The Vitals:
the spot: Dai Due 2406 Manor Rd. Austin TX 78722
the eats: Dry Aged Double Wagyu Burger
the bucks: $20 (comes with sweet potato fries)
the full nelson: the best bacon cheeseburger you never saw coming

Back when I started Bang for your Burger Buck, I was protesting the rise of $10+ burgers that didn’t satisfy without a side of fries, or really, just weren’t all that. I made it a point to find burgers with all the right earmarks like a brioche bun, burger patty cooked to order, caramelized onions etc, for under $10. FWIW even then I said I was open to the idea of burgers that broke the $10 bar if they offered something those contenders under $10 could not.

It’s been a long time coming but as late, I have found a few burgers tipping near the $20 scale, with fries that are worth your time and money. And with that let me present to you The Dai Due burger:

If there are two factors that grab you some likes on Instagram it’s gonna be a solid selfie and an ooey gooey double cheeseburger. My heart is always going to be with a thick burger patty cooked medium rare with simple topping adornment but what’s the burger people picture in their mind when you drop “lets a grab a burger”? Exactly what you see up there.

From top to bottom, this Dai Due burger is exactly what makes for a successful burger: nostalgic comfort food dressed to the 9s with a 50/50 split on chef driven and ingredient driven practices. The bun is a house made Cemita bun as are the dill pickles. The cheddar comes from a farm half way in between San Antonio and Houston. And that sauce . . .  oh man. That sauce is an aioli that gets a heavy hit of mustard and garlic and is so darn smokey thanks to guajillo peppers that are dried in house and then ground into a powder before being used in the sauce. This is the kind of ingredient one can easily purchase already ground but nothing about making this burger is easy.

Oh, you are probably wondering about that beef. Those patties are made from Dry Aged Ribeye trimmings, sometimes aged up to 40 days. The cattle are of the Wagyu breed, raised by a rancher 30 miles outside of San Antonio called Peeler Farms. I have been reading Aaron Franklin’s book Steak and getting to learn more about these top shelf beef producers. It’s a lot easier to stomach the cost of food when you learn why food costs what it costs.

But before I hit you with that price talk . . .

This burger comes with fries! They stick to seasonality at Dai Due so expect your Dai Due Burger to come with whatever root vegetable Mother nature dubbed as en vogue. Lately it has been sweet potato fries. For the record I hate sweet potato fries and never order them. Usually because the sweetness gets too played up, I’m a savory guy to the core. These thankfully were not too sweet. And they got some sauce that cuts and lingering sweetness nicely.

Beet Ketchup. Personally I don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to ketchup . . . I see a bottle of Heinz and I’m good to go. The beauty of going to a high caliber restaurant though is eat things that push the boundaries. In some ways that justifies costs, in other ways it pushes the imagination which makes eating out certainly a more rewarding experience. Does beet ketchup beat Heinz? I can’t say but it’s nice touch when you drop $20 for this:

A burger this pretty that comes with fries for $20 shouldn’t be too much of a shocker but is still on the high side. The bolt from the blue that does change how I categorize this burger experience is that the Dai Due burger is in fact, a bacon cheeseburger in disguise. I mentioned that the patties are made from dry aged Wagyu beef Ribeye steak trimmings, which is certainly a mouthful and yes, pun intended. What I have yet to mention is that also ground into the patties is house smoked bacon. Bacon from pastured pork that is cured on premises. Much like the burger Salt and Time, this burger will blow you away with an intensity not seen in most burgers that don’t hit you with the complex bouquet of flavors that comes from Dry Aged Beef. And in the case of the Dai Due burger: smoked bacon.

There are more than a few burgers I have had lately that rely on the familiar flavor and texture combo salty buttery cheese plus a sweet and sour crunch from pickles to draw in the crowds with a tuned up $12 and up burger. Dai Due takes it over the top with the dry aged beef, the bacon in the patty and intense flavors of smoke and garlic in the sauce. And when the flavors are over the top, a $20 price tag becomes justified.

Especially with fries.

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