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GQ Magazine / July 2005

The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die

Alan Richman traveled 23,750 miles and consumed more than 150,000 calories while taking the measure of 162 burgers across the country—with one goal: to find you the best damned assemblage of ground beef and buns this country serves up

Photographs by Steve Lagato


A Counter BurgerThe hamburger is a symbol of everything that makes America great. Straightforward, egalitarian, substantial, and good-natured, it is also a little bloody at times.

It may come big and ungarnished, the East Coast ideal, tender and untroubled by bones or gristle, everything you look for in a filet mignon but seldom find. It may be the West Coast model, swelling with vegetation, brimming with health and well-being, piled high with all that a seed catalog can provide. A great burger, regardless of regional differences, instills a sense of optimism and fulfillment, that all is right at the table or the counter or the woodgrain, screwed-to-the-floor, fast-food booth.

At its best, it eliminates the need for conversation or the urge to glance up at the TV over the bar. If you find yourself eating silently, eyes closed, ignoring everything around you, even the unavoidable burger-joint din, you have come upon a burger that can be pronounced a success.

The hamburger is a symbol of everything that makes America great. Straightforward, egalitarian, substantial, and good-natured, it is also a little bloody at times.

It may come big and ungarnished, the East Coast ideal, tender and untroubled by bones or gristle, everything you look for in a filet mignon but seldom find. It may be the West Coast model, swelling with vegetation, brimming with health and well-being, piled high with all that a seed catalog can provide. A great burger, regardless of regional differences, instills a sense of optimism and fulfillment, that all is right at the table or the counter or the woodgrain, screwed-to-the-floor, fast-food booth.

At its best, it eliminates the need for conversation or the urge to glance up at the TV over the bar. If you find yourself eating silently, eyes closed, ignoring everything around you, even the unavoidable burger-joint din, you have come upon a burger that can be pronounced a success.

 

The Best Burgers in America list