USA Today released a list of what it considers the 10 great places to sink your teeth into a burger.
The newspaper says writer George Motz has sampled hundreds of incredible variations, many chronicled in his book Hamburger America (Running Press, $20) and in his free app, Burger GPS.
He seeks places that have been in business at least 20 years and favors uncomplicated offerings made with fresh ground beef.
Here are some of his top 10 favorite places as listed in USA Today.
1. J.G. Melon in New York "A lot of burger places in New York City have trouble coming to terms with the white square bun, but J.G. Melon has embraced it," Motz says. "They offer cheddar cheese. That's about as highbrow as it gets."
2. The Apple Pan in Los Angeles "It seems like the 1950s came to a close and nobody told them. It's almost freaky how authentic this place is," Motz says. He makes it his first stop whenever he's in L.A. and recommends the hickory burger, served with mayonnaise, special sauce, pickles and lettuce.
3. El Mago de las Fritas in Miami "It's a genuine expression of the Cuban-American experience," Motz says.
4. Guy's Meat Market in Houston Unlike most burgers, these are smoked at low heat like barbecue, and not grilled. The meat is "moist and smoky. One of the most unique hamburger experiences I've had in my life," Motz says.
5. Motz's Burgers in Detroit Although he is no relation to the owners, Motz says he applauds the authenticity of this restaurant, where small balls of ground beef and chopped onion are grilled into American sliders. "They're doing it the exact same way burgers were made back in the 1920s," he says.
6. Keller's Drive-In in Dallas "It's great, fresh food, and it's extraordinarily satisfying," particularly when accompanied by an ice-cold beer, he says. Motz suggests ordering the No. 5 ? double meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and special sauce on a soft poppy-seed bun, delivered to your car.
7.Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage in Cambridge, Mass. The kitchen uses a special grinder that doesn't heat up the meat; cheese is melted separately before being added to the final product.. "The beef is his specialty. I don't know what he's doing, but it will take you somewhere," Motz says.
8.Top Notch Beefburgers in Chicago. Motz says this restaurant serves one of his all-time favorite burgers, but most Chicagoans have never ventured to the 60-year-old South Side institution. "They actually have hanging meat in a cooler in the back of the restaurant, and they grind their own, making it one of the freshest burgers I've ever had."
9. Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe Motz says he generally prefers his burgers unadorned, but he's a fan of New Mexico's green chile cheeseburger, made here with naturally raised, organic, hormone-free beef. And the cook at Bobcat, although a vegetarian, makes a perfect version.
10. Rotier's Restaurant in Nashville. It's a very straightforward burger cooked on a flat-top grill," he says. Another standout is the patty melt ? a grilled cheese sandwich with a burger inside.
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