Over-the-Top Burgers

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Shack Stack
Photo: Photo © William Brinson.

Chefs are doing everything they can to make their burgers stand out, with surprising toppings like pastrami, smoked mayo and pulled pork. Here, the most over-the-top burgers.

01 of 19

Minneapolis: Eli's Donut Burgers

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Donut Burger with Bacon & Cheese
Photo courtesy of Eli's Donut Burgers.

Donut Burger with Bacon & Cheese

The motto of this food truck that serves burgers on doughnuts is “Unapologetically bad for you…but oh so good!” Sides include deep-fried mayo, deep-fried mac and cheese, deep-fried green beans, deep-fried pickles and the classic deep-fried regular and sweet potato fries. facebook.com/elisdonutburgers

02 of 19

Cleveland: B Spot

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Porky Burger
Photo © Paul Sobota.

The Porky Burger

Meat-on-meat burger pioneer and superstar chef Michael Symon offers the Porky, a burger topped with pulled pork, coleslaw, barbecue sauce and bacon. While the burger joint has a casual vibe, Symon’s standards remain as high as ever in the kitchens. “We have a truck bring in Pat LaFrieda meat from New York four times a week, because no one here can supply that kind of quality,” says Symon. “We cook 1,000 burgers a day and take the temperature in every single one.” bspotburgers.com

03 of 19

Los Angeles: Umamicatessen

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Pastrami-Mami Burger
Photo courtesy of Umami Burger.

Pastrami-Mami Burger

“A little grease on the griddle helps season the meat,” believes Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman, who also incorporates flavor boosters into the company’s ground beef, like “umami dust,” a savory mix that includes ground kombu (a type of seaweed) and dried shiitake mushrooms. His newer outpost, Umamicatessen, ups the umami even further with kombu relish plus white American cheese, Dijon mustard and a thick slab of house-cured pastrami. umamicatessen.com

04 of 19

Dallas: Smoke

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: EB&D Loaded Up & Truckin' Burger
Photo courtesy of Smoke Restaurant.

EB&D Loaded Up & Truckin’ Burger

Chef-owner Tim Byres relies on an in-kitchen wood grill and smoke pit to smoke and cure almost every item on the menu. He serves his mega burger with a soft-cooked egg fritter, thick house-smoked bacon and smoked sharp cheddar on a homemade honey roll. smokerestaurant.com

05 of 19

Atlanta: Flip Burger Boutique

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Steak Tartare Burger
Photo courtesy of Flip Burger Boutique.

Steak Tartare Burger

At his Flip chain, Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais serves unusual chef-driven items like the Steak Tartare Burger, a mix of hand-chopped beef tenderloin blended with garlic, chiles, capers, cornichons, pickled shallots, a fried egg and smoked mayonnaise. He uses a slew of molecular gastronomy techniques on his Raw Tuna Tartare burger, which is topped with a mango sphere that recalls an egg yolk and compressed julienned cucumbers that resemble translucent glass noodles. flipburgerboutique.com

06 of 19

Chicago: David Burke Primehouse

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: 40 Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burger
Photo courtesy of David Burke Primehouse.

40 Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burger

In its simplest incarnation, this juicy burger is topped with sautéed garlic spinach, crispy fried shallots and bacon mayonnaise. Additional toppings include fried pickles, a fried egg, superspicy “angry” shrimp and crab-and-asparagus hollandaise sauce. davidburkesprimehouse.com

07 of 19

Louisville, KY: Doc Crow's

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: The Bubba
Photo courtesy of Doc Crow.

The Bubba

Vietnamese brothers Michael and Steven Ton grew up in Texas and cooked in North Carolina. Now they make great barbecue at their casual restaurant in Kentucky, including this awesome half-pound steak burger topped with pulled pork, sliced beef brisket, a slice of fried green tomato, onion rings, a fried egg, coleslaw and barbecue sauce. doccrows.com

08 of 19

Ames, Iowa: Oddfellows Burger Kitchen

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: The Grilled Cheese Burger
Photo courtesy of Oddfellows.

The Grilled Cheese Burger

This burger may sound like an urban legend but it actually exists at this cheery restaurant: two bacon cheeseburgers between two grilled cheese sandwiches. oddfellowsburgerkitchen.com

09 of 19

Florida: Carousel Foods at the Florida State Fair

Crazy Things People Do To Ice Cream: Crazy Things People do to Ice Cream

Ice Cream Cheeseburger

Unfortunately (or fortunately for those who love sweet and savory combinations in any form), this unconventional state fair food item is exactly what it sounds like: a cheeseburger topped with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and a giant scoop of fried ice cream.

10 of 19

Memphis: Dyer's Burgers

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Triple Cheeseburger
Photo © Tracy O’Connor.

Triple Cheeseburger

It isn’t the toppings that make these burgers over-the-top, it’s the cooking method. This local favorite has been open since 1912 and is known for its deep-fried burgers. “We strain and process our grease daily, but we’ve never thrown it out and started over, so somewhere in there’s molecules from 1912. That’s what makes it so good,” boasts owner Tom Robertson in the documentary film Hamburger America. dyersonbeale.com

11 of 19

San Mateo, CA: Rave Burger

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: The Rave Burger
Photo © Doctor Popular.

The Rave Burger

At this burger joint that serves only Niman Ranch beef, the towering signature burger gets its five-inch height from a mound of crispy onion strings, grilled jalapeños, bacon, caramelized onions and chipotle aioli. rave-burger.com

12 of 19

Butte, Montana: Matt's Place

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Nut Burger
Photo © George Motz.

Nut Burger

Topped with a crushed peanut mayonnaise, this burger may sound like an acquired taste, but it’s actually the most popular choice at Montana’s oldest drive-in restaurant.

13 of 19

Washington, DC: BGR The Burger Joint

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: The 9 Pounder
Photo © Len De Pas.

The 9 Pounder

With the bun and condiments, this burger actually weighs over 15 pounds. Adding the extra weight: two heads of lettuce, eight tomatoes, three red onions and four whole pickles. The burger is served with a bottle of Maalox, and if one person finishes it, it’s free. bgrtheburgerjoint.com

14 of 19

Grand Rapids, Michigan: Fifth Third Ballpark

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: The Fifth Third Burger
Photo courtesy of Fifth Third Ballpark.

The Fifth Third Burger

Every year the management of the West Michigan Whitecaps minor league baseball team asks fans to vote on a new item to serve at the ballpark. In 2009, they chose this huge burger that consists of five one-third pound hamburger patties, five slices of American cheese, chili, salsa, nacho cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and Fritos (jalapeños are optional). The burger was so popular that it’s now a fixture on the menu. milb.com

15 of 19

Atlanta: The Nook

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Southern Comfort Burger
Photo courtesy of The Nook.

Southern Comfort Burger

This outrageous cheeseburger is stuffed with a ball of homemade deep-fried bacon mac and cheese and topped with a peach-and-Southern Comfort barbecue sauce. thenookatlanta.com

16 of 19

Los Angeles: Grill 'Em All Truck

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Pantera Burger
Photo courtesy of Grill ‘em All/ Matthew Chernus.

Pantera Burger

Co-owners Ryan Harkins and ex-professional wrestler Matthew Chernus share a common love for heavy metal (they’ve been band mates for over twenty years) and bizarre burgers, like this one topped with deep-fried macaroni and cheese, barbecued pulled pork, thick cut bacon and cheddar cheese. grillemalltruck.com

17 of 19

New York City: db Bistro Moderne

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Original db Burger
Photo © ccho/Flickr.

The Original db Burger

Fusing French and American influences, chef Daniel Boulud created this now-famous burger at his relaxed midtown spot in 2001. The $32 ground prime rib burger is stuffed with braised short ribs, foie gras and truffles and served on a homemade Parmesan bun. danielnyc.com

18 of 19

Las Vegas: Burger Bar

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Rossini Burger
Photo courtesy of Burger Bar.

Rossini Burger

Anyone looking for a Kobe beef burger with sautéed foie gras, shaved truffles and truffle sauce can find it until 3 a.m. at superstar chef Hubert Keller’s burger joint on the Las Vegas Strip for the price of $60. At his fine-dining restaurant Fleur, Keller offers the Fleur Burger for $65, which has the same toppings but is made with wagyu beef; the Fleur Burger 5000 comes with a bottle of 1995 Château Petrus for $5,000. burger-bar.com

19 of 19

Multiple Locations: Shake Shack

Crazy Over-the-Top Burger Topping: Shack Stack
Photo © William Brinson.

Shack Stack

Restaurateur Danny Meyer has shaped New York City’s dining scene with hot spots like the elegant Gramercy Tavern, and Shake Shack, which serves a locally-beloved burger and has become a worldwide chain. This signature pairs a smashed cheeseburger with the indulgent vegetarian option, a deep-fried cheese-filled Portobello mushroom. shakeshack.com

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