It’s a well-known fact that it’s hard to beat our meat here at Porter Road Butcher, but we have to admit, you can find some pretty damn respectable—nay delicious—meat around town that’s well worth your precious dollars. Whether it’s a classic American cheeseburger, or a patty that boasts something crazy or irregular, PRB West’s Wesley Adams has an opinion on almost all of them.
First on Wesley’s list of priorities when he moved to Nashville in July of 2014 was finding a go-to burger joint—he focused on that endeavor before even finding a permanent place of residence. So as he stands here today, on the first anniversary of his move to Music City, he has sampled his fair share of what Nashville has to offer when it comes to this classic American favorite. And after twelve good months, he is ready to share his reviews.
In his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana Wesley’s allegiances are torn between Bistro To Go’s special smoked gouda pimiento cheeseburger—an explosion of southern flavor on a fat patty—and Strawn’s Eat Shop double bacon cheeseburger—a feast of two thin patties, plenty of mustard, crispy bacon, and an egg with a runny yolk, sandwiches between two halves of a toasted and fluffy bun.
So although Wesley has yet to find what he would snobbishly qualify as, “the perfect burger,” he has come across quite a few good ones that he claims, “are top contendors.”
Much to fellow PRB West manager, Alex Welsch’s delight, Wes claimed the burger that Alex prepared him for lunch one day, “the best burger he’s had in Nashville.”
Alex now holds himself in very high esteem.
Wesley’s Nashville Burger Beat (in no particular order)
- Bacon Cheeseburger / MLRose / $10.95 – choice of cheese, natural uncured bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion & pickle | Everyone at Porter Road Butcher is well acquainted with Wesley’s obsession for cheeseburgers, and everyone subsequently knows to expect an invitation to ML Rose on Monday nights for their two-for-one burger special—a deal that is only made possible with the accompaniment of two craft beers. 😀 “I usually get the bacon cheeseburger and a couple of Yazoo Dos Perros. That burger is probably the closest one I can find in Nashville to my hometown favorite, Strawn’s.”
- The Local Burger / Fido / $13 – ground beef and lamb, Tennessee white cheddar, caramelized fennel + fig aioli, caramelized onion, pickle, lettuce, on a bun | “Half of me is tempted to eliminate this burger just based on the fact that it has lamb and beef in the patty, but it was one of the first burgers I tried when I moved to town and it’s still one of my favorites,” said Wesley. “It’s kind of on the fancy side of the spectrum, but the mixture of lamb with that fig aioli? Woo! It is damn good.”
- West Coast Burger / Burger Republic / $10.50 – twin thin pressed patties, mustard steamed with American cheese, BR sauce, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion | “In my book, there are two kinds of burgers: the grilled backyard BBQ style burger, and flat top diner style burger,” said Wesley. More often than not, he pledges allegiance to the latter variety. “When it’s grilled, the patties are usually thicker so I like a nice medium in the center. If I’m not grilling it myself, that doesn’t always happen. Even though flat top burgers generally come out more well done, they’re still really juicy—I actually like that kind of burger better.” Burger Republic uses two thin flat-top patties and accoutrements reminiscent of a Big Mac, but considering the black angus patty, the brioche bun, and the sizable sandwich that those two, plus all the remaining ingredients amass, Mickey D’s doesn’t hold a candle.
- Burger + Fries / Dino’s / $6 – the greasy, delicious classic | “This is my kind of place,” Wesley said when he first walked into Dino’s on a rainy night in March, “I could see myself becoming a regular here.” After a recent revamp of this East Nashville favorite spot, the bar still has that drab-ulous and somewhat smoky vibe that feels so good in the local watering hold, but with the added bonus of actually delicious diner-style food. Cheeseburger included. Although he doesn’t usually include French fries in the judging equation, Wesley made special note of the exceptionally crispy and perfectly salted fries that accompanied Dino’s “greasy, delicious classic” cheeseburger. They hit the nail on the head: ain’t no better way to put it.
- Brisket Burger / Martin’s Bar-B-Que / $8 – our custom blend of ground beef comes with grilled onions, American cheese, bbq sauce, and topped with our smoked beef brisket | Another burger that doesn’t quite follow the “less-is-more” idiom, the brisket burger from Martin’s BBQ falls along the lines of, “meat-is-more.” And in this case, meat really is…more. Which might be why Wesley likes it so much…he is a butcher, after all. But wait! You say. A burger topped with…more meat?? How could he? Isn’t that too much meat? Won’t that give him the meat sweats? No, incredulous burger-hater. It doesn’t. This burger is NOT blowing smoke. When cashing out at just $8 for such a mountain of meat, neither your belly nor your wallet will mind.
- Fat Mo’s Burger / Fat Mo’s / $3.49 – all hamburgers served with onion, lettuce, mustard, ketchup, mayo, pickles, and tomatoes | After a night out on the town, this burger does the trick when you wake up the next morning feeling sluggish. It’s hearty, greasy, and just the ticket for soaking up last night’s sins. The spicy-seasoned fries certainly don’t hurt, either.
- Alex Welsch’s Best Burger / Porter Road Butcher West or Alex’s House / $0 [it was for staff lunch] – PRB ground beef, caramelized onion, PRB classic yellow mustard, Kenny’s Farmhouse white cheddar, and a toasted Bobby John Henry burger bun. | All quality ingredients. ‘Nuff said.
Want to make a burger that will turn on Wesley’s tastebuds? Here’s how he throws down with some PRB patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun…or something along those lines.
the wesley adams burger
¼ lb. PRB ground beef
2 slices American cheese (we’re talkin’ the single-wrapped squares)
salt & pepper
- Heat cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat.
- Form beef into 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thick burger patties and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
- Once cast-iron skillet is hot, add burgers to pan and cook until a nice crust has formed on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip burger and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until crust has formed. Remove burgers from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Place 2 slices of American cheese on top of each burger patty and then cover patties with a piece of aluminum foil to keep the burgers warm as they rest.
- Meanwhile, slice each burger bun in half, and toast in the cast iron skillet. Spread mayonnaise on the top half of the bun; spread mustard on the bottom half. Place burger patty on the bottom half, top with pickles and lettuce, and replace the top. Do not cut in half. Hold that burger in your hands and feel it while you eat it.
- Enjoy with a cold, dark lager or pale ale.