We at The Daily Meal recently published our list of The 101 Best Burgers in America for 2015, and we spoke to meat-blending master Pat LaFrieda to find out what he believes are the characteristics of a great burger. LaFrieda has found that “An eight-ounce burger, inch-thick, is perfect for a barbecue — it can get a good sear without overcooking it.” What it’s actually made of, or not made of, matters, too; the butcher likes to keep it an all-beef affair and thinks that mixing in additions such as beans and red peppers makes it “taste like meatloaf. It no longer tastes like a burger.” Finally, not all meat blends are created equal, and he warned us that the meat-to-fat ratio should be 80/20 because “Anything else is a marketing ploy.”
We then set out to rank the country’s best burgers for the third year running. Building on last year’s list, we assembled a poll that included nearly 250 burgers from all across the country, from Hollywood, Florida, to Anchorage, Alaska. 70 burger experts then voted for their favorites, and we published the top 101. There are a lot of great burgers across the 50 states, but only one could be crowned the champion, and that honor went to the Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern in New York City.
Sure, the côte de boeuf, roasted bone marrow, and various ungodly delicious potato renditions are big reasons why Minetta Tavern was called the city’s best steakhouse and awarded three stars by The New York Times. But no less the stuff of legend is the Black Label Burger. Prime dry-aged beef, sourced and aged for six to seven weeks by Pat LaFrieda, is well seasoned and cooked on a plancha with clarified butter, developing a glorious exterior. The fussed-over burger is nestled onto a sesame-studded brioche bun designed specifically for it, topped with caramelized onions, and served with pommes frites. Juicy, savory, salty, soul-satisfying… these words lose meaning in the presence of a burger this good. Minetta is a bit of a scene, and it’s going to cost you $28, but you’ll have sampled the very to cost you $28, but you’ll have sampled the very best burger in America.