Warning: The following burgers are as messy as they are tasty, requiring at least five napkins and/or a bib. We take no responsibility for any fine clothing worn during their consumption.
44 Farms Hamburger | Local Foods
While this small Houston chain is usually thought of as a healthier option—its lineup of salads and veggie-forward sides may have something to do with that—you shouldn’t count out the downtown location’s guilty-pleasure burger. The epic beef bomb boasts maximum drippage thanks to a flawlessly cooked 44 Farms patty, plus Indian Creek ’shrooms, melted Swiss, and secret sauce. Add a farm egg if you dare.
Carpet Bagger Burger | B&B Butchers & Restaurant
The restaurant is famous, and rightfully so, for another sandwich, the Carpet Bagger, which features a crisp, Cajun-fried oyster atop a fat slab of bacon and a hunk of filet, all of it blanketed with hot sauce, house blue cheese dressing, and extra crumbles. But we prefer the Carpet Bagger Burger—available at lunch and brunch—which puts a spin on the cult favorite, replacing the filet with a big ol’ burger (a blend of filet and dry-aged sirloin) and the oyster with a toasty bun. Pro tip: Use the chubby steak fries to sop up the inevitable mess.
Chili Cheeseburger | Stanton City Bites
When you’re craving a burger, this local institution—around since 1961—is a no-brainer. The half-pound chili cheeseburger just may be the sloppiest of the bunch; manage a bite, and you’ll be treated to an avalanche of house chili and fiery-hot habanero mustard, along with usual suspects like bacon, caramelized onions, and gooey American cheese.
Detention Burger | Bernie’s Burger Bus
Like all of Bernie’s burgers, the Detention is made with freshly ground Black Angus patties and scratch-made condiments. You’ll need to unhinge your jaw to conquer its cheeseburger double-stack, jam-packed with boozed-up “tispy onions,” house pickles, slow-roasted garlic tomatoes, and a duo of crispy bacon grilled cheeses that act as buns. This is the kind of burger that bucket lists are made of.
The Ritual Burger | Ritual
When a restaurant rocks its own in-house butcher room, you know the burger is going to be legit. This spot’s namesake creation basically sits in a puddle of its own juices from the burger’s just-pink house-ground beef, bone marrow glazed pit onions, shreds of smoked brisket, and an obscenely satisfying Deep Ellum bleu cheese fondue. Studly Kennebec fries make the perfect companion.
Grease & Weasel | The Shack Burger Resort
Five napkins are required for most, if not all, of the blockbusters at this laidback burger destination. The Grease & Weasel, however, wins the gold medal in messiness thanks to its buns—in this case, two griddled honey buns. You can’t even pick the monstrosity up without licking your fingers. Inside the sticky-sweet exterior, you’ll find the holy trinity of burgerdom: a half-pound beef patty, slab bacon, and cheddar cheese. Want to kick it up a notch? Add owner Joe Duong’s “secret stash” Dang Dang hot sauce for just a buck.
Grim Burger | Lankford Grocery & Market
Bring cash—and a shirt you don’t mind ruining—to this daytime neighborhood stronghold. The burgers are greasy in a good way, aggressively griddled to form the perfect crust and adorned with all the bells and whistles. The Grim Burger is anything but bleak, sloppily gilded with creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, more cheese, pickled jalapeños, bacon, and a perfectly yolky sunny-side-up egg. The on-table napkin dispenser is a real blessing.
Zigalicious | Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen
The burgers here—made with a special blend of short rib and skirt steak from the famed Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors—clock in at a hefty eight ounces each. The Zigalicious increases the wow factor with a mountain of triple-smoked pastrami, one of K&Z’s house-made claims-to-fame. To make things even sloppier, the burger is finished with aged swiss, coleslaw, and a healthy slather of Russian dressing.
Quadruple Clogger | Hubcap Grill
This popular local chain is considered burger royalty in these parts for a reason, and that reason is its loosely formed, never-frozen patties, which manage to rock both a crisp edge and quintessential juiciness at once. Far from a hyper-fancy burger, the gut-buster known as the Quadruple Heartclogger proves that when it comes to toppings, lowbrow works just fine: Bacon, grilled wiener, chili, and cheese take its messiness right over-the-top.
Texas Red Chili Burger | State Fare
Kissed with ancho and pasilla chiles and a no-beans-welcome attitude, the robust Texas red beef chili here is a local treasure; slop it over a half-pound Texas Akaushi beef patty, and the result is a true knife-and-forker worthy of national recognition. The beefy goodness is topped with melted cheddar, super-gooey queso blanco, crisp white onion, and crunchy strips of fried jalapeño, all of it cradled by a toasty, mustard-sizzled potato bun.