Slideshow: Staff Picks: Favorite Burgers of 2012

Slow Bar | Portland, OR
Slow Bar | Portland, OR

"Never mind the fact that the loosely packed ground beef is perfectly seasoned and finger-soaking juicy. Never mind the tangy pickle-and-horseradish relish slathered on the Grand Central Bakery bun. Never mind the nutty melted Gruyère oozing over the sides of the exquisitely crusted patty. No, the addition of two huge, sweet, crunchy onion rings stacked on top of each other is the real reason you need to get your hands on Slow Bar's Slowburger, stat." —Adam Lindsley, Portland correspondent

Slow Bar review »

533 SE Grand Ave., Portland OR 97214 (map); 503-230-7767; slowbar.net

[Photograph: Adam Lindsley]

Edgewood Corner Tavern | Atlanta
Edgewood Corner Tavern | Atlanta

"So many excellent burgers this year in A-town, but the one I find myself fantasizing about just a little longer than is probably healthy is the Carpetbagger from Edgewood Corner Tavern. The one-liner version is that it's the best parts of a buffalo chicken sandwich married to a big fat pub burger...but I hope you'll savor all the details (Pabst Blue Ribbon beer batter!) and get an up-close look at its construction in the original review from September. Suffice it to say that this crunchy/meaty/cheesy/tangy/rich-as-holy-hell stuffed-and-deep-fried Frankenburger may not be for everyone. No, wait. Screw that, yes, it is for everyone. Purists should just get over themselves and succumb to the mad-genius glory that is The Carpetbagger, my favorite burger of 2012."—Todd Brock, Atlanta correspondent

Edgewood Corner Tavern review »

464 Edgewood Avenue SE, Atlanta GA 30312 (map); 404-577-2310; thecornertavern.com

[Photograph: Todd Brock]

Morocho | NYC
Morocho | NYC

"I'd say the Poor Man's Burger from Morocho, a Peruvian food cart in Union Square, was my favorite of the year. Generally I'm into cheeseburgers, but Morocho's perfectly balanced toppings make cheese completely unnecessary. In fact, months after eating the burger, its topping combination of rocoto mayo, fried egg. and fried plantain still haunts my dreams. The best part: it's $8 and probably worth about twice that." —Sam Levison, Providence correspondent

Morocho review »

Union Square West (SW corner, near Staples), New York, NY 10003 (map); facebook.com/MorochoNY

[Photograph: Dave Katz]

Jake's Burger | Brookfield, WI
Jake's Burger | Brookfield, WI
"You know the beef is going to be good when the owners of a longstanding, successful steakhouse open up a burger restaurant. Biting into this burger is like biting into a super tender steak, but for less money and in a casual atmosphere. The toppings on the Jake's Burger really won me over too: sweet, tangy homemade dressing, crispy onion strings and the much underused butter lettuce. This burger is really the whole package." —Lacey Muzynski, Milwaukee correspondent

Jake's review »

18905 W Capitol Dr # 110, Brookfield WI 53045 (map); 262-781-1110; jakesburger.com

[Photograph: Lacey Muzynski]

Owen & Engine | Chicago
Owen & Engine | Chicago

"My belief that the best burger in Chicago is found at David Burke's Primehouse went largely unchallenged during my years as a regular reviewer on AHT. But my faith started to shake a little bit in March when I reviewed the exquisite offering from Owen & Engine. In the months since, I've returned to Owen & Engine a few times, one of which came within days of a trip to Primehouse, and I got more impressed with Chef de Cuisine Kevin Church's offering on each visit. The funky dry-aged patty at Primehouse is still tops in the beef category, but Owen & Engine's 60/20/20 blend of chuck, short rib, and brisket from Slagel Family Farm isn't far behind. When you throw in the caramelized onions, cave-aged English cheddar from Barber's, the housemade rashers, and the housemade potato bun, you've got something extraordinary. And I just might have a new favorite burger in Chicago." —Daniel Zemans, Chicago correspondent emeritus

Owen & Engine review »

2700 North Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60647(map); 773-235-2930; owenandengine.com

[Photograph: Daniel Zemans]

Kronnerburger | San Francisco
Kronnerburger | San Francisco

"The Kronnerburger inspired me to use the phrase 'burger nirvana.' And MEAN it. I first tried it at a Monday night pop-up at Bar Tartine and, to my utter delight, chef Chris Kronner heeded my pleas and is in the process of opening up a couple of burger joints in the city. A well-textured, impeccably salted (and pretty rare) hunk of beefy glory, served up on a smoked potato brioche bun, topped with punchy pickles and a cheddar mayo to write home about...this is a burger worth the lavish praise. For now, you can find it popping up at Bruno's (high on my list: trying their sweetbread burger!!). I will say that the last iteration of the Kronnerburger I had didn't quite live up to the first, but like any head-over-heels girl in love, I'm willing to give it quite a few more chances." —Lauren Sloss, San Francisco correspondent

Bar Tartine's Kronnerburger review »

2379 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94110 (map); 415-656-9871; facebook.com/KronnerBurgerSF

[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman]

Little Bear | Los Angeles
Little Bear | Los Angeles

"It might be time to punch Andre Guerrero's ticket to the LA burger hall of fame. His reliably excellent Oinkster continues to impress, but it was his Little Bear Burger that I tried early in the year that was my 2012 burger revelation. The first bite almost overwhelmed me with its different flavors, but taking a moment to let them play out revealed the genius behind his creation. The peppery arugula played against the richness of the mushrooms and sweetness of the gastrique so well that it could have been a delicious salad on its own. But when the robust and fatty beef broke through the salty sweetness of the toppings, I was reminded how much I prefer my salads on top of burgers." —Damon Gambuto, Los Angeles correspondent

Little Bear review »

1855 Industrial St., Los Angeles CA 90021 (map); 213-622-8100; littlebearla.com

[Photograph: Damon Gambuto]

Three Aces | Chicago
Three Aces | Chicago

The Ace Burger from Three Aces (review to come!) is one of the better burgers I've had this year. Admittedly, I took over as the Chicago AHT correspondent pretty late in the year, so I've got a rather limited selection between Lockdown, Poag Mahone's, Choppers, and Maid Rite, among other places. But this grilled pub behemoth sticks out in my mind as being quite a contender. It's big, beefy, juicy, and rich, just like I like my sugar daddies (wait, what?). Not only that, but it's robed in an assertive cheddar cheese and, of course, bacon! The pretzel bun is grilled and is strong enough to hold the monster together, and with a side of bolognese fries, this thing is like the Mike Tyson of meals. Except it won't eat your face. You'll...eat its face. Yes, that. You'll eat its face." —Dennis Lee, Chicago correspondent

1321 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (map); 312-243-1577; threeaceschicago.com

[Photograph: Dennis Lee]

The Chelsea | Fairfield, CT
The Chelsea | Fairfield, CT

"2012 was great fun for this newbie to AHT. I had some incredible burgers and several that were so bad I refer to them as 'two-biters.' But the clear choice for my favorite of 2012 is The Chelsea Burger at The Chelsea in Fairfield (review coming soon). This burger is a perfect 10 in every way. Not only is the grilled patty incredibly juicy with great char, it's dipped in a bacon-cheddar sauce, encasing it in delicious gooiness. Toppings of bacon bits and sautéed sweet and sour onions make it even better, and it's all served on a great buttery brioche bun." —Jeff Schlesinger, Connecticut correspondent

12 Unquowa Place, Fairfield CT 06824 (map); 203-254-8200; thechelseaff.com

[Photograph: Jeff Schlesinger]

JM Curley | Boston
JM Curley | Boston

"As usual, I've eaten too many burgers to remember this year, but the one that sticks out the most was the excellent grilled burger from the dinner menu at JM Curley in Boston. Great beef, perfectly seasoned, well-cooked, and classic, balanced toppings. No fuss, just great execution, which is exactly how a burger should be." —Kenji Lopez-Alt, Serious Eats chief creative officer

JM Curley review »

21 Temple Place, Boston MA 02111‎ (map); ‪617-338-5333‬; jmcurleyboston.com

[Photograph: Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Bocado | Atlanta
Bocado | Atlanta

"The double cheeseburger at Bocado in Atlanta. I appreciate super-funky burgers or super-rich ones like Minetta's Black Label, but Bocado's strikes me as the classic soul-satisfying cheeseburger in just about perfect form: a crazy crust on each little patty, insanely juicy, dripping with a double layer of melted American, a teeny bit of mayo just to amp up the glorious fattiness, with a butter-toasted bun. And those fries, too..." —Carey Jones, Serious Eats senior managing editor

Bocado review »

887 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta GA 30318 (Map); 404-815-1399; bocadoatlanta.com

[Photograph: Carey Jones]

Molly's Pub | NYC
Molly's Pub | NYC

"Somehow, despite having grown up in Stuyvesant Town and lived nearby for practically my whole life, I had never had the burger at Molly's on 3rd Avenue until this year. It was worth the wait, a superlative pub-style burger." —Ben Fishner, Serious Eats ad operations administrator

Molly's Pub review »

287 Third Avenue, New York NY 10010 (b/n 22nd and 23rd; map); 212-889-3361

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]