Hamburger Showdown: Which are the Best Chain Burgers?

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This post has been updated to include some new burgers! Every so often I crave a hamburger whether it be a fast food hamburger, or a restaurant hamburger and I have developed a list of my favorites over the years, as well as ones that are just "okay" but fill the need once and a while.  I decided to put out my opinions on some of the burger’s I have tried over the years and tell other’s my thoughts, I will be blatantly honest.  This is not a sponsored or paid review, but if you find my opinion favorable, you can sponsor me :). First I will talk about burgers priced between $1 and $3 dollars, the average fast food burger lets call it. We have the following burgers I have eaten and can recall and describe in this category.

  • McDonald’s Big Mac & Double Cheese Burger
  • Burger King – Whopper and Whopper JR.
  • Dairy Queen – Cheese Burger
  • Wendy’s – 1/2 Pounder
  • Jack in The Box – Jumbo Jack
  • Sonic’s – Sonic Burger

Out of the above list of burgers, my two favorites in this category are Burger King’s Whopper and Jack in the Box’s Jumbo Jack.  The flame broiled Whopper does have a signature barbequed taste that gives the meat a charcoal type of char flavor that my taste buds really find satisfying.  The Whopper JR tastes just as good and is by far the best $1 dollar burger out of any of the "Value Meal" burgers.  The Jumbo Jack is my 2nd favorite in the above category, though it doesn’t have the "Flame Broiled" flavor it does have a nice size slab of meat that is well flavored and Jack in the Box has very good buns and lettuce/tomato…etc which add to the flavor of the burger. Big Mac’s though small thin patties that barely taste like beef in my opinion are still quite good.  The dressing on a Big Mac is what makes me come back to them time and time again, the combination of triple bun, sauce and pickles really goes together as a nice package, but the meat itself in a big mac in my opinion isn’t that great. Wendy’s have always been just okay in my opinion, nothing special but nothing bad.  Double Cheese Burger’s from McDonald’s are better than Wendy’s for flavor and at $1 at most stores in Arizona are actually a deal, they have more meat than the Whopper JR, but don’t taste quite as good, but still better than some of the others. The worst meat burger I have ever tasted in the past few years goes to Dairy Queen, I have tried their 2 Cheeseburgers for $2 deal and the burgers were barely edible, the flavor was terrible, quality of meat just left an aftertaste in my mouth. I would rather peel the patty out of a big mac and eat it plain than eat a burger at Dairy Queen again.  Sonic’s Burgers are just alright, nothing special in my opinion.  I go to Sonic I don’t ever get a burger, I get a coney, or other item on their menu, I just don’t like their burger’s there. Now, lets talk about premium burger’s or "Restaurant" quality burgers.  I will compare some of the "Fast Food" premium burgers to real restaurants and see how they stack up.

  • Burger King – Loaded SteakHouse Burger
  • McDonald’s Angus Mushroom Swiss Burger
  • Carls JR – Six Dollar Burger
  • Jack in The Box – Sirloin Burger
  • Chili’s – Chipotle blue Cheese Bacon Burger
  • Red Robin – Avacado Bacon Burger
  • Ruby Tuesday’s – Triple Prime Burger
  • Culver’s Butter Burger
  • In and Out Burger

Out of the above list of premium burger’s my favorite hand’s down is the "Chili’s Chipotle Blue Cheese Bacon Burger" the meat size is just right, the blue cheese crumbles, slightly tangy and spicy chipotle sauce make this a winner for me.  Red Robin has my 2nd favorite restaurant burger’s and they are all very very good, every type of burger is very good there.  The Ruby Tuesday’s Triple Prime burger was a disappointment because I didn’t think it tasted as well as the regular burger’s at Ruby Tuesday’s. Now, for Fast Food Premium burger’s Carls JR’s Six Dollar Burger is the winner by far.  This burger is actually better than every other burger on the list except for the Chipotle Blue Cheese Bacon Burger at Chili’s in my opinion.  This burger is massive, and is almost the same size for like $2 cheaper, and they get you in and out of the restaurant much faster than Chili’s.  Ironically I only tried the Six Dollar Burger for the first time back in July of 2008, and I literally loved it when I had it.  The flavor, size and taste was exquisite and I crave them now usually once every two weeks or so.  Jack in the Box’s Sirloin burger is no sloucher, but it isn’t as good as Carl’s JR.  The most disappointing of the bunch was Burger King’s Loaded SteakHouse Burger, whereas their regular Whopper is delicious their premium burger tasted worse than a whopper and was actually one of the worst burgers I have eaten by far.  The meat quality and flavor was worse in my opinion than their Whopper JR, and the fact that the Loaded Steakhouse Burger came with Mash Potatoes, Onion Strings, Bacon, and what tasted like steak sauce only worsened the experience, the cold clammy mashed potatoes made me want to gag when I ate it. The McDonald’s Angus burgers which I tried very recently are terrible, a thick globby nasty paste of Mayonnaise on a very bland beef patty that takes the spot as the worst one on the list for me.  In and Out Burgers are very good as well, but I would give a slight edge to Culver’s Butter Burgers as being right up there as one of the best from a fast food type restaurant. So in review: Best Inexpensive Burger goes to Burger King – Whopper Best Restaurant Style Burger goes to Carl’s JR – Six Dollar Burger There you have it. If anyone has tried other burger’s that they think are really good, better or equal to some of the burger’s I have mentioned please let me know.  I have never tried In and Out burger’s and there is one opening in the next two months in my area, so maybe that will be good.  Let me know what your favorite burger is, whether you agree or disagree with my reviews, let me know what you like or dislike about your burgers. But, if you haven’t tried the Six Dollar Burger from Carl’s JR.  I highly recommend it, I literally was shocked at how enjoyable the flavor was for a fast food burger. -Dragon Blogger

  • Update:

The other day I had a new burger at Applebee’s called the Brewtus Steak Burger.  This was a nice size patty on grilled bun with 2 slices of Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato.  The burger was very juicy and the meat flavorful.  Though still doesn’t topple Chili’s Chipotle Blue Cheese Bacon Burger, it is very good and easily comes in 2nd or 3rd place. In addition, there is a local Hamburger company in downtown Phoenix on 38th street and Indian School Road.  This place is called "Chicago Hamburger Company" and it has some of the best burgers with cheddar cheese on the planet.  They also have the best sliders outside of the windy city.

Which is your favorite restaurant burger?

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Updated: October 12, 2011 — 8:00 am