My Year in Roadfood (2013)

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2013/12/11 15:21:35 (permalink)

My Year in Roadfood (2013)

With only one scheduled trip left for the year, this seems like a good time to start on a year in review.  Since the upcoming trip will not include any burger joints, we will start there.
Top 10 Burgers

10.  Guy's Meat Market - Houston, TX

You will have to take my word on this, the burger is much better than it looks.  Guy's is a full service meat market, so you know the ground beef will be fresh.  What makes this place unusual is that the burger is smoked in a barbecue smoker.  A strong smoky flavor is a given, but we also thought the burger looked so dry.  Surprisingly, it was quite juicy.  I have no idea how they do it.  They only make a certain amount of these a day and people start lining up just before 11:00AM to get their order in.  There is no place to eat inside, so we ate it on the hood of the car, washing it down with cans of Big Red. 
9. Wheel Inn - Sedalia, MO

It is such a shame that this wonderful slice of Americana has closed down for the second time, because these guberburgers are wonderful.  The patties are thin, crispy and the modest amount of peanut butter really seems to bring out the beefiness.
8. Tookie's - Seabrook, TX

Tookie's is a great story, because they rebuilt after being destroyed by Hurricane Ike.  But people flock here for the burgers, especially the Squealer.  As you might guess, the Squealer is where they mix ground bacon right into the beef, giving it a truly unique flavor.
7. Bode's General Store - Abiquiu, NM
Bode's really is a general store first and they seem to sell just about anything you could want to buy while driving around Northern New Mexico.  In the back, they have a small counter where you can order lunch, with the green chile cheeseburger being the star of the menu.  Though certainly not in a category of the Bobcat Bite, we appreciated the heat of the green chile and the juicy patty.
6. Jobe's Drive-In - El Reno, OK

After being previously TTM'ed several times by Jobe's, we finally we were able to eat here in September.  It is still for sale, but in the meantime, they put out excellent onion burgers.  This isn't a particularly big burger and they don't hold an overwhelming amount of onions like some of the other joints in town, but we loved the crumbly, almost sausagey texture.  And the onions seemed especially carmelized and infused into the beef.
5. JG Melon - New York, NY

What they serve here is just what you look for in a tavern burger, substantial, plump and juicy.  Friendly staff made us feel at home and adding bacon to the burger is only an extra .45 cents, one of the best bargains in town.  This place gets bonus points for a genuine New York City experience as Travelin' Man and I ate here at 1:00AM after getting here via taxi.  Just as we were getting up to leave, a couple came in, with her looking like a 1920's flapper and him dressed up like Mr. Peanut!
4. Squeeze Inn - Sacramento, CA

The atmosphere at the bigger, roomier Squeeze Inn is lacking, but they still make an outstanding burger.  While similar to the excellent Shady Glen because of the cheese skirt, we liked this a little better due to a gooier cheese.
3. Zarzour's - Chattanooga, TN

The surprise of the list, because I think of the place as a meat-and-three first.  They only use fresh ground meat, which is delivered to the restaurant everyday.  While not particularly juicy, it was perfectly seasoned.  Undoubtedly due to that old-time flat top grill.  My girlfriend, who has joined me at many burger joints over the years, called this the best burger she has ever had!
2. Gott's Roadside - St. Helena, CA

There is no mistaking that this is a very upscale roadside hamburger stand.  They use only the best ingredients in everything they make and the quality really shines through.  Due to a really big breakfast, Cousin Johnny and I decided to split a burger here and as soon as it was delivered to us, we both instantly regretted ordering small.  This Wisconsin burger is grilled mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce and mayo on grilled sourdough toast.  Spectacular!
1. Hank's Hamburgers - Tulsa, OK

To be the best burger in a burger crazy city like Tulsa, you must be something special and Hank's is certainly that!  We ate a triple, with three big beefy patties, perfectly melted cheese, fresh lettuce and tomato on a toasted bun.  On top of that, Hank's has great burger joint atmosphere and is run by really nice people.  After we finished eating, I went over to tell the owner how much we loved our burgers.  While I was snapping some outside photos, he came outside and hand delivered a menu, with a signed note thanking me for coming.     
Honorable Mentions
Owl Café - Albuquerque, NM
Hamburger King - Montgomery, AL
Claud's Hamburgers - Tulsa, OK
Horseman's Haven - Santa Fe, NM
Zweig's Grill - Watertown, WI   
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/12/11 21:49:26

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