10 Best Burgers in Orange County
May 18, 2017 / By BRAD A. JOHNSON
I have a rule about burgers: Don’t eat bad ones. Actually, I have a few rules.
Rule 1 – If it doesn’t require extra napkins, the cook screwed up. The meat must be fresh, fatty and very lightly packed. Violate this, and it’s over.
Rule 2 – Don’t overcook it. When quality meat is properly handled, there should be no fear of cooking it medium-rare. Meat that’s not safe to serve medium-rare belongs in the trash. Eat something else.
Rule 3 – Burgers are often better with cheese, but not always. The quality of cheese counts just as much as the meat. If you wouldn’t serve this cheese on a platter at a cocktail party, then why would eat it on a burger? Oh, and please make sure it melts. Nobody wants cold cheese.
Rule 4 – The perfect bun is brioche, mostly. Bread should never be the dominant flavor or texture. That’s why soft, supple brioche is usually best. However, not all brioche is created equal. At several otherwise fine restaurants lately, I have sampled “brioche” buns that were as dense as bricks.
Rule 5 – As for everything else — lettuce, tomatoes, onion, maybe a pickle or jalapeño — simpler is almost always better. A burger with 23 ingredients is not a burger; it’s a crime. Thankfully, lots of restaurants get it right.
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern
Any one of the many burgers on the menu at Jimmy’s could have made this list, but the best is probably the Cowboy Burger, which comes with a big, fat, deep-fried onion ring in the middle, plus cheddar cheese, thick-cut bacon and housemade barbecue sauce. The patty is sublime Japanese Akaushi beef, which refused to be contained by its bun.