Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Milwaukee Burger Company Grill and Bar - Eau Clair, Wisconsin

         So how long has it been? Well over a year and half I believe. It's not that I haven't had any burgers, I just haven't been inspired lately... or maybe I'm just lazy. Probably lazy.
So here I am now fully inspired, all gung ho and ready to tell you about not just one burger, but two!
.... and maybe an appetizer.
         That's right this is a 2 for 1 blog with an appetizer!
         So here's the story.
         The time in most parents lives had finally come for us and we needed to bring our oldest son to college. Not just any college, but a university. North Central University in Minneapolis. It's a small Bible school about 4 block away from the metro dome. So as any good parent would do when taking their kid away to school... we checked out Yelp for the best restaurants in the area.
         Minneapolis is an interesting town. They have 7 billion stoplights in a 3 block area, and all the streets are one way, going the same direction. However there's no one on those streets because they're all on the highway at 11 at night causing 6 hour traffic jams. I'll leave it up to you to determine if I'm exaggerating.
         On Friday we did some exploring and found a small, I mean absolutely tiny, hot dog joint that was featured on Diners Drive ins and Dives. This place fell very comfortably into the dive category.
It is called the Weinery (in case you want to look it up) and they serve... I think like 15 different kinds of hot dogs. Oh, by the way, this isn't the place I'm blogging about. but it was awesome and I just want to talk about it. They've got the Chicago just like we like it. They've got a Manhattan with chili, cheese and onions. They've got dogs with cole slaw, dogs with baked beans, dogs with bacon and on and on and on... Oversized plates of cheese fries and onion rings. Thick milkshakes and we only paid $20 for the three of us. And the staff was super friendly. They really made you feel like you were their best friend. Check it out if you ever go up.
       Moving on...
       We spent Saturday moving Ben in to his dorm. The 5th floor of a brick building with no air conditioning. Oh it was in the upper 90's all week. YAY! His room has a nice southern exposure so as to get plenty of sunlight to help bring the temperature of the wood furniture near is combustion point. It's OK though. We bought him a fan.
        It really is all good though. It's a beautiful campus and he is very excited about his future there.
        So now we're at Sunday... burger day.
        We started at the Mall of America. Pretty much to work up an appetite. And go to the Lego store, and the chocolate shops, and the Minnesot-eh! store. And the Packers/cheese store, just to tell them I'm a Bears fan. I did buy a nice hat though.
         So from there it was the hour and a half drive to Eau Claire. (this is where the burgers are) As I said before, being responsible adults we quickly tuned in to Yelp to find a place for dinner. It was gonna be Red Lobster. We were sure of it. I mean... Endless shrimp! Come on now! Then I saw it. 4 out of 5 stars. 21 reviews. That's a pretty good ratio. So that's where we ended up.
         The first thing we noticed was the parking lot was full. Good sign. The hostess was smiley and friendly and sat us right away. Big tables with comfy booth seats. They had TV's everywhere, most with the Vikings on.
The Juicy Milly
         Their signature burger is the Juicy Milly. This was what Melissa got. (but we actually split them) It's a take off on the Juicy Lucy from nearby Minneapolis. I never got the size of the burgers but they seemed to be about a half pound. This one they stuff with cheese. It had a Velveeta constancy. We cut it open and the cheese oozed out. Oh man! She ordered it with sauteed mushrooms. The burger's are cooked on a flat top. You can tell this by the crunchy layer of flavor all around the burger. The buns were super soft, but held up to the burger, topping and the juices.
The Juicy Milly - See all that cheese!
          I ordered the Brown Sugar and Smoked Cheddar Burger. This had brown sugar cured, thick cut bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, Pabst soaked grilled onions and a honey BBQ sauce. The quality of the ingredients really took me by surprise. The burgers are all homemade handpacked patties. the buns were that day fresh and everything else was just top notch. This may sound funny, but, it had flavor!
          I chose not to order fries, so I got the soup instead, bacon cheeseburger soup. This was cheeseburger in soup form. A drinkable cheeseburger! It was basically cheddar cheese soup with hamburger in it. It also had diced bacon, onions and maybe diced tomato, but it could have been diced red bell pepper. I couldn't tell, what I could tell is that it was awesome!
The Brown Sugar, Smoked Cheddar
          So oh yeah, the appetizer. We got the Eau Claire Style, Classic Cheese Curds. These are like 2 inch by 2 inch blocks of cheddar cheese that are battered and deep fried. The batter wasn't' spicy, but it was seasoned well with salt, pepper and I'm thinking cayenne, maybe, not sure. They weren't greasy at all and came 9 in an order. They were served with ranch and chipotle ranch sauces. My cholesterol's going up just thinking about it.
The Brown Sugar, Smoked Cheddar
         It's a bit of a hike for just a burger, it's about 5 to 6 hours from Chicago, but if you're ever going up that way, I-94 west, you've gotta stop here. 
         Anyway, that's along story just to tell you about a couple of burgers, but it's the story of how I ended up at Milwaukee Burger Company Grill and Bar.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Country House Burger - Country House - Clarendon Hills, Il

One of the oldest restaurants in DuPage County is Country House in Clarendon Hills. It has been through a few different owners and renovations but it has endured. This place is practically a landmark. Standing on the corner of Clarendon Hills road and 55th street it's watched countless cars travel under that blinking yellow light hanging over the intersection. They even have a ghost that likes to haunt the place. (if you believe in ghosts)
    As far as I can remember this place has been crowded. Partly because of it's tight quarters, but it does bring in the customers. As a child I remember sitting at the heavy wood table with the u-shaped wood arm chairs. Smoke filled the room from people smoking cigarettes in the bar (as it was allowed back then) and you could hardly hear yourself over the din. Chairs were back to back and it seemed like you couldn't pull your chair in far enough, but the room was always happy. People talked to each other about their days while putting back a beer and waiting for there food. Most everyone always had a smile on their face. The same is still true today. While the crowd in the bar may have changed over to a younger generation (it's become a hangout for the post college, working age group) the dining room looks to be full with folk who have enjoyed the place for years.
    So Melissa and I decided to go back. We hadn't been there in years, not that we didn't try, the place is always packed. We had been to the one in Lisle, but it's just not the same. This is the original and it's the place to be. The first thing you notice is the aroma floating around the building. OK, it's the second. The first is that the parking lot is full, but as for the fragrance, I swear they pump out the char-grill burger smell into the parking lot. My mouth was watering before I even closed the door to my truck. The next thing is that there is no waiting space inside. You just squeeze up to a wall and wait your turn, but no one seems to be complaining about it. We were seated after 15 minutes or so, and the waitress was prompt. One of the things I remember form my childhood was their French Onion Soup. I'm glad I remembered. It was loaded with sweet onions and big fat croutons and covered with melted with gruyere cheese. AWESOME!
     Now it was time for the burger. Traditionally I always got the Country House Burger, then for a while i would get the bison, but I was going back to tradition. The Country House Burger is a half pound of USDA choice ground chuck cooked the way you like. It's served with lettuce, tomato, and a pickle. You get your choice of steak fried, onion rings or potato salad. They'll even give you raw or grilled onions and cole slaw on request. I totally forgot about the coleslaw. I wish I remembered, I loved that stuff. Then you get a choice of bun. You get to choose from a sesame bun, light rye bread, or Bavarian dark rye bread. I have always gotten the dark rye, and looking around the place it seems to be the bun of choice. Now if I were the owner I would have the rye breads toasted, but sometimes tradition steps in and overrules logic. They just use bread right out of the bag. It gets a bit soggy and falls apart easily, but this is the way it has always been done. It's not really a sticking point with me. the burger is delicious anyway.
    This seems to be one of the difficult areas of reviewing burgers. I need to separate my specific taste from the taste that has worked for years, and not let something like regular rye bread stand in the way of what is otherwise an outstanding burger.
     This trip really brought back memories. Even though they're not using the metal plates any more, and the egg shaped candle holders have been replaced by electric candles, they still hold true to the tradition established decades before. And that is to put together a tasty burger in a friendly atmosphere and to keep watch over the intersection of Clarendon Hills Road and 55th street... with its yellow flashing light.
   You can check out the menu, and the ghost story at   www.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dixie Whopper - Dairy Bar - Whitley City, Ky

Twice a year we go down to Whitley City Kentucky  to work with the underprivileged people of McCreary County.  McCreary County Kentucky is one of the top five poorest counties in the US. Once it was a booming coal mining region, but the coal mines have closed and the state has bought much of the land leaving it poverty stricken. Work in the area is minimal and many of the jobs are more than 40 miles away. This means that most of the paycheck would go toward gas just to get to and from work. Summertime brings work crews from all over the country to help out families with much needed construction on their houses, or trailers, or cabins, or whatever type of habitation they can afford. Often times we're installing windows, or repairing a front porch. Sometimes it's putting up siding or drywall. There is much need there and every little bit helps.
We also go in December, bringing Christmas gifts to kids whose families can't afford to buy them themselves. Christmas gifts always include necessities such as clothing and shoes, but we don't forget that every kid loves to get a toy. Something they can play with. We then help host a Christmas party in one of the small communities (the Hills and Hollers are made up of small communities and not sprawling suburbs) where the gifts are distributed and everyone receives a hot meal and a chance to meet Santa Clause. We also take the opportunity to share the story about the birth of Jesus.
We look forward to all of these events, but the one thing we can't wait for it going to the Dairy Bar for dinner. The Dairy Bar is an old school '50's diner that still has curbside service. On a busy night cars will be stacked 4 deep in their parking lot with waitresses bringing out good old fashioned greasy diner food and super thick milkshakes. We pack ourselves in their small dining room (being that we usually have more than 10 people on this trip) and look over the menu that we already know so well.
"What can I get ya hon?" Everyone is "Hon" down there. Or sweetey, or dear, or honey... you get the idea. They really have a way of making you feel welcome. Some people go for the big dinners like the Manhattan, or fried shrimp. Some just get a milkshake. Did you know that they have 33 different flavors of milkshake? Everything from traditional chocolate to cotton candy. And if they don't have what you want, they'll try to make on for you. Legend has it that one of the summer team members ordered a dill pickle milkshake. They made it... and he drank it... one moment here while I block that out......... ok I'm good.
But I always look forward to their signature burger. The Dixie Whopper. Let's just look at the picture above for a moment.............................. MAN that looks good!
The Dixie Whopper uses 2 one third pounders (I think) that are cooked on a flattop grill giving them a great crust which is loaded with flavor from years of cooking on the grill. The patties are then put on a tripple split bun that is buttered and toasted on the same flattop. They then place shredded lettuce, raw onion, american cheese and a dill pickle (probably the same kind used in the milkshake). But what makes a Dixie Whopper a Dixie Whopper is the sauce. Tarter sauce. Yes that right, the same sauce you put on your fish sticks (unless you're 7 and you use ketchup). For the record it's a pretty mild tarter sauce, but it has much more flavor than plain mayo. The tarter sauce adds just a litte bit of zing to it that you don't get with mayo or ketchup. I guess it could be similar to thousand island dressing on a burger, but it has a much cleaner flavor.
What I really found though was that the bun really made the burger. I know I've said that before, but a soggy bun can really ruin the burger experience. You know how when you make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich the bread is golden brown and has the perfect crunch? That's what this bun was like. The combination of the bun, and the fresh toppings so very well complimented the creaminess of the tarter sauce.
So OK, I know. I'm blogging about a burger joint that is 9 hours away from home and most of you will never get to try it. But maybe it's a reason to go on one of the trips to help the poor of Kentucky.
Go for the burger, stay for the blessing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

#1 - DMK Burger Bar - Lombard, Il

 One of the things I am enjoying about my burger quest is that I'm able to enjoy it with friends. I mentioned recently that a few of us have formed a "burger club". This concept has worked out so well that now they go burgering without me. But that's OK. It's good to continue the burger education process no matter who you are with. The guys recently stumbled upon DMK Burger Bar. One guy has actually been a fan for a while, but they opened a new restaurant out here in the burbs not too long ago. Len has been there so many times that the wait staff now knows him by name and knows what the likes.
So finally getting a break from work we were able to set up a time to get me to burger up. Meeting up with Len and Chris and bringing our wives (most of us) we headed out for a fantastic lunch. DMK is all about craft burgers, homemade sides and micro-brew beers. As a matter of fact, the Buds and Millers of this world are completely excluded from the menu.
They have a complex listing of side items including french fries covered in bleu cheese and bacon and another with Wisconsin cheddar and scallions. Macaroni and cheese with gruyere, smoked bacon and charred balsamic red onions, and they even serve deviled eggs... but on to the burgers.
They have 9 red meat burgers on their menu. 8 are beef and one is bison. The bison (#5) has pickled red onion, fresh goat cheese and a blueberry BBQ sauce. A favorite of our friend the doctor. Melissa loves mushroom and swiss burgers. She opted for #6. It has marinated portobello mushrooms, blue brie cheese, griddled scallions and dijonnaise mustard. Personally I'm looking foreword to trying the #2. It has chili rubbed onion strings, Amish bleu cheese and homemade spicy chipotle ketchup. That's right homemade ketchup. Yup!
But for this meal I opted for the #1. You know where I'm going with this. It's a BBQ sauce, smoked bacon, aged cheddar and charred balsamic red onion burger. I love that bacon & BBQ sauce combo.
DMK uses a 5oz. grass fed beef patty and homemade fresh baked buns. The freshness of the burger and it's ingredients really stood out. I've got to say that everything about this burger was perfect. The bun was so stinkin' fresh with a good toasting. It was soft, but held up very well. The onions were devine. So much flavor from the balsamic marinade, and the bacon was smoky and salty. I read a few reviews where the customers complained about the size of the burger. I guess a third of a pound can seem a bit small, but it shouldn't be about the size of the burger. Go to Fudruckers if you want a big burger. This place is about the quality, and it doesn't disappoint. It was cooked to a medium well (i think) with those awesome crispy bits around the edges. The meat itself probably had more flavor than any other burger I've had.
But the kicker for this burger was the BBQ sauce. It was smoky, as BBQ sauce should be, and a little bit sweet with just a little bit of tanginess. But the part that stood out was that I could swear that I was eating BBQ ribs with that sauce. I don't know if they use pork fat in the sauce, or if they simmer ribs in it before they put it on the bun, but the sauce stands alone. If they made a milkshake with this sauce, I would drink it. (that's not a challenge)
So we missed the company of our friend Todd that day, but it was nice to be with the friends that could make it. I'm looking foreword to going here again but with the whole group this time
I'm gonna say that you've got to try this place. Great food, good drinks, and wonderful service in a comfortable setting. Go ahead and try whatever looks good, and then go again and try something else. That's what I'm gonna do.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Western Burger - Poag Mahone's - Chicago, Il

 I'll get right to the point on this one. This was one stinking good burger! WOW!
So here's the story. Melissa recently took a new job down in the city and I was checking out the location on google maps. One of the nice things about google maps is that they show restaurants and banks and atm's and all kinds of things on their map. I saw that Poag Mahone's was about a block away from her new place. So with my usual curiosity I went to their website  to check out the menu. I could tell right away that this was my kind of joint. I figured that this would be a good place for her and I to do lunch someday, but to my surprise she wanted to go downtown and find her new building. An opportunity for dinner and a date.
So we took off walking to the train station in the early evening and caught the 6:40 to Chicago. The primary reason for this trip was to time it so that she could set her alarm clock for the right time. We needed to know the rail time and walking time, I had a stopwatch going for the majority of the trip.
I couldn't tell you the last time I was in the city in the evening. It's like sunsets were made just to light up the buildings and the river.
So we took our hike down Jackson for a few blocks and before we knew it we were there. Now it was time for a burger, but I didn't see the place where I thought it was. Now that is the disadvantage to Google maps. It doesn't always show the exact location of a place. We stopped in the building where I thought it was and talked to the guys at the desk. I figured I would start with a little small talk and complimented them on the super cold AC in the lobby. Well it turned out that one of the guys was the head engineer for that building. He saw that as a compliment. Nice. So it turns out the restaurant was around the corner and he offered to walk us there. On the way he explained to us the meaning of the name "Poag Mahone's". He said it was Gaelic for "Kiss my ass"! I was pretty sure at this point that I would like it there.
The restaurant is right there on Wells and every time the "EL" goes by you can feel the old wooden booth seats rattle. Kinda fun. This place draws a typical Chicago businessman, after hours crowd. The guys at the table were loud and obnoxious and they even cheered when their food came out, but thats the kind of atmosphere that makes a place like this. We put in our order and waited anxiously for our burgers.
So now the Burger.
They use 100% US grass fed beef and hand pack a half pounder. All burgers come with coleslaw (which was cool and creamy) and a very crunchy pickle spear. Melissa got a burger with mushrooms, grilled onions and thousand island dressing, while I went for my favorite. The Western Burger. This burger has cheddar cheese, sweet and rich BBQ sauce, and crispy onion strings on top. (you've heard it from me before, but I love this combo) A piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato also come with every burger. I ordered the burger medium well and thats how they cooked it. It had a nice crust on it, and was still very juicy. TONS of flavor! The BBQ sauce was sweet and tangy and stuck to everything while the onion strings added a nice bit of saltiness.  The bun was firm and toasted. It never showed a sign of getting soggy.
The price here is just right ($$). the only thing I didn't like were the fries. They're promoted as being "crispy" but were just average. That though shouldn't be enough not to go. Just don't get them.
As I said when I started, This was one stinking good burger. I would go back in a heartbeat, and with Melissa working nearby, I just might.

Friday, June 3, 2011

BBQ Bacon Burger - Falco's - Burr Ridge, Il

OK, I know, It's been a while. But it's been a busy month. Work has been crazy and I've been busy moving... but that doesn't mean that I haven't had time for a burger or two. I just haven't had time to write about them.
So my birthday was back on May 7th and being the birthday boy, I get to choose where we go for dinner. So I chose Falco's Pizzeria in Burr Ridge. Falco's has a great pizza with an awesomely flaky crust. If you order a hot dog, you automatically get fries with it.  They have a garlic bread with spinach and mozzarella cheese on it. I'm drooling, Hang on...
Now that I have that cleaned up, I can continue.
We went with my parents, my brothers family and my aunt and uncle's family. Unfortunately my in-laws couldn't make it.
Falco's is a fun place to eat. They have a very open atmosphere with big screen plasmas on the walls, always showing a few different games at the same time. They have all kinds of sports memorabilia and vintage albums (with covers) all over the walls. The owners are friendly and have a great sense of humor. At one point the owner was bring out a burger and he asked who had ordered the anchovy burger. We all kinda got quiet and thought "do they really have an anchovy burger? Gross!" He was all straight faced, but then quickly cracked a smile and started laughing.
So since I'm all about the burger, I decided to try the BBQ Bacon Burger. Now as I've said before, the BBQ bacon style of burger is my favorite. If we were to go out together and get a burger, you could probably order for me knowing that that is my favorite. This was a good one.  They start with a 1/2 slab of ground beef and grill it. The grilling gives it a strong charred taste. Reminiscent of outdoor, backyard grilling. They use a sweet and sticky BBQ sauce and then add mustard. You'd think that BBQ sauce and Yellow mustard wouldn't work, but they do. The mustard adds some bite to the sweet BBQ sauce. They give it a slice of American cheese, and then add a perfectly cooked smoked bacon chopped into large pieces. Finally you get lettuce, tomato and red onion (another favorite) to put on top. This is all placed on a soft sesame seed bun.
I think I had to use about eight napkins for this burger, but it was worth it. I do highly recommend this burger, but don't feel restricted to the burger only. Go ahead and try the sandwiches or the pizza. Even the salads are good.
So then, being that it was my birthday, my wife went and got me a desert. I highly recommend, can not express how delicious it is, get out and go try the chocolate chip cannoli. YUM!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Mexico Bison Burger - Ted's Montana Grill - Bolingbrook, IL

So apparently I have developed a small following of burger fans through this burger blog. Fortunately they are close friends of mine and not just some random burger stalker. After my most recent post I started receiving requests to "Burger Up". So Phone calls were made, Facebook messages were sent, and texts were beamed through the air to determine a place and time. We finally decided on Ted's Montana Grill in Bolingbrook. Ted's has quite a variety of burger designs and offers them in either beef or bison. During this lunch we talked a bit about this blog and how I should procede with it. We're thinking about adding a rating scale. We're not quite sure yet as the criteria for each level of rating, or how to express the rating, but watch for it. It should be coming soon.
The nice thing about going with friends is that we can all try something different and then discuss our own preferences. One person ordered the Chili burger (knife and fork burger all the way). Another got the "Spikebox", looking for a little heat. One person got the "Kitchen Sink". That had a little of everything, but I ordered the New Mexico Burger. ( I'm really trying to broaden my pallet with the toppings) The New Mexico Burger is a hand packed, in this case bison patty served with monterey jack cheese, anaheim peppers and guacamole. This is then placed on a kaiser bun with lettuce, tomato, pickle and red onion. This seemed to be a good combination, however I couldn't really taste the anaheim pepper. The guacamole was very good, fresh and buttery, but very chunky. It seemed good for the burger, but I would want it smoother if I was eating it with chips. (but I'm not eating it with chips so what does it really matter) I don't think you can ever go wrong with jack cheese. It melts so smoothly and has a wonderful mild taste that I think complements any burger. The bison patty though really stood out in this burger. It is a bit richer and sweeter than beef, and is leaner. Because of that I order bison at medium. It was very juicy and tender, and not overly dense. (being that it is a handpacked burger) I could taste salt and pepper on it, and also Ted's secret seasoning. Shhhh. it's a secret. Don't tell. This patty was flat top cooked and therefore had a great crust seared onto it. What I really noticed was how fresh everything was. Ted's grinds there meat daily and cooks to order. By the look of the guac, I believe it was made when they put the order in, and the tomato tasted like it was fresh off the vine.
As a group we had mixed feelings about our orders. Some were a bit disappointed, I think some were confused (the Kitchen Sink) and I thought mine was good. We were all able to agree however that we left with our stomachs full. All in all though, it was a good time with great friends.... and a decent burger.

Monday, April 18, 2011


 So what do you want on your burger? That there is the million dollar question. Well not really a million bucks, but it is quite important to the burger experience. With out condiments and toppings it's just meat on bread. Not very original. But it's usually how you dress it that makes it unique. Yeah some restaurants have a high quality burger patty, or a fancy bun, but put some cheese and ketchup on it and you've got a whole new thing there.
It seems that tradition would have us putting ketchup, mustard, american cheese, dill pickle, tomato and onion on our burgers... but that's just the beginning. Some people like mayo, or miracle whip. Others would zing it up with A1 sauce. Makes it kinda "steaky". Melissa loves the mushroom and swiss burger (which sucks for me because I don't like swiss cheese so I can't finish her burger for her). I've become a big fan of the "western" style or BBQ burger. Cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and grilled onions. Mmmmmm. Add bacon and fried onion strings and I'm at a loss for words.
The hamburger is a canvas and we are the artists. The pallet of condiments and toppings are endless. Just about anything in your fridge can go on the burger (just about). I mean, the Big Mac has "special sauce". It's essentially thousand island dressing. How about a Hawaiian burger. Spam, pineapple and teriyaki sauce.
The hamburger is a work of art just waiting to be created by you and me. Have fun with it.  Enjoy your creation and don't be afraid to tell others about your masterpiece.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cheezy Beef Burger-Roundheads-Downers Grove, Il

 My primary reason for doing this blog is to share my thoughts on the hamburger. There are so many unique burgers out there I just felt that I needed to share them with everyone.
 This burger is no different. This is the Cheezy Beef Burger from Roundheads Pizza Pub in Downers Grove Illinois. Roundheads is a little sports bar at Woodward and 63rd st. They've got great service and a comfy atmosphere, plus they have like 20 TV's going with sports on. If you don't like watching the Sox, ask them to change the channel. They're always willing to accommodate. Whatever your sporting pleasure is, they'll put it on for you. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the owner is always there working alongside his staff.
But lets get to the burger. The Cheezy Beef Burger is a 1/2 pounder topped with Italian beef and smothered with a cheddar cheese sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. You can get sauteed sweet peppers or hot giardiniera on it as well. It's served on a soft bun. Almost too soft as it soaked up the juice from the Italian beef. The hamburger patty was cooked perfectly and was super juicy. The beef was fall apart tender and full of that wonderful Italian beef flavor. Unfortunately the overall flavor profile was somewhat flat. The taste of the burger and the beef kinda merged together and I found it difficult to taste the difference between them. (still tasted good though) The sweet peppers were a good change in texture, but they had a funny flavor to them. It was like I could taste the pan they sauteed them in. I'll try the giardiniera next time. I had saved some red sauce from the cheese sticks we had and added that to the second half of the burger. This was a hit! The red sauce is the key. It changed the flavor profile dramatically. I could now taste the beef separate from the burger and it softened the odd taste of the peppers. All of the flavors suddenly stood out on their own.
All together this was a pretty good burger, maybe not the best I've had, but I would get it again.
It comes with fries, a small side of cole slaw and baked beans.
I would say give this one a shot, but get a side of the red sauce on the side. I think you will be happy.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Uncle Joe Burger - Uncle Bub's - Westmont, Il

So here we go. I wanted to kick off Joey's Burger Blog with just the right one so I went with the Uncle Joe Burger from Uncle Bub's BBQ in Westmont. Uncle Bub's has been in Westmont now for 14 years and have really incorporated themselves into the neighborhood. They are fully active in the community and really have that family atmosphere that is often overlooked in restaurants. They specialize in slow smoked pulled pork and St. Louis style ribs. But their menu goes way beyond that. They also have some great sides like natural cut fries and deep fried macaroni and cheese balls. But let's talk about the burger.
When they opened they had a bacon cheeseburger (and still do) which was a great burger, but no Uncle Joe burger. My parents had made a trip to Kentucky and had a burger down there that had smoked pulled pork and BBQ sauce on it. Upon arriving back home they went to Uncle Bub's and ordered one as a a special request. It quickly became a hit. So much in fact that it became a regular on the menu and became their top selling burger. For giving them the idea Uncle Bub's decided to name it after my dad. That's why it's called the Uncle Joe Burger. 
This is a 1/2 pounder cooked the way you like (I like mine medium well) with your choice of cheese. They then add a heaping pile of pulled pork and pour on a little BBQ sauce. (You can add more of their homemade sauce at the table) You get lettuce, tomato, and homemade pickles and it's served on a soft burger bun. 
You can always get extra of their homemade pickles from a small pickle and pepper bar.
This is such an amazing combination. The smoky, slightly salty pulled pork together with the little bit of char on the grilled burger is mouthwatering. Add some cheddar and grilled onions and then some more BBQ sauce and you have the perfect hamburger. Even at medium well this burger was juicy enough to have it run down my arm. 
It's not healthy, that's for sure. You can get their garden burger if you want that. But holy cow this is one good burger.