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Burger Inflation


Waitman
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Not to pick on Dean, because other burgers are equally oversized, but it's time to admit that any burger over eight ounces -- or maybe even six, especially if toppings are involved -- is grotesquely oversizedon an esthetic level, a pain in the ass to eat, difficult for even talented grillhumans to cook to temperatue consistently, and the glutton-masqueradin-as-a-gourmet's equivalent of a Big Gulp or whatever atrocity Wendy's is running as a special these days.

Thank you for your time.

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It does seem like the only thing growing faster than the size of burgers (well aside from part of Dan’s groin area during his washing ritual) would be the trend towards slap dashed burger assembly. I blame Subway for corning the market on Sandwich artists.

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I took the lyrics from Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back and replaced "butt" with "burger"

I like big burgers and I can not lie

You other brothers can't deny

That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist

And a round thing in your face

You get sprung, wanna pull out your tough

'Cause you notice that burger was stuffed

Deep in the jeans she's wearing

I'm hooked and I can't stop staring

Oh baby, I wanna get with you

And take your picture

My homeboys tried to warn me

But that burger you got makes me so horny

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Where does that leave the "original" hellburger (10 oz)?

This is actually the first thing I thought of as well. I don't necessarily disagree with Charles, but when I'm making a burger at home (which is about once a year), it's usually a pretty big patty (sometimes on an English Muffin, btw, which absorbs the juices on the inside, but is structurally sound on the outside, and small enough not to steal the show); also, I always use really good potato chips and never french fries (with a big burger, the chips add texture and aren't as overwhelming as fries). Then again, I usually cook for two, and that's an awkward number when buying packages of ground beef (one pound doesn't cut it for me and Matt)!

City Paper mentioned in a recent Best Of column, 'who needs a shake after a burger and fries,' and I agree with them, but the 1950s malt shoppes (think Arthur's in "Happy Days") probably had burgers, shakes, and fries that were more along the lines of what Charles is thinking in terms of size. As a polar opposite, Palena's burger really isn't all that big, but is in wonderful balance. A deceivingly complex subject, to be sure.

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This is actually the first thing I thought of as well. I don't necessarily disagree with Charles, but when I'm making a burger at home (which is about once a year), it's usually a pretty big patty (sometimes on an English Muffin, btw, which absorbs the juices on the inside, but is structurally sound on the outside, and small enough not to steal the show); also, I always use really good potato chips and never french fries (with a big burger, the chips add texture and aren't as overwhelming as fries). Then again, I usually cook for two, and that's an awkward number when buying packages of ground beef (one pound doesn't cut it for me and Matt)!

City Paper mentioned in a recent Best Of column, 'who needs a shake after a burger and fries,' and I agree with them, but the 1950s malt shoppes (think Arthur's in "Happy Days") probably had burgers, shakes, and fries that were more along the lines of what Charles is thinking in terms of size. As a polar opposite, Palena's burger really isn't all that big, but is in wonderful balance. A deceivingly complex subject, to be sure.

Those are my two top burgers: hell and palena. Totally polar opposites so I don't think they should really be compared directly. One is delicious/in your face/big/messy and the other delicious/gourmet/refined. Then, of course, to complicate things even more is Ray's HB Too's "Lil Devil" at 6oz. Haven't ever tried that one (seems wrong to do there in the same way it'd be a bit jarring if a 12oz drippy giant came out of Palena's kitchen).

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A deceivingly complex subject, to be sure.

Indeed, indeed.

For the most part I concur with Charles, while not necessarily agreeing with him. Burgers are like sex and fishing lures (flies)--there is really no way to say exactly what is "right" or "best", just what gets the job done.

I will say, though, that among many other considerations--chief among them that the Hell-Burger was an attempt to create a burger that cooked up and ate like a steak, and was intended to fill a negligible niche as a fun, small, side project and offshoot of what Ray's was already doing--the real reason behind the decision to offer a ten ounce burger was to privately honor the memory of Joel Siegel, who ate his last meal at Ray's: The Steaks and with whom I had a heated, furious, bitter, on-going (and entirely imaginary) Nabokov/Wilson-like feud based on his outrageous claim that I measured my original eight ounce burger from the taint, as it were, and to whose burgers I always added a couple of extra ounces just to shut him up while mocking him at the same time.

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The Hell burger is a thing of sloppy beauty, but I can't finish it. When you can't finish a gorgeous burger that weeps steak-y jus from the first touch, it's not the burger, it's you. Luckily, I have a formerly vegetarian husband who is fine with, nay, happy to finish mine after he polishes off his own.

Still, getting back to the subject, burger inflation is nothing new. Big Jud's in Idaho was been serving up supersized burgers for years and years. When I was there, back in the '98, they were serving up burgers that were up to 2 lbs of cooked meat. The regular "Big Jud" is a 1-lb burger after it's cooked, served on a dish-sized, custom-baked bun. The double has served as a picture-on-the wall challenge for many a red-blooded young (and not-so-young) male. I got the quarter pounder and no, I couldn't finish that either. Though that had more to do with the large number of fries (think Eamonn's, it was Idaho, after all) I ate than the size of the burger.

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I get asked all the time if I go to Hellburger a lot.

I've enjoyed the heck out of every hellburger I've had, but I don't go often, because I prefer my burgers thin.

But that's just me. I never insist someone share my tastes unless it's for delicious Jeppson's Malort.

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I get asked all the time if I go to Hellburger a lot.

I've enjoyed the heck out of every hellburger I've had, but I don't go often, because I prefer my burgers thin.

But that's just me. I never insist someone share my tastes unless it's for delicious Jeppson's Malort.

Thin burgers are the best. Of course, you need to pile up two or three on a bun.

I'm not joking. I think it's a big part of the In-n-Out secret. Scientifically, doesn't it give you more of the caramelized (OK, the Maillard reaction) surface area per unit of meat, and that's where much of the flavor is?

Just say'in.

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