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[SAT] Best Burgers?

I've had:

Bobby J's - Fair
Chester's - Good
Cheesy Janes - VERY Good

I like big/juicy and no more than medium.

Where are the best in town? Chris Madrids, Murf's, Sam's, Longhorn Cafe, Lord's Kitchen, Bigz, Flip, elsewhere?


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  1. Chris Madrids Macho Tostada Burger with both kinds of salsa. Hands down the winner.


    Haven't tried Big'z yet, have heard mixed reviews.

    1 Reply
    1. re: saeyedoc

      Agree completely with saeyedoc, Chris Madrids, hands down!

      I usually order the plain ole one without chesse, even tho I like cheese, this ones the best. But recently, I tried the Tostada Burger and it was excellent. Their patties are thin, which is another reason I love them.
      I didnt care for Longhorns much. I used to like Chesters. I am always comparing anything with Chris Madrids, so ususally dont order burgers ANYWHERE except CM. And the french fries, skin on, are great also.

    2. Surprised nobody has mentioned Brenda's Burgers 932-1177
      you can actually identify all the ingredients in her burgers ... compete well w/ Cheesy Jane's w/o the extra bucks for nostalgia.
      3837 SW Military @ Carmel (on the N side of the street, just E of the railroad bridge on the SW corner where SW Military turns E.)
      M-Tu-W 10-17, Th 10-20 / F-Sa 10-21 / Su 11-20
      Great & cheap - CASH ONLY - busy at mealtimes
      for example, last time I was there:
      Barry's Special: onions & Japs $2.95
      Dbl Meat: $3.15 w/ cheese & Japs 4.15
      Lg Burger $2.15


      Chris Madrid's is an institution ... greasier than Bobby J's ... so if you don't like grease running down your arm ... stick w/ Cheesy Jane's or Brenda's.

      Chester's is the best you can get w/ a good selection of beers.

      Although the burgers at The Flying Saucer (11255 Huebner @The Strand 647-7468 (PINT) www.beerknurd.com) are presentable & they have an even better selection of beers & wines.

      1. Just a straight up greasy Chris Madrid's burger!

        1. EdL hit the nail on the head - Brenda's is a very good burger that most San Antonian's will never taste (due to its location). Order a malt with your burger and fries, and tell 'em you'll get it to go. Stick with the Double Barry with cheese and ask them to grill the japs. You'll find plenty of blue suiters from Lackland and the old Security Hill aound 11:30, so arrive early or be disappointed. And don't forget to get that malt you paid for...

          1. Recently went to Big'z, the new burger joint on 1604 and Bitters. I thought the burgers were very tasty with lots of gooey melted cheese, good fries and onion rings as well. Worth a try.

            1. Try the Lord's Kitchen where the patties are over 1/2 inch thick and juicy. If you're really hungry, you can get the 2 lb. burger built from 4 patties.

              1. Chris Madrids' Tostada Burger is definitely a winner!

                1 Reply
                1. re: aquahot

                  Try a place called Fatty's on E. Commerce, just up the street from Sunset Station.
                  Family run place that makes a mean burger on toasted square bread.
                  One of the best burgers I've had in S.A.

                2. I always went to Longhorn, Chris', and Cheesy Jane's. Each of these is a variation on the burger theme and you just have to choose the approach you like best. All, in my opinion, are very good. Those would be my top three picks and I frequented all of them when I lived in S.A.

                  Sam's is OK, as is Chester's, and while I have been to the Lord's Kitchen a couple of times, it never really brought me back.

                  Don't know the others.


                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Super90

                    IMHO Madrids burgers need all that crap on them, and the size, in order to offset the meat's blandness and the overall greasiness of the thing. It is a thin patty which they refuse to cook any other way but "overdone". If this is SA's best, it just isn't good enough.

                    1. re: avi

                      Agreed. I like my burgers without a lot of crap on them, too. Every few years, I'll get conned into giving Chris Madrid's another try by someone who loves the experience of eating refried beans as part of a burger. I'm always disappointed.

                      I tried Big'z Burger Joint recently [located on 1604 West between Huebner and Bitters] and really liked it. This joint looks like a big red barn, but it's run by Andrew Weissman of Le Rêve. I think you'll enjoy the experience more, however, if you put that out of your mind. The patties are made with 100% Angus beef, but they taste like burger-joint eats, not "gourmet" burgers like the famous ones at db Bistro Moderne in NYC. The burgers at Big'z, like a lot of Texas burgers, are jumbo-sized—maybe 1/2" thick and six or seven inches across—and are prepared with a warm-pink center, unless you request otherwise. The burgers had good flavor, but the patty was more or less just meat, with maybe a little salt and pepper added. The beef is definitely leaner than that used at other burger joints in town. I like some greasy burgers; I like some that are more pristine. I liked the one at Big'z.

                      One burger was a lot of food, but you can double or triple the meat, if you're so inclined. One-inch-wide ribbons of romaine lettuce, thinly sliced tomato, bread-and-butter pickles, onion slices, mayo, and mustard are included in the price of a standard burger. Applewood-smoked bacon, beer-braised onions, your choice of several kinds of cheese (such as cheddar, pepper jack, and Swiss), avocado, pineapple, or a fried egg are available as toppings for an extra charge. There are also some specialty combos available. So, if you like Chris-Madrid-type offerings, you can find something similar in Big'z chalupa burger.

                      The skin-on, square-cut fries weren't bad. The interior was a bit too much like that of mealy steak-fries, even though the fries physically resembled crisp frites. They were also more or less unseasoned, which the standard-issue ketchup did nothing to disguise. The battered onion rings, on the other hand, stole the (side)show. The relatively-thin onion slices had a very light layer of well-seasoned batter on them and were fried perfectly. The onions themselves were also very tender and had good flavor; I imagine they're beer-braised, too. They reminded me of an addictive version of onion rings served at Mr and Mrs Bartley's in the Boston area (though not quite as thin or salty). The thick, rich chocolate shake was very good—It sure wasn't made with that horrible Blue Bell ice cream. I didn't want to put down my shake even for a minute. The strawberry version seemed to have fresh fruit in it. Their brownies were really superb, too. They're not very dense or fudge-like, but the airy though moist texture delivered satisfying chocolate richness. These are worth a try, too, if you've been craving a good brownie.

                      1. re: MPH

                        * Footnote: an original Texas burger is not an inch thick. That was a hybrid brought in from the Northeast. An example of an old-fashioned Texas burger will be found at Al's Hamburgers in Arlington. The rule is 1/3 bun to meat to vegetable ratio. But if you have to have the big one, Kinkaid's in Ft. Worth is still the undisputed state champion complete with the old grocery store atmosphere and dignitaries that almost rival Joe T. Garcia's down the street.

                        1. re: Jerry627

                          I don't believe I said that "an original Texas burger" was "an inch thick." I said the Big'z burger was maybe 1/2" thick [actually, it was probably more like 1/3"] and of a wide diameter. I'm a native Texan who's seen plenty of Texas burgers, too. But maybe you weren't really responding specifically to my post?

                          Did you have any thoughts on where to find the best burger in San Antonio?

                          1. re: MPH

                            Haven't been to San Antonio in while, but when I went to St. Mary's, there was a place called the Quarter House that served the "bean burger" that was pretty good.(burger with beans and crushed Fritos added) Sounds a like the macho burger that someone described. Not sure if they are still in business; does anyone know?

                            1. re: Jerry627

                              I love the Lord's Kitchen. Amazing homemade burgers. A must eat place.

                              1. re: wendileigh

                                Late to the dinner, err, lunch table on this one, but I'm moved to second wendileigh's reco for TLK. The 1/2 pound burger lunch special for $4.95 included fries and a tea. The burger was noteworthy for the toasted on both sides bun. The fries were a bit limp, but not overly greasy. If I was running the Frialator, I'd put those limp fries back in the oil for a couple minutes to crisp the outside...but that's just my Belgian best-frites-in-the-world experience talking.

                  2. Bobby Js 1/2lb Jalepeno Cheddar burger = best burger in the universe.

                    Chesters not bad.

                    Cheesy Janes blue cheese burger - distant 3rd but the onion straws are good

                    1. So am I assuming that a real Texas burger is the thin piece of meat like you get at The Longhorn Cafe or Chris Madrids? I thought everything was bigger in Texas but a thin burger is just not a very good burger. While I think the Longhorn may be one of the worst burgers and onion rings I've ever tried, Chris Madrid's isn't half bad. But Chris Madrid's is definitely more about the character of the place than the food, which I think is somewhat overhyped.

                      So far, the best local burger I've tried is by far and away BIGZ Burger Joint where each regular patty is a whopping 8 oz each (you can also get a double or a triple, which would put you up to a heart-exploding pound and a half of tasty beef). At BIGZ a little salt and pepper is all that's needed to season their burgers because they START with the best Angus beef available which by itself is pretty darn tasty. I don't know how Texas would ever lay claim to those thin, over seasoned, overcooked , dry pieces of beef being called a Texas burger... When it comes to great burgers, biggger, thicker and juicier (and not so freaking overcooked) really is better. Even Fuddruckers, a national CHAIN, has WAY better burgers than any local place mentioned, especially in San Antonio. Folks, it's all about the beef (lots of it...thick, juicy, cooked medium and no more) and the bun ( fresh, buttered and toasted... a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside) and so very, very few local dives serving what the locals are calling "great burgers" even comes close to being a decent burger.

                      And by the way, I challenge anyone to show me even a halfway decent hotdog in the State of Texas. So far they are like Bigfoot... very, very elusive and probably don't exsist.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: sajerseyguy

                        There are multiple styles of local burgers and multiple venues in which to find the kinds we each like. From an earlier thread (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/90893 ), here are some good enunciations of why relatively thin patties of a wide diameter are popular on burgers in the Lone Star State:

                        "Kincaid's falls in the "heaping fistfull of ground beef" genre. If you like an ultra-thick (nigh unto spherical) patty, then maybe you'll like Kincaid's. For me, a good burger is more about the Maillard effect on the meat's surface, rather than the taste of medium rare ground beef (which, frankly, doesn't do much for me)."


                        "In addition to the concentration of flavor resulting from the maillard reaction, there is the enhancement of 'bite' or mouth feel, both far outweighing the allure of raw ground meat juices running down the chin or collecting in a puddle in the wrapper or on the plate. Ah, but trends are trends, and there are those these days who must have as big a meat patty to stuff in their face as they can get their hands around and cooked medium rare even tho it's only ground chuck at best. Whatever floats their boat is fine for them AFAIC."


                        "I'm also a flame broiler fan, rather than fried. The whole point in burger is to make something that can be cooked through and still have good texture and moistness it seems. The only reason I can see for the medium rare burger trend is because people are insisting on leaner and leaner ground beef, another mistake. If you want something lean, have a tenderloin or skirt stake, grill it rare, and enjoy. Burgers were meant to be juicy and fatty like sausage and hot dogs. Lean is anathema."

                        Local chowhounds have different burger ideals, which probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone on this board. Relatively thin patties don't necessarily equal dry burgers; thick patties don't necessarily equal delicious ones; half-pound burgers come in all sizes, including "thin" and six inches wide; and not all fried burgers are worse than grilled ones. I'm not a Fuddrucker's fan at all, though I've posted favorably about Big'z [see upthread]. You might want to search this board for some new ideas (such as: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/382777 ). I was born and raised in Texas, and I still haven't exhausted all the possibilities.

                        I'm afraid that I can't help you with the hot dogs, since I almost never order them at restaurants. If you happen to find any good ones in your search, I hope you'll start a new thread to share the good news with the rest of us.

                        1. re: sajerseyguy

                          I totally agree with you, I don't get the hype about the thin burgers, it's Bigz for me all the way. Their chalupa burger blows away the Chris Madrid's Tostada, IMHO.

                          1. re: sajerseyguy

                            As to good hot dogs ... haven't had any that blow me away in decades.

                            There is a guy who sells Sabrett's in NW San Antonio ... on Mainland (maybe 1 mi W of Bandera on the N side of the street ... in a strip mall). I wasn't bowled over by the hot dog, but the sausage w/ onion relish was downright decent. I think it woulda been better w/ Ba-Tampte mustard than the Sabrett's mustard ... but maybe that's just me.

                            His place is very close to the NISD Food Service buildings (on the S side of Mainland)

                            But a warning ... unless you order a side of Zantac & PeptoBismol ... avoid Sonic's footlong Chili Dog ... I know the owner of one of those Sonics & even he admits it's toxic waste that even vultures would have a hard time keeping down.