Texas Monthly is right: There has been a burger revolution since 2009. The humble American sandwich has grown superpowers. We’re living in the great burger age of 2016, where high-end cheeseburgers, some flecked with capers and blended with bone marrow, exist harmoniously with the roadhouse American cheeseburger.
There are many on Monthly's brand new best burgers in Texas list, from the Panhandle to that place known as “Houston,” that I can’t wait to road-trip to sample. Dallas and Fort Worth got a lot of love on this list. Winners included the pimento cheese burger at Knife, the Rose Burger at Mr. Mesero, the burger at Rapscallion, Off-Site Kitchen's Do It Murph-Style and the L.U.S.T. Burger at the Bearded Lady. It’s a comprehensive breakdown — but their picks for Dallas, while featuring some fantastic options, were missing some stars and icons.
Keller’s Drive-In, bun loaded with poppy seeds and a fantastic crunch from a disc of white onion, and the transportive Dairy-Ette burger both have a permanent place in our hearts for their history. Both are also under $5, making them an eye-opening deal, but there's obviously a lot of competition in the burger world these days. It can be hard to stand out — and even harder to stay consistent. That said, these are the burgers that I propose, respectfully, were overlooked from Texas Monthly's list:
The Uncle Herky Burger
Luscher’s Red Hots, $9.50
Tragically missing from Texas Monthly’s list is Brian Luscher’s samurai sword of a burger. Hugged by a cloud-soft seeded bun, this double cheeseburger is indulged with the meltiest of melted, doubled American cheese (you’ll be able to pull stretchy pieces from the wrapper), pickles, caramelized-to-buttery onions, homemade mayo and mustard. Adding peppered bacon will rocket you to the moon. This isn’t a burger joint, but Luscher wields this sandwich like a Hattori Hanzo sword. It was tough not seeing this one on Texas Monthly’s list.
This one tastes like the fond memory of a great diner. The Kansas City Kobe beef is always addictively salted (ask for it to be cooked pink), and the bed of sweet onion and shredded lettuce rings the familiar bell of a time before “foodies.” I will be writing a weird letter in magazine cut-out letters, or penned in ketchup, to the Texas Monthly team for missing out on this one.
Wagyu Brisket Burger
Stock and Barrel, $14
Launched during a wave of brisket-blended burgers, Stock and Barrel's is often overlooked in ranked lists. I hear Yo-Yo Ma when this burger arrives. Cheddar curtains the boldly meaty patty, and it’s supported by smoked bacon and tomato jam. Oak Cliff, we love your meats. I’d even vote C Senor’s taco burger, a chorizo-spiked patty caramelized by house-ketchup right next door to Stock and Barrel, for a place on Texas Monthly’s list. They’re two of Dallas’ most interesting burgers.
The Coma Burger
Braindead Brewing, $14
Butter comes two ways on Braindead’s cheeseburger: Clarified and in lettuce form. The bacon- and brisket-blend patty is washed with clarified butter. Stout-infused mustard and punchy-sweet onion and jam round out the richness, and crispy shallots scatter over top for crunch. I craved this burger long after I devoured it, and felt hot meat tears well up in my eyes because it wasn’t on Texas Monthly’s list.
The Tavern Burger
Front Room Tavern, $14
Smoked bacon and melted white cheddar make this house-ground patty a killer of a lunch burger. It's a designer burger, sure, but it's ground in-house. The bun's in-house, too. Treat yourself, and always, always get it with their stupendously crisp Kennebec Frites and garlic dipping sauce. Texas Monthly, this is one to keep your aorta-eye on.
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The Theodore Burger
The Theodore, $14
Forget that this burger is in the madness of the mall. Good bacon lends the sensory experience of a homemade fire at Tim Byres’ catchy little restaurant. Sticky American cheese is delicious. On first bite, you get an eye-opening smoky and earthy flavor, like the burger has been hanging out with truffles. This is the burger you want instead of being stuck at Build-a-Bear, and it deserves to be remembered.
Honorable overlooked mention: The always-enjoyable mess of a burger sandwich that resides at Neighborhood Services. It’s one of the most consistently enjoyable burgers in Dallas.