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Mighty Fine Burgers – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers, Chain, Texas By June 16, 2016 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger:The Classic” 1/2 lb Meyer Ranch Angus hormone/antibiotic free natural chuck, shredded Iceberg lettuce, off the vine tomatoes, sliced white onions, crinkle cut pickles, “white”(mayonnaise) and “red”(ketchup) on a standard issue hamburger bun
the bucks: $6.29

In the year 2016 . . .

For those of us old enough to marvel at hearing those words being said out loud, we know that our present is in many ways the very exciting future of our past imaginations. Just watch an episode of the original Star Trek, on your smartphone, and have a trippy existential kind of moment when Captain Kirk flips open his tricorder as you think to yourself “there’s an app for that ” .  .  . which brings me to the latest find for Bang for your Burger Buck: Mighty Fine Burgers, and a growing realization that burger chains are being reinvented in very very good ways in the 21st century. You best believe this is one burger that even Spock and Bones would agree is a solid deal. 


Noble Sandwich Company – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers, Gourmet By June 3, 2016 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: Swine Burger, all pork patty with provolone, bacon, romaine lettuce, tomato, red onion, bacon aioli on a fresh baked spent grain bun w/ fries
the bucks: $9.75

“Pork burgers just don’t work”

That was me 10 years ago. The burger revolution was popping and it was giving me an excuse to order low brow at high end restaurants. Things have changed in the 10 years since I made that bold claim, in the world of burgers and in my attitudes toward food. These days I allow for more second chances on disappointing first encounters. In the case of Noble Sandwich Company, it would be a pork burger that would be given a second chance. Was it fate, my “older and wiser outlook” on food, or just finding the right joint to pull off a pork burger that lead me to this porcine themed Bang for your Burger Buck adventure? Logic would suggest the last reason but for now, I’m gonna run with fate on this one .  .  .


The Shake Shack Edition

Burgers, Chain, Nationwide By May 6, 2016 2 Comments

Shake Shack, Shake Shack, why do I love thee so? Let me compare thee with thy competition:

  1. Are you are better than In-N-Out?
  2. Are you are better than Steak ‘n Shake?
  3. Are you are better than Five Guys Burger and Fries?
  4. Are you are better than Smashburger?

Ok, enough of this burger bashing tuned to a PBS series stuck in iambic pentameter. Choosing between national, better than your average, burger chains that operate under different price points and levels of service is silly, it’s unfair. Many of these burgers have their place, though if I had all of these burger options in front of me at once, I would choose Shake Shack. And it’s kind of un Bang like of me to pick Shake Shack because it is by far the most expensive option. It is also the choice that boasts the highest quality of ingredients, the best bacon cheeseburger, oh and they serve beer, good beer. But one must be cautious, vigilant even, as to the ways one can pay and pay for a Shake Shack experience. With burgers that can cost up to$10, plus beer, tempting shakes and crinkle cut fries all aiming to rack up your tab, you really need a plan of attack when you step up to this Shack. Good thing I went through 4 burgers to find the path to Bang for your Burger Buck. Let’s start with one of the best bacon cheeseburger concepts I have ever come across.


In the Kitchen: a Bang for your Burger Buck recipe

Burgers, In the Kitchen, Recipe By April 24, 2016 2 Comments

Welcome to a new frontier: a Bang for your Burger Buck recipe. I had been mulling over how to jump into the recipe game without going all Smitten Kitchen on you for more than a minute. I would say the timing was perfect when OK! Magazine reached out to me for a recipe. It just so happened that I was working on my soon to be posted Shake Shack edition and had come across their excellent bacon cheeseburger, the SmokeShack. If you know this blog you know that I usually lambast the addition of bacon as a misallocation of precious burger funds. Why not spend that money on more beef? Well in the case of Shake Shack, we find a truly delicious exception to the rule. The bacon is perfectly cooked and is of a complimentary quality to the special proprietary beef blend Shake Shack uses, in other words it ain’t Hormel. But what really gets my noggin spinning is the spicy pickled cherry pepper spread. It provides a remarkable counterbalance to the overall richness of the bacon, beef and cheese. Now I love spicy pickled things. It doesn’t take a Stephen Hawking to tell you that it’s part of my Indian DNA, hell it might read giardiniera as some sort of chutney. And pickled cherry peppers are no strangers to the chambers in my fridge. Weeks earlier I happened to be toying with an aioli spiked with spicy pickled cherry peppers and well, timing right? So now you know how we got here, let’s talk about what we are going to make.


Hut’s Hamburgers – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers, Texas By March 28, 2016 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: The Fats Domino 1/3lb custom burger blend from local butcher(Johnny Gs), standard issue bun, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, pickles, mayo, mustard, jalapeños, onions, grated cheddar cheese and a spicy New Orleans seasoning
the bucks: $7.75
the coordinates: Austin, TX

Imagine Austin, Texas in 1939. A time when skinny jeans were reserved for skinny cowboys. When food trucks were just for shipping food. When a hamburger joint was just a . . . well in the case of Hut’s Hamburgers, somethings do the stay the same, or in this case, have clearly not forgotten where they came from. You know this place is special the moment you walk in. The sign that bears the year of its founding is about as necessary as the last line on a McDonald’s sign that says Billions and Billions served. History is heaped onto the walls and boasts that type of hoarder chic that has become the trademark style of casual dining empires such as TGI Fridays and Applebee’s, but of course Hut’s feels infinitely more authentic with the predictable but thoroughly enjoyable Texas Roadside feel. Faded baseball pennants with that font that literally takes you back to your childhood bedroom help ease the notion that a midday beer is just what the doctor ordered. Or if you are committed to a course of Bang for your Burger Buck, rest assured that signs like this mean the place you are sitting in is serious about burgers.


The Smashburger Edition

Burgers, Chain, Nationwide By March 10, 2016 3 Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: smashed double cheeseburger on an egg bun, american cheese, custom sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, ketchup
the bucks: $7.99
the coordinates: tested in Austin, TX(locations nationwide)

For some, patience is a virtue. I think it’s kind of overrated. I didn’t always feel this way, certainly not in the days of my moderately spoiled youth where I would turn coming home with an “A” on a book report into a trip to KB Toy Store(that’s the 80s version of Toys R Us in case you’re a Millennial). Harnessing the power to persuade while gingerly finagling is all about patience and patience was so often the key in convincing my parents that a $60 Transformer was instrumental to my path of mastering the works of Ernest Hemingway. Today, in our food crazed world we certainly wait for food, in which case patience is paramount. The other day I waited 3.5 hours in a line for BBQ. This act not only demonstrated my own patience, but that of my wife’s for putting up with a man who single handedly altered her weekend with an act of lunch. Which brings me to Smashburger, a burger chain who I patiently waited to try, even though I longed for their style of smashed burgers when I lived in Los Angeles, a town surprisingly deficient in such style. The great burger of my youth was Steak ‘n Shake, and in the 20 years I lived in LA, I would dream – literally dream about finding a branch of the Midwest burger chain somewhere in the outer environs of Southern California. It took me just over a year to make my inaugural trip to Smashburger. And then it took another two years before I gave it the requisite second and third Bang for your Burger Buck trials. I suppose the reason for my lag in return visits was that I wasn’t initially blown away. And while $8 for a double cheeseburger, not cooked to temp, may not scream deal of the century, I have to say that my patience with Smashburger is indeed your reward because I ultimately did find a version that really exemplifies the smashed burger style. I suppose patience isn’t too overrated but I’m going to let this burger justify all that.