In case you're wondering, National Hamburger Month is May. It's a special time of year when the smell of smoldering coals and charred meat can be noticed wafting through neighborhoods everywhere. So give in to your burger temptations and grab a few bites at these Broward burger joints. We'll do a Palm Beach version later in the week.
Big Bear, an independently owned and operated brewpub in Coral Springs,
puts as much thought into its stellar burgers as it does
into its award-winning suds. Each of the half-inch-thick patties is
made from ground-daily chuck and griddle-cooked for the perfect amount
of juiciness. It's then laid to rest on an airy, sesame-seed-coated
Kaiser roll and topped in a few distinctive ways. Our favorite is the
bistro burger, a pungent offering that's slathered with balsamic
caramelized red onions, roasted garlic mayonnaise, Applewood smoked
bacon, and a slab of runny Brie cheese. These burgers may be
high-class, but they're all low cost, each clocking in under $12.
Sonny's is best-known for its Philadelphia-style steak hogies (not
"hoagies"), cut from rib-eye beef and wedged into a housemade roll. But it also serves one mean hamburger. The restaurant calls it a hogie burger: an
oblong, griddle-cooked patty of freshly ground beef that fits nicely on
one of Sonny's famous hogie rolls. And it's nearly perfect. The burger
is immensely beefy and charred on an age-old griddle. When you bite
into it, the thing drips with a slurry of rendered fat, most of which
gets soaked up by the luscious, cornmeal-studded roll. A six-ounce burger
will set you back only $3.75, and it's a meal on its own. Slather it
with sweet, pickled peppers provided at every table, or add cheese for
just 50 cents.
Let it be said: All the toppings in the world aren't worth a damn if
you can't cook a hamburger right. Le Tub is a good example of burgery
at its finest. Its burger -- a
constant contender for Best Of, not just in South Florida but all over
America -- is pure sirloin. Yet it's amazingly juicy. You take a bite
and gobs of rendered fat drip down your chin and onto your plate. This
is thanks to Le Tub's ancient-looking outdoor grill. It has an open
meaning there is never a cover to seal in heat and cook the burgers
from any other angle than the bottom. It burns superhot, so the one
side that is closest to the flame chars to a crisp, caramelizing the
meat and sealing in juices.
Big City Dogs: Big City's burger is no joke. It's damned big. Because this burger is more than an inch thick of
all-beef chuck fresh ground in-house daily, you'll find it hard to wrap your mouth around this loaded beast. It's grilled perfectly to
temperature -- order it medium and you get a hot, pink center -- and set
on a kaiser roll large and sturdy enough to handle its largess. For the
top: cheese, if you like it, plus lettuce, tomato, and quality,
hand-cut pickles sliced the long way to achieve maximum
coverage. Underneath the patty: a mound of caramelized onions. Sound great? Well, yes, it is. You could do no wrong ordering
this juicy, delicious burger, which comes with fries and a drink for
under $10 and is a relatively close lunch trip from downtown Fort
Lauderdale. Thanks to a new store in Davie, folks out west can enjoy life in the Big City too.
If beef flavor is your aim, you can't go wrong with a burger from
Jack's. The Fort Lauderdale institution uses a blend of brisket that's
ground fresh every day, then griddle-cooks it to a perfect char. The
patties aren't superthick or loaded with toppings. They're well-done
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and juicy as all get out and slipped into the kind of sweet and airy bun a
brother wouldn't mind being buried in. At less than $6 for a
half-pounder, these bad boys are cheap as well as tasty. No wonder
Jack's has stuck around so long.