Double double cheese cheese burger burger please! Chefs are stacking up bi-level burgers worthy of blue ribbons and the extra stomach space. Here are our top five suggestions on where to grab these sizable patties.
“Balance is so important when it comes to creating a great burger,” says chef Alex McCoy. “Great bread, great meat, great cheese.” He starts with a baked-that-morning, soft-yet-sturdy sesame seed brioche bun from Lyon Bakery. The patties are made with beef from Creekstone Farms in Arkansas City, Kansas, seasoned only with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and cooked on the flat top at high heat in a mixture of bacon fat and beef tallow. “That’s where you get the really rich flavor and the great crust,” says McCoy. He coronates them with imported Gouda cheese, sticky sweet bacon XO jam and mayo-based Lucky Sauce amped with Indonesian sambal sauce for a little kick.
You’d be forgiven if you simply glanced at this towering twofer burger and assumed it was an all-American effort. The usual suspects are on hand: squares of American cheese, pickles, caramelized onions and romaine lettuce. However, executive chef Kwame Onwuachi hides a couple of nods to his Afro-Caribbean roots. There are rashers of Scotch bonnet pepper-pepped jerk bacon, which is smoked over pimento wood specially flown in from Jamaica. Meanwhile, the mound of waffle fries are tossed in a tongue tingling Ethiopian berbere spice mix.
“We’re doing a New England seafood restaurant, so it’s kind of funny that we’re getting so much praise for a burger,” admits executive chef Kyle Bailey. His goal was to create a straightforward burger free of fussiness or pretension. Two patties are forged with chuck from Fells Point Wholesale Meat in Baltimore and quickly griddled. They’re topped off with American cheese, iceberg lettuce, mayo and bread and butter pickles. A well-buttered, golden-grilled sesame seed bun holds it all together.
Every Sunday morning, executive chef Danny Wells stops by the Smith Meadows Farm stand at the Takoma Park Farmers Market just down the block from the restaurant. He purchases up to 160 pounds of grass fed beef, which he uses to make the 3.5-ounce patties in his twin patty burger that’s cooked over a wood grill. “The smoke flavor gives it a rustic, backyard barbecue flavor,” he says. Mustard ale cheese, garlic aioli, romaine lettuce, thinly sliced Spanish onions and a puffy pretzel bun complete it. Bacon and a sunny side up egg are optional, but recommended.
“The reason I do double patties is that it creates four sides of texture,” explains executive chef Travis Weiss. “You’re getting a crunchy exterior on both side of each one and a juicy, meaty interior.” The texture-obsessed chef takes a similar approach to his potato sesame seed bun, which he lathers up with unsalted butter and griddles on all sides to create a golden crust. The burgers gets gussied up with Thousand Island dressing, white American cheese, sliced red onion, bread and butter pickles and shredded iceberg. It’s basically a gourmet Big Mac, minus the middle bun.