Blog » Best Of: Burgers in the Triangle
Today we're introducing a new food blogger, Courtney Youngblood! Courtney is a native Charlottean with deep roots in Southern culture and traditions. After studying at UNC, she went on to receive a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, and now works as a line cook in Durham. As an eager diner and avid foodie she is always in hunt of the best foods this great state has to offer. Welcome, Courtney!
It's a summertime staple, a late-night delight, a timeless classic found at every cookout. The great American burger is a favorite among simpletons and foodies alike. It can be basic with a little Heinz 57, or as gourmet as possible — foie gras burger, anyone? While they are very common, there is a major difference between a great burger and an overcooked dry hockey puck of a meat patty. I have been on a quest to find the best burger the Triangle could offer, and found some delights along the way.
Requirements for a great burger:
1. Meat — I prefer 100% chuck so it has the perfect amount of fat for flavor and texture, but as long as it's juicy, not overcooked, and well-seasoned, I’m ok.
2. Bun — It must be soft for easy eating, but not so flimsy it can't stand up to the contents. It also can't be too bready because everyone knows nothing is worse than a burger with more bun than patty! Lastly, I want it plain so the flavors don’t overpower everything else. To me simple potato bun is ideal.
3. Cheese — What’s worse than a burger with a huge bun? A burger with cold cheese! If its not oozing and melty goodness, get it out of here.
4. Toppings — I like to mix them up but every topping has its time and place. They all have to balance each other out in texture and flavor or it could be a mess.
1. Chuck’s (237 S. Wilmington, Raleigh, NC)
My clear and obvious winner. Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner opened this gem recently, featuring house-ground, 100% chuck gourmet burgers. The menu is small but varied. My personal favorite was the Spirit Animal with cream cheese and poblanos. It was thick and juicy with oozing cheese, perfect heat from the peppers, and a flavorful crunch from that flat-top seer. I can honestly say I have NEVER had a better burger. I paired mine with a side of fries and a draft root beer for the ultimate burger experience.
2. Geer Street Garden (644 Foster Street, Durham)
While the focus is not only burgers, theirs cannot be overlooked. They are offering up local, pasture-raised burgers perfectly seasoned and cooked to your liking (since they grind in-house I like to order mine medium rare for that extra juiciness), but what makes it really stand out is the choice of toppings. I like to go crazy — why not?! — and get mine with bacon, pimento cheese, and srirachanaise (mayonnaise and sriracha, aka rooster sauce, a delicious thai chili sauce). The smokiness of the bacon, the heat from the srirachanaise, the creaminess from the pimento cheese — its the perfect combo!
Honorable mentions: Buns (107 N. Columbia Street, Chapel Hill); City Beverage (4810 Hope Valley Road, Durham); The Federal (914 W. Main Street, Durham).