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Best Fast Food Burger


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#31 Alexa De Paris

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 04:28 PM

Not sure if they have any in Oklahoma, but as a midwestern chain, they might. The best fast food hamburger I have ever eaten is at Culver's. They originated in Wisconsin and are known for butterburgers, custard, and various dairy based items such as cheese curds. I limit myself to once a week there so I can still fit into my clothes. I have tried carl's and in n out, bit this is better imho.

Edited by Alexa De Paris, 17 March 2010 - 04:29 PM.


#32 Chris Hennes

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 04:39 PM

I've heard of them, I think we have them. But what is a "butterburger"? Sounds frightening...

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#33 snowangel

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 05:38 PM

I've heard of them, I think we have them. But what is a "butterburger"? Sounds frightening...


They butter the bun before toasting it. Not scary, and they do make a good burger.

Peter and I had lunch at Smashburger the other day, and it was quite good, as was the milkshake. We did not like their fried onion strings, and didn't try the fries. In fact, we liked these burgers a lot. No drive through. Order at the counter and they bring you your order.
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#34 onrushpam

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:25 PM

Chris, based on where you live I'll throw my vote to WhatABurger. That's where I go to satisfy my once-a-month-or-so burger craving. I order the #7 (Jr Burger meal) and have them add an extra patty, because I like a bigger meat-to-bread ratio. And, the smaller fries/drink suit me fine. If you have a bigger appetite, get a double regular size burger.
I think their fries are WAY better than any other fast food joint in our area (S. GA/N. FL).
Well, 5 Guys fries are better, but they don't have a drive thru.

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#35 Paul Funyun

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 08:24 AM

The most drool-inducing, crave-worthy, stomach-satisfying burger I've never been able to shake from my taste buds is, hands down, In-and-Out. No chain makes a burger as flavorful, as beautiful, and as well-balanced.

To refute the Five Guys phenomenon—I've found their burgers to be sloppy and greasy. The toppings often overwhelm the meat and the buns are soggy and lackluster. Is it just me, or is this place all marketing hype?

I may catch some flack for this, but I still think that the best widely-available fast food burger is McDonald's Big Mac. Yes, it's sloppy and greasy, too, but there's no other burger as iconic, and deservedly so. I still crave a Mac every couple of months.

#36 Chris Hennes

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 08:36 AM

There is a bit of discussion on Five Guys over here. I like 'em. You choose your own toppings, so it's hard to see how they would overwhelm the burger: I find the beef to be pretty flavorful (for a fast-food burger). But I think the Braum's burger I had the other day was clearly superior, and was ready faster to boot (yes, they have a drive-through).

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#37 AmyKay

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 11:29 AM

What about White Castle? I have never been there, but have heard good things. Of course, from what I have heard about White Castle, their burgers don't really sound like the burgers that are being discussed. They sort of sound to me like sliders. So, I don't know if White Castle would count.

Still, I am curious, is White Castle worth a stop if I ever am in the neighborhood of one?

#38 gfweb

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 05:43 PM

What about White Castle? I have never been there, but have heard good things. Of course, from what I have heard about White Castle, their burgers don't really sound like the burgers that are being discussed. They sort of sound to me like sliders. So, I don't know if White Castle would count.

Still, I am curious, is White Castle worth a stop if I ever am in the neighborhood of one?



To appreciate White Castle it must be after 1am and you must be plastered/high. Cheap steamed meat on a little bun.

#39 Holly Moore

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 06:18 PM

Twas a sad day when Philadelphia's White Castles went to that great grease trap in the sky. I miss my squared off double bacon cheeseburgers big time.

Greasy, oniony, perfectly steamed buns with a hint of grilled/steamed ground beef. The tidiest fast food bag ever - box, box and more boxes stacked in perfect harmony. Chased by a box of onion rings and a chocolate shake.

Pretty much defines a perfect lunch.

Edited by Holly Moore, 21 March 2010 - 06:20 PM.

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#40 Chris Hennes

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:41 AM

OK, I let this become a bit of an obsession recently, since I drive by a whole ton of fast-food burger places on a regular basis. So far around here I've had Whataburger (OK bacon cheeseburger), Braum's (excellent, stay away from the fries though), Burger King's new A1 steakburger (OK if you like a lot of A1), McDonalds' Angus burgers (not so great), and Carl's Jr. (bad). I keep wanting to like Carl's Jr. since they are the most convenient for me, but I just can't. I've tried them at a number of times a day, and I've tried several of their burger incarnations, and I have yet to find one that I would willingly eat again. I'd much rather have Braum's burger, which is actually really good, or a Big Mac even. C's J seems obsessed with putting so much other crap on their burger that you can't actually tell if there is any beef on there, and if you get them to leave it off it turns out you didn't actually WANT to taste the beef. I gave them their last shot at lunch today, with the same results.

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#41 Jaymes

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:15 AM


What about White Castle? I have never been there, but have heard good things. Of course, from what I have heard about White Castle, their burgers don't really sound like the burgers that are being discussed. They sort of sound to me like sliders. So, I don't know if White Castle would count.

Still, I am curious, is White Castle worth a stop if I ever am in the neighborhood of one?



To appreciate White Castle it must be after 1am and you must be plastered/high. Cheap steamed meat on a little bun.


Indeed they are like sliders.

And if you want to get at least an idea, you probably can buy them frozen at your grocery store.

They're not as good as buying a half-dozen or so fresh, but they're not bad. We always have a box or two in our freezer for impulsive snacking.

White Castle frozen burgers

#42 brucesw

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 05:44 AM

A bit of a confusing topic with the distinction between chain burger and fast food burger. I don't consider Five Guys or Smashburger, which we have here, fast (nor as good as local shops that turn out a burger about as quickly), but they are chains.

Among places with a drive-thru my choices would be, in order, Whataburger, JIB, BK, Wendy's, McD, Sonic. Time was you couldn't call Whataburger fast - they used to brag they didn't start cooking until you ordered and it could take 10-15 minutes depending on the line and the propensity of the teenage staff to spend a lot of time chatting about last night's date (or tonight's) rather than doing their jobs. Now you can get through the drive-thru at Whataburger here in 60 seconds; the quality has gone down as the speed has gone up but it's still my first choice as it tends to be reliably delivered good and hot.

I've only been to Culver's twice (it's a two hour round trip from where I live) but I was impressed with the freshness, quality and variety of ingredients as well as the taste. I don't recall if they had a drive-thru, I went inside both times. You order at a counter but your food is brought to your table and it's not particularly fast so maybe it doesn't qualify even if they have a drive-thru.

#43 jsmeeker

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 03:16 PM

I like the Mooyah mini-chain here in the Dallas area. Though I don't think any location has a drive through. It's counter service (place order at counter, they call your number). So, it's not quite like a McDonalads fast, but it's not sit down full service with a waiter place like Red Robin.

Oh, and In-n-Out is coming to town. (Garland, to be exact) They will build a central commissary in the Dallas area, so that means more should be on the way. Maybe one will make it north of the Red River so some of you Yankees can give it a try.

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#44 The Food Buster

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 08:55 AM

My vote definitely goes to one to Carl's, Jr., for just the typical McDonald's quality fast food burger. The burgers are, on average, juicier and just loaded with a ton more toppings--onion rings and bbq sauce, for example.

For a fresher taste, I'd recommend In-n-Out on the West Coast. I'm not a huge fan myself, but the burgers themselves are so fresh you can taste it. Plus, unlike most fast food places, even the buns are put on the grill for some nice toastiness.

And on the East Coast, you probably can't beat Five Guys. I'm a big fan of how they wrap everything in foil just to keep it nice and steamy. While the burger itself is quite simple, it's done simple and right.
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#45 Chris Hennes

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 01:51 PM

My vote definitely goes to one to Carl's, Jr., for just the typical McDonald's quality fast food burger. The burgers are, on average, juicier and just loaded with a ton more toppings--onion rings and bbq sauce, for example.

Sure, bad BBQ sauce and mediocre onion rings... I just don't get all the love they receive. The Western Burger I tried was among my least favorite burgers I've had since I started this "research." Give me a better-tasting patty over more toppings any day.

On another overrated (IMO) burger note: I had my first Sonic Supersonic Cheeseburger the other day. Not saying it was bad: just that it was completely unremarkable. And who the hell wants to eat in their car, anyway?! The fries were pretty awful, too, guess I should have gotten the Tots.

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#46 heidih

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:58 PM

I remember with clarity the day my son got his first Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr......he spat it out. Overwhelming cloying artificial smoky flavor in the sauce and chewy bacon according to him. The teens are more into Mexican food stands and trucks these days, but for burgers when they are starving and in unfamiliar territory they rely on McD or In N' Out. Fatburger does not have a drive thru and has a hard to access postage stamp parking lot, so that kicks it out of "fast food" for them.

#47 Toliver

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 09:14 AM

On another overrated (IMO) burger note: I had my first Sonic Supersonic Cheeseburger the other day. Not saying it was bad: just that it was completely unremarkable. And who the hell wants to eat in their car, anyway?! The fries were pretty awful, too, guess I should have gotten the Tots.

Sonic is a puzzle indeed. They are different in that they do offer the tots where most fast food burger joints don't. A&W and Arby's used to offer tot-ish type potato sides though I'm not certain they still do. Sonic's are not the greatest tots I've ever had but are decent and are a nice change when you get tired of fast food fries.
I think Sonic's success is nostalgia-based, a la the drive-in. I've been trying to figure out their "one thing" (like McD's has their Big Mac) that is their strength but I'm not sure what that would be.
Their Cherry Limeade is fantastic but their diet version is just terrible.
And don't order a hot dog from them. I believe, but haven't confirmed this, that they microwave their hot dogs, bun and all. The bun has a chewiness to it that microwaved bread gets.
They have some good grilled sandwiches but they tend to be a little greasy. They will also sometimes feature a "happy hour" where you can get two drinks for the price of one which is great in the summertime.

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#48 philadining

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 09:26 AM

On another overrated (IMO) burger note: I had my first Sonic Supersonic Cheeseburger the other day. Not saying it was bad: just that it was completely unremarkable. And who the hell wants to eat in their car, anyway?! The fries were pretty awful, too, guess I should have gotten the Tots.


I'm with you on the Sonic Burger, I recently had my first one and, yeah, i guess it was edible, but I'm not going back for it. I did get the tots, and I agree with Toliver: not the greatest tots, but it's still nice to have them.

I had a vague recollection of somebody raving about the "frito pie" so, I couldn't resist.

SonicChiliPieR.jpg

So wrong, and yet... ehh... just wrong.

I just wasn't all that impressed. I suppose if I'm going by one on a hot day I could imagine getting a limeade, but I'm certainly not going out of my way for the burger.

Edited by philadining, 18 June 2010 - 09:33 AM.


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#49 ChrisOC

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 11:43 AM

I used to love going into White Castle and ordering a half dozen cheeseburgers for lunch!
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#50 IndyRob

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 03:36 PM

I've only been to Culver's twice (it's a two hour round trip from where I live) but I was impressed with the freshness, quality and variety of ingredients as well as the taste. I don't recall if they had a drive-thru, I went inside both times. You order at a counter but your food is brought to your table and it's not particularly fast so maybe it doesn't qualify even if they have a drive-thru.


My son took my wife and I out today for Father's Day and I, inspired by this thread, chose Culver's (bonus - relatively cheap for him). As far as the burger goes, I'd rank it tops among those we have in the midwest. The patties are Wendy's-like, but IMHO a touch better, and all the other elements of the burger are better.

The sides were a little disappointing. Not bad, but not much better than acceptable either. I was excited by the cheese curds, but knew I would be ordering a burger with cheese so I chose the Onion Rings. Luckily, my wife ordered the cheese curds. My son went for the crinkle fries. One cheese curd was enough for me. Almost more batter than cheese it seemed. They went unfinished. My onion rings were unremarkable. They went unfinished. I think my son's fries were finished with the help of his runner's appetite - and ketchup.

My chocolate malt was not bad, but decidedly not very malty. Still, their menu is impressively vast for this sort of place. It would be hard for anyone not to find something to their liking.

And as to whether it qualifies as fast food, I'd say it ekes in under the wire. There is a drive-thru, but you order at the window and then park with a number on your car. We ate in, and as has already been noted, the food was delivered to the table. But it was only 5-7 minutes. I've had worse waits while standing in (or in a car outside of) a busy true fast food joint.

#51 John

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 04:12 PM

Within the last couple of years we've gotten Five Guys, Elevation Burger, Smashburger, and Sonic in North Jersey where I live. We also have White Manna, White Mana, White Rose, White Diamond, WhiteCastle, and others. I love Five Guys but my vote goes to SmashBurger. Just a delicious burger prepared perfectly. Medium well, but juicy and flavorful. I think it's the best burger I've ever had. I've never had In-N-Out. I'll have to get there before I die. Sonic is lousy and overrated.
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#52 Lupinus

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 04:03 PM

White Castle FTW! :wub:

In all seriousness though, Carl's/Hardes has a mighty good burger most of the time. And I don't know why, but I get the urge for a Whopper now and again.

#53 Chris Hennes

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:47 PM

Finally made it to a Smashburger today, and I liked it. That dark sear has great flavor. I don't know if it's my favorite burger yet, but it's a contender.

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#54 jsmeeker

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:56 PM

Finally made it to a Smashburger today, and I liked it. That dark sear has great flavor. I don't know if it's my favorite burger yet, but it's a contender.



Did you get fries?? if so, which style and what did you think?

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#55 Chris Hennes

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:07 PM

No, no fries. Still recovering from this weekend!

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#56 Kouign Aman

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 01:36 PM

Dairy Queen's got a decent burger. Has anyone mentioned Wendy's ?
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#57 Chris Hennes

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:58 AM

I had the double Steakburger at Freddy's on Tuesday. I went back today to double check, and make sure I wasn't just dreaming. Wow. This is the best fast-food hamburger I've ever had. It had a fantastic Smashburger-like sear, double patties, lots of American cheese, and comes standard with raw white onion, mustard, and two long, thick, crispy dill pickle slices. The patties are cooked medium-well to well but retain a great juiciness, the sear amps up the beefy flavor, and on both burgers I've had the condiments have been applied in a consistent, balanced manner. The big pickle slices in particular set this burger above its peers. And to top it off, the shoestring-style fries were great too. It looks like those of you in the Northeast don't get Freddy's, but they have locations in most of the Southern US. Try them, see what you think.

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#58 ScoopKW

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:27 AM

Thanks for that info, Chris. I checked the Freddy's website and they're opening a Las Vegas franchise "soon." I'll try one a few weeks after they open and report back.
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#59 jsmeeker

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 08:33 AM

I had not heard of this place, but they have a couple of locations in the Dallas area. Not sure how I missed out on this. Of course, the locations aren't in an area I normally travel to.

Steak burger makes me think of Steak n' Shake. I've found that the burgers there tend to bee too dry (meat too lean). But Chris H's description of his Freddy's burger makes it sound like something I should try out. Also intrigued by the custard component. Did you try that? I love a good frozen custard.

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#60 Chris Hennes

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 11:35 AM

Honestly, I'm surprised that Freddy's doesn't get more play in the "best burger" discussion: they are very similar to Smashburger, but edging SB out in toppings-quality (not by a lot, but the utter perfection of those thick, crisp dill pickle slices is enough to put them on top in my book). It's not a "juicy" burger by homemade burger standards by any means, but it's definitely not dry considering the doneness level. As long as you're only comparing it to fast-food style burgers I stand by my ranking here (with the caveat that I've never had an In'n'Out burger). Of course, I've only had three of them, and all from the same location, so I'll be interested to know what others think.

(No, I've never had the custard there: a burger and fries doesn't exactly leave me hungry :smile: )

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