the spot: Salt and Time 1912 E. 7th St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: Butcher’s Burger
the bucks: $11(with cheese)
the full nelson: the best burger I have had in years . . .
I’ve been reading Aaron Franklin’s book about steak recently, and it got me fired up to splurge on a premium steak. Not just a Filet Mignon from Whole Foods(ps I think filet is overpriced and not close to the best) but a steak carefully sourced from a local farm. I’m fortunate to have two butcher shops here in Austin to fulfill that request. One is walking distance to me. The other serves The Salt and Time Butcher’s Burger, the best burger I have had in years.
I could stare at the meat case at Salt and Time all day. This is a gorgeous selection of premium meats that also carry with it the weight of premium price. The dry aged NY strip runs $47 a pound. That’s well above anything Whole Foods will sell you, by like $20 bucks. Before you dismiss that price as smoke and mirrors for needless bells and whistles, take into account that steak was butchered in house from an animal that lived on a farm you would actually want to visit. At the end of the day I could afford to eat a $50 steak once a month. But I will say this . . . if that steak tastes anything close to this burger . . . limiting yourself to eating one steak a month is worth it.
The Salt and Time Butcher’s Burger is a simple burger. A brioche bun, burger patty, pickles, cheese if you want it, and mayo. From a toppings standpoint it sounds like a nostalgia driven burger, a burger that would appeal to the little kid in you. Where things turn towards adulthood lies in that hefty 1/2 pound patty. Also adults tend to have a thing for steak and the Salt and Time Butcher’s Burger abides with a patty made entirely from steak trimmings. Yeah, imagine a burger made from the trimmings from this:
That then combines to make this:
Right now you should also be taking note of that brioche bun. For some, the brioche bun is played out. Indeed, in the last 15 years it is easily become the go to bun for chefs smitten by the call of making the lux burger experience. But you know what? It works.
I went with cheddar mostly for the Instagram worthy shots but it’s not critical to this burger experience. This burger is all about the patty: a complex beefy taste served up medium rare like a steakhouse, adorned with only the absolutely necessary accoutrements: fat and acidity. In this case that happens to be cheddar cheese, mayo and sour pickle. And just like a killer steak, there is one side dish born to pair with it.
I’m not so much a connoisseur of french fries as I am picky. Salt and Time fits my bill. Buttery like mashed potato interior served just crisp enough on the exterior. Some people might balk at the fancy house made ketchup. Whatever man, it works for me. Told you I’m no french fry connoisseur.
However I am a burger connoisseur and I can tell you with the utmost certainty that The Salt and Time Butcher’s Burger is the best burger I have had in years. Not since the Minneta Tavern Black Label Burger have I encountered a burger, specifically a patty with such complex flavors one usually finds in a Dry Aged steak. Oh and in case you forgot about that post, the Minetta Tavern burger runs you $35.
As I write this, the clock ticks down not just on the last day of 2019 but on an entire decade. Fitting that I list out the three best burgers I have had this decade. Cue the drum roll:
These are listed in chronological order, nothing more. And they are indeed some find specimens of burger, each worthy of Bang for your Burger Buck in their own right. If you’re reading this as I’m posting, I wish you a happy new year and raise a glass to a new decade of fine burger eating, well, fine eating all around! Cheers!