Whether you’re eating for nourishment, for pleasure or simply to impress your Instagram followers, few things are more appealing than an over-the-top burger. Sure, they may not always be the easiest things to wrap your mouth around, and sometimes it’s even hard to taste the burger part with everything else that’s going on. But more often than not, the calories and culinary challenges are worth the occasional ridiculous burger. Here are eight of the most insane versions you can find at fancy restaurants and dives alike.
1. The Triple Triple Let’s just get this ridiculous leaning tower of meat from Wayback Burgers (multiple locations) out of the way early. Go ahead. Try to open wide enough to shove those nine patties, nine slices of American cheese and a little lettuce and tomato into your mouth. We dare you.
2. The Behemoth You know what a greasy beef sandwich really needs? To be sandwiched between two more sandwiches. That’s why this burger at Grill ’Em All in Alhambra, California uses two grilled cheese sandwiches in place of a bun. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without extra cheddar, barbecue sauce, bacon, grilled onion and pickles.
3. The Hot Mess If you’re feeling really adventurous, flip that shit on its head with a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed between two beef patties at Grill Marks in Columbia, South Carolina. But wait, there’s more! It includes a grilled hot dog, chili, cheddar and Swiss cheese, bacon, onion straws, fried pickles, and lettuce and tomato (those last two are for a little something healthy).
4. The Ringmaster Combine breakfast and dinner (and possibly get diabetes) at San Francisco’s Straw. The customizable Ringmaster burger stuffs two grass-fed beef patties—each topped with American cheese—between two house-made glazed donuts. If that’s not enough, you can make it a double (er, a quad?), and add maple-glazed bacon, a fried egg and avocado. I mean, why wouldn’t you?
5. “The Secret Burger” Fact: If a burger isn’t listed on a restaurant’s menu, but ends up with its own article in Boston Magazine, you know it’s worth ordering. While the specifics of “the secret burger” at Bean Town’s Alden & Harlow change depending on the chef’s mood, it’s guaranteed to be rich. Alleged toppings have included fried clams and butter sauce, pâté, air-dried Chinese sausage and green curry, and pork belly with pickled carrots.
6. The 5-Pound Burger If you’re so hungry you could eat a horse, opt for a cow instead and head to Ed Walker's Drive-In & Restaurant in Fort Smith, Arkansas for the famous 5-Pound Burger. For $28 you can get a giant hamburger, and for $2 more, you can get it with cheese (hella condiments are served on the side). Wear stretchy pants. And take friends to either help you eat it or roll you out.
7. The Galley Buster The Anchor Bar in Superior, Wisconsin may be known for its fancy cashew and olive burgers, but come on; it’s a dirty dive bar packed with working class folks and cold, cheap beer. That’s why the clear choice is this triple cheeseburger (boasting an entire pound of beef) with amazingly crispy house-cut fries for only $7 and some change. You simply won’t find a burger this good, this filling or this affordable anywhere else in America.
8. Uncle Eric’s Roadhouse Burger This towering treat, named for the grill cook at Chicago’s Beacon Tavern, defies the laws of gravity. In fact, it’s so tall, a steak knife is needed to hold it all together. The foundation is a half-pound patty with melted Hook’s cheddar cheese. That gets topped with two onion rings—both wider and taller than the burger—stacked on top of each other. A heavy drizzle of barbecue sauce adorns the entire thing.