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Determining the Best Burger

Old 04-11-15, 10:16 PM
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Determining the Best Burger

On my food blog, I'm on a mission to find the best burger in Wichita, KS. I'll be going to roughly 30 burger restaurants in the next 2 and a half months.

To assist with this, I'm working on seeing what people value more in a burger. So I'm asking DVDTalk, please rank the five categories in order of importance (1-5) to you when eating out for burgers

- Burger Meat
- Burger Juiciness
- The Bun
- The Toppings
- The Price

I need this to figure out my weighted scale for when I do my rankings

If you'd like to follow along: http://wichitabyeb.blogspot.com/2015...ta-burger.html
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Old 04-11-15, 10:53 PM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by edytwinky View Post
On my food blog, I'm on a mission to find the best burger in Wichita, KS. I'll be going to roughly 30 burger restaurants in the next 2 and a half months.

To assist with this, I'm working on seeing what people value more in a burger. So I'm asking DVDTalk, please rank the five categories in order of importance (1-5) to you when eating out for burgers

- Burger Meat
- Burger Juiciness
- The Bun
- The Toppings
- The Price

I need this to figure out my weighted scale for when I do my rankings

If you'd like to follow along: http://wichitabyeb.blogspot.com/2015...ta-burger.html
The quality of the meat, the juiciness and the bun are all the most important IMO. Everything else is secondary.
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Old 04-12-15, 12:53 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Seconded.
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Old 04-12-15, 12:57 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

If the quality of the meat was all that mattered, then we'd all happily plunk down $20+ for our angus beef hamburger fix. I acknowledge that price is apparently more of a factor than most people want to admit. So my rankings would be: burger meat, price, juiciness, bun, toppings.
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Old 04-12-15, 01:08 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Paging Slop... Paging Slop in ..... 3.... 2..... 1......
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Old 04-12-15, 01:18 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Are there even thirty non-chain restaurants in Wichita where you can get burgers?
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Old 04-12-15, 01:24 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by edytwinky View Post
To assist with this, I'm working on seeing what people value more in a burger. So I'm asking DVDTalk, please rank the five categories in order of importance (1-5) to you when eating out for burgers

- Burger Meat
- Burger Juiciness
- The Bun
- The Toppings
- The Price

I need this to figure out my weighted scale for when I do my rankings
When I judge food, I don't really judge it by weighing criteria like that. It's pretty much the whole experience, mostly how well all of the things work together - taste, texture, juiciness, bun quality, topping quality, etc.
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Old 04-12-15, 04:03 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Are there even thirty non-chain restaurants in Wichita where you can get burgers?
It's the Midwest. All they got is food joints.
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Old 04-12-15, 06:23 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

I'm confused as to how price determines into the value of the best burger.

That's not the burger at all. It's a factor to getting it but not a determining one for quality of the food.
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Old 04-12-15, 06:54 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

- Burger Juiciness
- Burger Meat
- The Bun
- The Price
- The Toppings

I think that's how I'd rank them. The best burger money can buy will be shit if it's overcooked. Buns are almost as important. I like 5 Guys but their buns are so run of the mill it almost ruins the experience. Sesame seed buns are for McDs and Burger King. Get that shit outta there(same goes for SmashBurger). We have a local place that ripped off the 5 Guys formula but has fresh baked buns. It makes a big difference.

Also eating 30 burgers in 2 months seems rather unwise for the heart.
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Old 04-12-15, 07:17 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Proper seasoning is important imho, it's what separates Five Guys from good burgers.
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Old 04-12-15, 07:36 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by zyzzle View Post
If the quality of the meat was all that mattered, then we'd all happily plunk down $20+ for our angus beef hamburger fix. I acknowledge that price is apparently more of a factor than most people want to admit. So my rankings would be: burger meat, price, juiciness, bun, toppings.
While I agree with your reasoning, to be honest, I can't think of a single restaurant that prices their burgers above, say, $12. So price, while important, doesn't seem to factor into my burger making decision all too much. if I went to a fancy steakhouse or something that sold a $20+ burger, I probably wouldn't be ordering a burger anyway.

I say:
Meat
Bun
Juiciness
Price
Toppings
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Old 04-12-15, 09:03 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by Solid Snake View Post
I'm confused as to how price determines into the value of the best burger.

That's not the burger at all. It's a factor to getting it but not a determining one for quality of the food.
Price is an inherent component of value. Getting a great 1-hr massage for $30 at a spa is a fantastic value. Getting a great 1-hr massage for $120 at a spa is not a good value, as that's the price of most spas.
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Old 04-12-15, 09:04 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by Michael Corvin View Post
Also eating 30 burgers in 2 months seems rather unwise for the heart.
See if you can stretch this out over the summer and make it 30 burgers over 90 days or 120. It really is not very healthy.
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Old 04-12-15, 09:22 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by edytwinky View Post
On my food blog, I'm on a mission to find the best burger in Wichita, KS. I'll be going to roughly 30 burger restaurants in the next 2 and a half months.

To assist with this, I'm working on seeing what people value more in a burger. So I'm asking DVDTalk, please rank the five categories in order of importance (1-5) to you when eating out for burgers

- Burger Meat
- Burger Juiciness
- The Bun
- The Toppings
- The Price

I need this to figure out my weighted scale for when I do my rankings

If you'd like to follow along: http://wichitabyeb.blogspot.com/2015...ta-burger.html


Now to actually answer the question.

Burger Meat: This is ultimately the core of the hamburger. Everything else can be great but if the meat sucks, then what's the point? Great patties will be made from a mix of cuts (e.g. Pat La Frieda's mix of chuck, brisket, and short-rib). You need that balance of flavor, juiciness, texture (crisp outside), etc.

Burger Juiciness: Inherent to the meat, and should not be a separate category. (Or perhaps, you should have flavor, juiciness, texture, etc.)

The Bun: I think this is the one that most restaurants fuck up so easily. What are you doing putting your burger on a giant Kaiser roll? Get the fuck out of here with that shit. The bun should be soft, not hard and dry, and have enough give that it squish around the remaining ingredients so your burger doesn't fall apart. You know what kinds of burgers fall apart? The ones with dry-ass, hard burger buns.

The Toppings: I think here you need to establish a line in the sand. Will it be worthwhile to compare a, say, cheeseburger to a bacon jalapeño turkey burger? No. These are two different sandwiches. I would recommend having one standard burger category (cheeseburger with whatever cheese they recommend), plus one wild card category (chili, turkey, etc.)

The Price: Important to figure out value. You will probably end up with three categories: Fast Food prices (under $5 for burger), Sit-Down Prices ($5–12), and luxury ($12+). I'm estimating Wichita prices here, but the luxury category should only have a handful of burgers.

A few things to think about which may not be included in the above:

Ingredient balance: Ever get a burger that's basically like biting into a slab of meatloaf with some cheese on the outside? In a dumb quest for making the “manliest” burgers, plenty of places have abominations like these. Same goes for a burger with a skimpy little patty and an entire salad between the buns. (This would be a component of ingredients to consider).

The Aftermath: Did you feel sick afterwards?

Restaurant: Is it a national chain, regional chain (Freddy's), or local spot?




Anyways... good luck!
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Old 04-12-15, 09:25 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

The most expensive “regular” burger I can think here is Minetta Tavern's Black Label burger which is $28. It doesn't have some dumb shit like truffle oil or gold flakes on it.

My friend says it's stupidly expensive but worth trying at least once.
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Old 04-12-15, 09:27 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
The most expensive “regular” burger I can think here is Minetta Tavern's Black Label burger which is $28. It doesn't have some dumb shit like truffle oil or gold flakes on it.

My friend says it's stupidly expensive but worth trying at least once.
What the hell is on it to make it $28? Even the one at Capital Grill is under $20.

M Shack, a local burger place, has a $20 burger but it has Foie Gras on it. Another local place has a $15 one but it comes with pork belly and some other stuff, and is fucking exquisite.

Spoiler:
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Old 04-12-15, 09:29 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
The most expensive “regular” burger I can think here is Minetta Tavern's Black Label burger which is $28. It doesn't have some dumb shit like truffle oil or gold flakes on it.

My friend says it's stupidly expensive but worth trying at least once.
What the hell is on it to make it $28? Even the one at Capital Grill is under $20.

M Shack, a local burger place, has a $20 burger but it has Foie Gras on it. Another local place has a $14 one but it comes with pork belly and some other stuff, and it is fucking exquisite.
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Old 04-12-15, 09:59 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

You guys put too much thought into this.

Cheap Burgers (McDonalds, Burger King, Etc)

Pretty Good Burgers (In and Out, Five Guys, Etc)

Restaurant Burgers (Insert Your Fave Restaurant Here) I'd also lump my homemade burgers into this category. Best ingredients from Whole Foods. Maybe a little salt and cook it in butter or olive oil. Done.
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Old 04-12-15, 10:31 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

For me, the bun has the most to do with it. They need to be fresh, toasted/grilled and soft, yet thick enough not to disintegrate (especially on the bottom) while you're eating it. Not a fan of burgers in panini bread (or panini bread in general) or other non-traditional rolls.
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Old 04-12-15, 10:35 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by zyzzle View Post
If the quality of the meat was all that mattered, then we'd all happily plunk down $20+ for our angus beef hamburger fix. I acknowledge that price is apparently more of a factor than most people want to admit. So my rankings would be: burger meat, price, juiciness, bun, toppings.
The price depends on the situation. I would happily pay $20 for a huge, overflowing burger at a specialty burger joint while on vacation, but it's really unlikely I would order one at home, even on a special occasion.
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Old 04-12-15, 10:46 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

I don't think you come up with a "best burger". Its like saying the single best beer or single best car.

I put burgers into roughly two very broad categories:

1) "Greasy Spoon" Burgers - these are inexpensive, usually thin patty burgers (but can and typically are ordered w/multiple patties), cooked through (don't bother asking for medium rare) served at "dive" spots. Maybe a local diner, or drive in. They have fresh veggies, and a good bun, but cheap (some times processed) cheese. Sauce is your basic mustard, mayo and/or ketchup. However due to the consistency, seasonings and "it" factor they are just damn good. It is a guilty pleasure.

2) "Gourmet" burgers - these are more expensive, often very expensive w/in-house custom ground meat. The meat often has sirloin, bacon or something else than basic ground beef. These are thick, flavorful patties that are cooked to perfection like an expensive steak. Toppings are taken up a notch some simple like caramelized onions or pan seared mushrooms, to the ridiculous like truffle shavings. Cheese is gourmet in just the right proportions. Sauce is custom in-house made. It is a work of art, with incredible flavors.

And of course while these are extremes, there are sub categories and "in between".

But if I was rating burgers I'd have at least these two catagories. As they cannot be compared to each other, yet are arguable just as good as each other.
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Old 04-12-15, 10:49 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by The Bus View Post


Now to actually answer the question.

Burger Meat: This is ultimately the core of the hamburger. Everything else can be great but if the meat sucks, then what's the point? Great patties will be made from a mix of cuts (e.g. Pat La Frieda's mix of chuck, brisket, and short-rib). You need that balance of flavor, juiciness, texture (crisp outside), etc.

Burger Juiciness: Inherent to the meat, and should not be a separate category. (Or perhaps, you should have flavor, juiciness, texture, etc.)

The Bun: I think this is the one that most restaurants fuck up so easily. What are you doing putting your burger on a giant Kaiser roll? Get the fuck out of here with that shit. The bun should be soft, not hard and dry, and have enough give that it squish around the remaining ingredients so your burger doesn't fall apart. You know what kinds of burgers fall apart? The ones with dry-ass, hard burger buns.

The Toppings: I think here you need to establish a line in the sand. Will it be worthwhile to compare a, say, cheeseburger to a bacon jalapeño turkey burger? No. These are two different sandwiches. I would recommend having one standard burger category (cheeseburger with whatever cheese they recommend), plus one wild card category (chili, turkey, etc.)

The Price: Important to figure out value. You will probably end up with three categories: Fast Food prices (under $5 for burger), Sit-Down Prices ($5–12), and luxury ($12+). I'm estimating Wichita prices here, but the luxury category should only have a handful of burgers.

A few things to think about which may not be included in the above:

Ingredient balance: Ever get a burger that's basically like biting into a slab of meatloaf with some cheese on the outside? In a dumb quest for making the “manliest” burgers, plenty of places have abominations like these. Same goes for a burger with a skimpy little patty and an entire salad between the buns. (This would be a component of ingredients to consider).

The Aftermath: Did you feel sick afterwards?

Restaurant: Is it a national chain, regional chain (Freddy's), or local spot?




Anyways... good luck!
And yet you post some overrated In n Out shit? They're awful.
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Old 04-12-15, 10:59 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Also, depending where you go, novelty buns are the new thing.

Here's a pretzel burger:

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Old 04-12-15, 11:09 AM
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Re: Determining the Best Burger

Originally Posted by Jason View Post
For me, the bun has the most to do with it. They need to be fresh, toasted/grilled and soft, yet thick enough not to disintegrate (especially on the bottom) while you're eating it.
Good point. When making burgers at home, I always finish them off by dippping the insides in the leftover grease, and then heat them up in an egg-flipper-pan. Without cooking the bun, you're not doing it right.
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