On a roll

3 classic Austin burgers land on sizzling new list of America's best

3 classic Austin burgers land on sizzling new list of America's best

Congress Burger at Second Bar + Kitchen
The Congress Burger at Second Bar + Kitchen was voted one of the best in America. Photo courtesy of Second Bar + Kitchen

Like pizza and tacos, burgers are good even when they're sort of bad. But as hard as it is to mess up a burger, it’s even more difficult to make it really great.

That’s where The Daily Meal comes in. In June, editors of the popular foodie website first compiled the country's 300 top burgers by combining data from online reviews and local roundups. Then, they asked a panel of food writers and culinary experts to vote on their favorites to create the 101 Best Burgers in America.

With all the buzz around the Capital City, it should be no surprise that three Austin restaurants made the cut. Surprisingly, only one of the city’s many outrageous upscale options made The Daily Meal’s list, while two more approachable burgers scored higher marks.

The Congress Burger from Second Bar + Kitchen came in at No. 92. The mainstay of local best-of lists tops a brisket and chuck patty with Gruyere cheese and shallot confit, along with the usual fixings. The Daily Meal editors, however, are upping the ante by requesting double meat and cheese or going over-the-top with an add-on of avocado, pork belly, over-easy egg, or seared foie gras. The latter kicks the price up to a hefty $28, but sometimes you just have to dance like nobody’s watching.

The editors hemmed and hawed over just which Hopdoddy Burger Bar burger to include on the list, but ultimately decided to include the Classic in the No. 49 slot. Starting with a bacon cheeseburger base, the homegrown chain kicks things up with its house “sassy sauce,” a combo of mayo, mustard, and horseradish, which the editors note brings out the beefy flavors of the patty.

One of Austin’s mainstay burgers also ranked as its best. Coming in at No. 48 on the list, the Hut’s Favorite from Hut’s Hamburgers was recognized for doing the traditional cheeseburger right with an oozy layer of American cheese. This being Austin, the Daily Meal notes that you can get a version with a veggie burger, but it’s hard to beat the version with Texas-raised, grass-fed beef.

Overall, Texas was well represented on the list. Houston had the most restaurants with Hubcap Grill, Christian’s Tailgate, Becks Prime, and Lankford Grocery all getting a nod. San Antonio and Fort Worth each had one burger included with Chris Madrid’s Alamo City original, the Tostada Burger, coming in at No. 61, and Cowtown’s Love Shack earning the No. 32 slot for the Dirty Love Burger.

Dallas scored some of the highest ratings on the list. Keller’s Drive-In was mentioned for its two-patty Number 5 Special, which ranked No. 66. Knife’s Ozersky Burger, coming soon to Austin with the opening of a future Knife Burger, scoring high at No. 37.

And at No. 17, the all-American cheeseburger at Dallas' Maple & Motor is the top Texas burger, according to The Daily Meal.