The Yacht Club Burger at TJ's Seafood with the "surf and turf" option of grilled shrimp.EXPAND
The Yacht Club Burger at TJ's Seafood with the "surf and turf" option of grilled shrimp.
Joey Stewart

Candied Bacon, Mac and Cheese and Ghost Peppers: The Craziest Burgers in Dallas

There are a handful of burgers in Dallas that are just a little bit mad. These sandwiches lurk out there in the wild with the rest of Dallas’ cheeseburgers, and they may just step on a few buildings if you don’t keep an eye on them.

Some of Dallas’ wildest burgers simply buck the diner tradition: The cheeseburger taco, which wouldn’t be strange to see in south Los Angeles, gets a Texas-themed twist at Velvet Taco, and over at Dallas’ Cuban-themed food hut in Oak Cliff, there’s a chorizo-spiked burger (which also doubles as a taco) with potato matchsticks. Don’t forget, ever, the pork burger at DaLat, fried to a buttery crunch, and served banh mi-style with a long bun, crisp carrots, thinly sliced jalapeños and cucumber columns. Add a fried egg and you’ve got an unexpected Dallas’ gem of a burger.

So, yes, Dallas chefs like to swing for the fences. Here’s six of the most intense burgers in the city:

The Yacht Club Burger at TJ’s Seafood, $17 ($5 more if you add shrimp)
4212 Oak Lawn Ave., 6025 Royal Lane
Even in name, TJ’s Seafood isn’t holding back on the cheeseburger recently added to their menu. Bacon is brushed with whiskey and maple syrup, slicing through the sandwich with a boozy sweetness. The patty is local Rosewood Ranch wagyu, and smart, sharp white cheddar bolsters the richness. Then there’s the addition of grilled shrimp, which TJ’s delivers with a confidence that’ll make you whisper “how dare you.” They know that they’re experts at seafood: The grilled shrimp, on their own, are delicious. A few of them resting on white cheddar burger is decadent insanity.

When in doubt, deep-fry.
When in doubt, deep-fry.
Dallas Beer Kitchen

The Texas Fair Burger at Dallas Beer Kitchen, $11.99
1802 Greenville Ave.
Dallas Beer Kitchen had a message for the problems that came with the construction on Lower Greenville: Deep-fry it. One chicken-fried steak dish is called a Hot DBK, which is probably a solid ’90s porn flick, and one of their burgers is fried. It’s their 68 percent beef and 32 percent fat patty encased in a crunchy chicken-fried batter — there’s cheddar in there, too — served with a ramekin of Sriracha-inspired ranch dressing. This burger means you can be State Fair-level crazy all year.

Yeah, this is a real burger.
Yeah, this is a real burger.
E.J. Wils

The Garbage Burger at E.J. Wills Gastropub, $15
18208 Preston Road
Not to be defeated in a food challenge, E.J. Wills Gastropub has created a dish that sounds like the Texas version of the Edwardian king’s diet. What have we done to deserve a garbage burger? This one is a big grilled patty (a house-ground prime brisket, short rib and choice chuck blend) pornographically writhing with fried onions and jalapeños, jalapeño-candied bacon, mac and cheese and a house cheddar cheese sauce. There’s turkey and lettuce in there somewhere, too, Instagrammably framed with buttered brioche. This thing should come with a playable track from the Game of Thrones soundtrack. It’s served with loaded tater tots, because of course it is.

Pastrami on top of a burger? Ten Bells goes there.
Pastrami on top of a burger? Ten Bells goes there.
Nick Rallo

The SoCal Burger at Ten Bells Tavern, $14
232 W. 7th St.
Ten Bells isn’t shy about ratcheting up the crazy: Their SoCal burger is a delicious homage to the pastrami-topped concoctions of Southern California (see also: the pastrami- and cheese-wrapped, chili-topped Oki Dog). Ten Bells’ burger comes with onions, smoked cheddar and Swiss cheese, along with pastrami and a sliced, blush-red hot link. Good luck eating this thing without some sort of knife expertise; you’ll need to unlock your jaws and dive in like the vampires in I Am Legend. Yes, it’s delicious. Yes, it’s worth it.

Eat at your own risk. Or just split it with every table around you.
Eat at your own risk. Or just split it with every table around you.
Sara Kerens

The Triple-Meat Cheeseburger at Wingfield’s Breakfast and Burger, $15.30
2615 S. Beckley Ave.
We’re pretty sure that doctors advise against consuming Wingfield’s burger in one sitting, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna give it the old college try. It’ll induce some tears, both when it arrives and for some time after you consume it. Hulking patties, stacked high and leaning like that Pisa tower, sit with cheese and purple onion and a general death wish. Enjoy with friends.

It may not look like it, but the El Salazar packs more heat than most mere mortals can handle.
It may not look like it, but the El Salazar packs more heat than most mere mortals can handle.
Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House

The El Salazar at Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House, $11
1154 Peavy Road
The fires of Mordor are contained within this cheeseburger. It starts with a melted blanket of cheese flecked with habaneros. OK, that’s fine. We’re OK. But that’s when the insanity kicks in — under that cheese blanket is a hellfire lava blend of ghost peppers, Fresno chiles, habaneros, serrano peppers, Thai chili peppers, and — of course — regular old jalapeños. Before you try it, buy a cow from a good ranch and bring the animal to the table: You’ll want a fresh reserve of milk. Because we’re delightfully crazy here in Dallas, get some ghost chile ranch as a dipping sauce.

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