In San Antonio, BMOC Jason Dady keeps busy overseeing five restaurants, with concepts ranging from Tuscan-inspired fare at Tre Trattoria to an eclectic, ever-changing line-up of fusion dishes at food truck The DUK Truck.
If you want a Jason Dady-created burger, you'll find one the brunch menu at BIN 555. Dady says his approach to the burger was to make it "different, yet tangible." To that end, It's made from fatty cuts of brisket with both classic and upscale toppings, like American cheese, house made sweet cherry tomato jam, and caramelized onion. It's served on a toasted English muffin, which Dady says gives it a great texture and the ideal "squish factor."
Dady clearly has some well-defined burger preferences—so much so that I'm confident he'd fit right in with the most passionate AHT'er. Just take a look at what he had to say about buns and proper burger construction and you'll see what I mean.
I believe the most important burgers start with a great bun. A soft bun with structure that can smash around the burger is key. I also think some thick, cold, crunchy iceberg lettuce and salted tomato add classic yet vibrant flavors, and make a perfect bite. Let's not forget those fatty, salty dripping juices down your forearm. And lastly, I NEVER EVER use ketchup. Mustard and mayo for the win.
At home, he's all about char-grilled half-pounders (sometimes with dried onion flakes mixed into the beef), but when someone else is doing the cooking, he's just as likely to hit a drive-thru as he is to sit down for a cheffy burger and a stiff drink.
Jason Dady's Top 5 Burgers in San Antonio
1. Arcade Midtown Kitchen: Chef Jesse Perez hits a home run with his thick burger made with 50/50 brisket and sirloin. The burger comes with caramelized onion, organic lettuces, American cheese, and "special sauce" on a brioche bun. A perfect burger in a great environment, I love it with an Old Fashioned.
303 Pearl Parkway, San Antonio TX 78215 (map); 210-369-9664; arcadesatx.com
2. Longhorn Cafe: A great, greasy flattop burger with fresh ground meat, spicy jalapeño, cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce. It's salty, crunchy, fatty, and delicious.
Multiple locations in San Antonio, see thelonghorncafe.com for full list
3. The Bracken Burger at Bracken Store: This burger is "Old School" all the way. A large patty that is pressed and served in an old café environment. Nothing fancy, just a great tasting burger, the way Grandpa used to make it! A true treasure for rural San Antonio.
18415 Bracken Drive, San Antonio TX 78266 (map); 210-651-6515; brackenstore.com
4. Freddy's Frozen Custard: Best fast food burger in town. A crispy meat or double meat burger with all the classic fixin's; lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard and mayo on a soft bun. Add a little cheese sauce on the side for the ultimate indigence and enjoy alone in the car, driving down the road.
Multiple locations in San Antonio, see freddysusa.com for full list
5. Ground Rib Eye Burger at Feast Restaurant: Ground rib eye, caramelized onion, Shropshire blue cheese, green garlic aioli, all on a pretzel bun. It's so damn good. Not something I share. It's Mine. All Mine.
1024 S Alamo Street, San Antonio TX 78210 (map); 210-354-1024; feastsa.com
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax