. “Of course I could be overanalyzing this,” he continues. “But I am convinced that (the) bean burger evokes as strong a sense of place as cedar-planked salmon from Washington State’s Sammamish Watershed, or Basque barbecued lamb from Boise, Idaho.”
They sure do taste good. And I have to agree with Edge when he notes that the Fritos make a remarkable difference in the taste and texture. Even without the Cheez Whiz, I’d say Mama’s serves a pretty authentic bean burger. The place comes by it naturally. Mama’s Café is a mini-chain that started in San Antonio, with three locations there and the one in Houston at 6019 Westheimer.
Cheeburger Cheeburger Comes to Texas
This impressive half-pound burger came from Cheeburger Cheeburger, a new “gourmet hamburger” chain location in the Vintage Park Shopping Center off Louetta. We ordered ours cooked medium (they don’t allow medium-rare) with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo, pickles, onions and jalapeños. The completed sandwich was held together with an olive-adorned toothpick. The thick, rounded patty came out pink in the middle and wonderfully juicy.
A half-pounder, which is known as “The Serious Burger” here, actually starts out with a 10- ounce fresh-ground Black Angus beef patty so that when it shrinks on the grill, you still get a half pound of burger. There is also the “Pounder,” or one pound burger, that starts out as 20 ounces and “The Delirious,” a three-quarter pounder that starts with 14 ounces. Seven ounce “Semi-serious” and five and half ounce “Beginner” burgers are also available. There are nine choices of cheese, including swiss, cheddar, jack, provolone and blue. Condiments are by request.
The Cheeburger Cheeburger menu also offers handcut fries and onion rings, and giant milkshakes in dozens of flavors. The chain is patterned after the first location which opened on Sanibel Island Florida in 1986. There are now more than 60 franchises in operation, mostly on the East Coast. The Houston location is the first in Texas. --
Big Thicket Burger
Last week, I tried a Dippity’s double meat, double cheese on a fresh baked bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo, mustard and jalapeños. It was pretty impressive. Great onion rings too. The fresh-ground hand-formed beef patties weighed five and half ounces each, so a double was eleven ounces. They also had a novelty burger called a Texas Tummy Tackler that weighed more than a pound. I find it difficult to order anything with a name that goofy.
Dippity’s is located on South Main in the Big Thicket town of Lumberton about 15 minutes north of Beaumont. Evidently this old Texas hamburger joint was originally housed in a humble shack across the street from its current location. The new digs are kind of empty and antiseptic. The burger was excellent, but I wonder if it used to be better at the old place.