20060518Perlow.jpgForget the gravy train, you've booked a ticket on the Burger Express. Next stop: Listburg, where the populace is obsessed with notations and rank. The latest resident to settle in our sleepy hamlet is Jason Perlow (left), founder of eGullet.com and publisher of Off the Broiler, where this list is also available. Mr. Perlow's list, he tells us, is in no particular order. Beefy thanks to Jason! —The Management

MY TOP BURGER LIST | Words and Photos by Jason Perlow

White Manna, Hackensack, New Jersey
Got to have it as a double with grilled onions and cheese with extra pickle. Your stomach is going to rumble big time after eating four or five of these, but the indigestion and heartburn is well worth it. They look unattractive, lopsided and smooshed up. But they'll kick the crap out of you if you disrespect them. Kind of like most people from Jersey.

Louis Lunch, New Haven, Connecticut
They got weird rules, the burger is bizarre, both in preparation and in presentation. It doesn't matter, it makes sense, in an almost proto-evolutionary way. Its like eating the missing link in burger anthropology.

O'Rourke's Diner Steamed Cheeseburger, Middletown, Connecticut
Connecticut is home to the strange burgers. While Ted's in Meriden is the steamed cheeseburger everyone has heard about, O'Rourke's really is the original. Make this place part of your lifetime burger pilgrimage.

NationWide Meats, Sacramento, California
Sacramento is hot as hell, but its also got one of the best burgers anywhere. The beef they use here is top quality, there's plenty of it, their burger dressing is outstanding and their super thick-cut fries are magnificent.

Burger Joint, San Francisco
The menu is minimalist. The neighborhood is weird. Don't miss this place.

Blue Smoke Jazz Standard Burger, New York City
Before there was Shake Shack, there was the Blue Smoke Burger. Can't think of a better burger to have when listening to Jazz and having a cold beer.

Shake Shack, Madison Square Park, New York City
Yes, the place is hyped beyond belief and the lines are infuriating. Doesn't matter. Go, go, go. Even if you have to camp outside overnight to get a place in line the next day.

McSorley's Burger, Greenwich Village, New York City
It's cheap, but its beefy, topped with raw onion, and it's the perfect accompaniment to some of the best beers in town, in the oldest, surliest Irish Bar in the city.

Johnny Rocket's #12 Burger, various locations
Something about the Red sauce they put on this thing, combined with the thin-style burger with crispy edges makes this one unique and worthy of mention, edging out the other Micro-chains.

White Castle Double Cheeseburger, various locations
Perhaps I have saved my favorite for last. Before there was Harold and Kumar, college students have been making late night inebriated treks to the Castle for over six decades. Its the ultimate working class burger, which proudly features grease as an ingredient. Don't forget the extra pickle, it brings everything into Zen-like balance.

Well, there's Mr. Perlow's list. Dig it? Got a beef with it? Leave a comment. Better yet, submit your own list and take up residency in Listburg.


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