Burgers come in all shapes and sizes. The main ingredient is usually ground beef, but burgers made of turkey, chicken, bison and vegetables also appear on menus at popular restaurants. Though determining the "best" burger is subjective and varies from person to person, there are some stand-outs in specific categories at several popular chain restaurants. Which burger you order should depend on dietary restrictions, condiment preferences and how big an appetite you have at the beginning of the meal.
Since 1954, when Ray Kroc purchased a road-side burger restaurant in California and turned it into the McDonald's franchise (mcdonalds.com), fast-food burgers have been part of food culture. The familiarity and consistency of the products on fast-food menus are one of the things that keep people ordering. Some fast-food favorites include the McDonald's Big Mac, the Burger King (bk.com) Whopper and In-n-Out Burger's (in-n-out.com) Double-Double. In-n-Out has locations in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, California and Utah.
McDonald's burgers are considered the best fast-food burgers by many and people are comforted knowing no matter where they order a Big Mac, it will feature the same unique sauce, same two all-beef patties and be a large sandwich that satisfies their appetite. Burger King was the first fast food chain to use a flame-broiled patty on its hamburgers and the Whopper has a smoked taste other fast-food burgers do not have. Customers also appreciate the simplicity of In-and-Out Burger's Double-Double. Many also view the burger as a very occasional treat, since the restaurant has locations in just a few states.
Red Robin's (redrobin.com) gourmet burger menu includes options topped with barbecue sauce, onion straws, pineapple, bacon and even egg. The beef patties are never frozen and are made with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Customers have the option of customizing their burgers with any toppings from the menu. It is this customization, along with the taste of the fresh beef, that make Red Robin one of the best. The restaurant serves a few other entrees, but focuses mainly on burgers, providing an edge on competition.
T.G.I. Friday's (tgifridays.com) offers six burger options including the Jack Daniel's Burger. This burger is served with Provolone cheese, bacon and T.G.I. Friday's famous Jack Daniel's sauce. The sauce is available for purchase at home, but T.G.I. Friday's is the only casual dining restaurant to serve it on a burger. Fans of the rich, tangy flavor choose this burger as the best in casual dining.
Hardee's (hardees.com) turkey burgers are made with ground turkey, a leaner option than ground beef. Their Mushroom and Swiss Turkey Burger contains 480 calories and 17 grams of fat. Their plain turkey burger is 460 calories, but can be ordered without mayo, cutting a few extra calories. Red Robin and T.G.I. Friday's also offer turkey burgers.
White Castle (whitecastle.com) serves miniature burgers, which are usually eaten two or three at a time. However, if you are trying to satisfy your burger craving, but you want to keep calories low, these tiny burgers are less than 200 calories and 10 grams of fat.
If you want to splurge and have little concern for calories or health, Hardee's offers a two-third pound Monster Thickburger. Its two charbroiled Black Angus beef patties, three slices of American cheese, mayonnaise, four strips of bacon and sesame seed bun add up to 1320 calories and 36 grams of fat.
Culver's (culvers.com), a restaurant chain with locations throughout the Midwest, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arizona, features a menu filled with Butterburgers. Butterburgers are fried in butter, topped with melted butter and put on a bun slathered with butter. Culver's Original Butterburger double with cheese is 601 calories and 35 grams of fat.