The winner was beefy, salty, and satisfying.
Sometimes I crave a plain ol’ burger, and not the fancy, sit-down restaurant kind. I want it to be beefy, with a soft bun, and loaded with veggies, ketchup, and mustard. I typically skip the cheese because it interferes with the flavor, at least in my opinion.
In search of the best burger to cure my future cravings, I set out to local fast food chains to find one that met my requirements.
The Burgers I Chose
In my area, I don’t have access to a huge selection of burger chains. That’s why my sample size was narrowed down to six. I chose single-patty hamburgers and opted for lettuce, onions, tomato, and pickle as my toppings.
How I Judged
I paid attention to the bun and the general appearance of the burger, but taste was the biggest factor when it came to naming a winner. That’s why I tasted the burgers with the toppings and without. I wanted something beefy, salty, and satisfying but I also knew this wasn’t a Wagyu burger going into it, so I set my expectations appropriately. That being said, it’s a burger, so it should still taste like a burger.
Out of the six versions I tried, there was one clear front-runner. Here’s how each option fared.
The Best Fast Food Hamburger, Taste Test Results
6th Place: Burger King
I know BK is all about “having it your way,” but this burger is nothing like how I prefer my burger. Sure, the toppings were plentiful and relatively fresh-looking. Yes, the bun was nice and fluffy, but the burger, oh my the burger. I realize some people love the smoky, grilled flavor of Burger King, but the flavor was so strong that I couldn’t even taste the meat. Instead, it tasted like what I imagine the scrapings left behind on my grill after grilling burgers taste like. No thanks.
5th Place: Wendy’s
This single patty from Wendy’s looked like its usual square self. It was thin, unimpressive, and the accompanying accoutrements (lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion) were a bit on the sad side. The bun was nice looking but the burger was completely flavorless. So much so that I couldn’t distinguish it from the bun. I actually removed it from the bun so that I could taste it. Overall, I found this burger bland and boring. Perhaps some mustard, ketchup, and another patty would help.
4th Place: McDonald’s
Has this burger hasn’t changed since I was a kid? It didn’t seem like it. Ironically, I felt like this burger actually tasted like beef, which was awesome. The bun does nothing really to help, but the warm pickles are always a delight. While on the small side, I did appreciate the $2.00 price tag. It’s good, but not great.
3rd Place: Culver’s
If you’re a Butter Burger fan, then I’m guessing this choice lands in your top spot. I agree that the burger and bun are pretty good, but I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be. The burger is flavorful, but just doesn’t deliver the “beefiness” I crave. It’s a big burger though, and a pretty good deal at $5.00.
2nd Place: Five Guys
As the most expensive (over $9.00) on the list, I had high hopes for this Five Guys hamburger. Right away I noticed its size. It’s big, even for a single patty. The bun, although quite smashed, was soft, and not at all flimsy. The patty was decently sized and the toppings were plentiful, which I loved. Overall it was good, I tasted beefy flavor, but it wasn’t as robust as I would’ve liked. I’d order it again, but ask for my bun on the side.
1st Place: Shake Shack
It’s my favorite. It’s my absolute favorite. I love the smashed patty with crispy edges. I love the big beef flavor and I love the soft bun and all of the toppings. This is the burger. It just is and I’ll happily pay $7.00 for it every time. (Same goes for the cheeseburger.)
Read the original article on All Recipes.