DFW Burger Battle 2013: Bacon Region contenders

Posted 11:18am on Thursday, Jul. 11, 2013

Be sure to check out the matchups in our other regions: Pickle region, Mustard region, and Ketchup region.)

Bacon Region contenders

(1) Hopdoddy Burger Bar vs. (8) Mixed Up Burgers

(1) Hopdoddy: How, you might ask, did a newcomer earn a No. 1 seed in our vaunted Burger Bracket with so many established competitors in DFW? One bite at Hopdoddy, and you’ll begin to understand. The Austin-based “better burger” joint opened in Dallas’ Preston Center last year, and the buzz has been deafening ever since. Hopdoddy grinds its own Black Angus beef in-house daily, and bakes its own buns, too. Its toppings are farm-fresh, from the fried eggs to the beefsteak tomatoes. And the meat comes from “happy cows,” which means no hormones and antibiotics. But will all those good ingredients and good intentions add up to a deep run in the Burger Bracket? That remains to be seen. 6030 Luther Lane, No. 100, Dallas, 214-363-2337, www.hopdoddy.com

(8) Mixed Up Burgers: True to its name, Mixed Up doesn’t just put toppings on burgers. It “mixes” everything in, from bacon and mushrooms to Swiss and pepper jack cheeses, jalapeños and cured ham. Formerly called Patty Shack, Mixed Up has two locations in the Grand Prairie area and a legion of fans who love the customizable concept. For those who don’t feel like playing burger chef, Mixed Up has several popular combinations, including the Jethro (Cajun spices, blue cheese, bacon and sauteed onions) and the Shackadelic (bacon, ’shrooms and Swiss cheese). While Mixed Up brings a fresh approach to the bracket, its stuffed burgers are an acquired taste that not everyone acquires. 510 E. Avenue K, Grand Prairie. www.mixedupburgers.com

(2) Kincaid’s Hamburgers vs. (7) Whataburger

(2) Kincaid’s: Not too long ago, Kincaid’s was the undisputed King of Burgers in Fort Worth. The original location on Camp Bowie Boulevard, which started as a grocery market in 1946, is still considered one of the gastro temples of Cowtown. But the King has plenty of company now — Fred’s, Dutch’s, Charley’s and newcomer Rodeo Goat can all challenge Kincaid’s for burger supremacy. In fact, our judges stripped Kincaid’s of its No. 1 seeding this time around, based on early exits in the last two battles. But Kincaid’s has a proud tradition and could be a sleeper as a No. 2 seed. There are six locations in Tarrant County now, but our judging will take place where it all began. 4901 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. kincaidshamburgers.com

(7) Whataburger: If Kincaid’s is a beloved Fort Worth burger, Whataburger is a Texas original, with its orange and white A-frame buildings and its two-fisted burgers first served in Corpus Christi but now available along every highway and byway in the Lone Star State. Burger snobs may scoff at a fast-food chain burger walking among the elite in DFW, but anybody who has ever sunk their incisors into a Whataburger at midnight, with some “fancy ketchup” and perfectly melted cheese, knows Whataburger belongs. Multiple locations; judging at 955 N. Beach St., Fort Worth. www.whataburger.com

(3) Love Shack vs. (6) OC Burger

(3) Love Shack: It might seem as though Tim Love, Fort Worth’s celebri-chef, has the Midas touch. His Woodshed Smokehouse is packed most nights, and so is Lonesome Dove. His new steakhouse in Denton, Queenie’s, is earning raves, too. But his burger “shacks” have seen better days. Only the original location in the Stockyards remains; two others have closed in the past year. But Love’s signature burger, the Dirty Love, is still a gourmet concoction to be reckoned with. The beef and brisket patty is topped with gooey cheese, thick bacon, “Love Sauce” and a fried quail egg. Precious, perhaps. But it’s pure Love, which makes it a contender in any burger bracket. 110 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth. www.loveburgershack .com

(6) OC Burger: This may not be California’s best-known burger — that would be a little place called In-N-Out — but OC is an ambitious burger player with a distinct West Coast flavor. In fact, it may have been too ambitious. OC expanded to three locations, but, like Love Shack, it is now back to just the original in Watauga. (That was always the best, anyway.) OC is capable of creating magic on its flat-top grill with delicious flame-broiled patties, and it has proved itself tournament-ready in the past, advancing to the second round in both of our previous burger battles. But OC could be overmatched in this fully stocked Bacon region. 6300 Denton Highway, Watauga. ocburgers.com

(4) The Grease Monkey vs. (5) M&O Station Grill

(4) Grease Monkey Burger Shop and Social Club: The garage-themed burger joint is part of downtown Arlington’s culinary renaissance, and it’s not shy about taking chances with its ingredients — or its deep fryer. The signature Angry burger features roasted green chile peppers, garlic, fried jalapeños, chipotle mayo and pepper jack cheese. There’s also a chicken fried bacon chipotle BBQ burger on the menu. But like a classic hot rod, Grease Monkey is going to have to prove it has substance under the hood if it hopes to contend in this burger race. 2 00 N. Mesquite St., Arlington. www.greasemonkey burgers.com

(5) M&O Station Grill: With all the burger titans in west Fort Worth, it’s possible to overlook M&O. But that would be a titanic mistake. This mom-and-pop joint, which opened in the shadow of the Montgomery Ward building before all the growth came to the West 7th district, has a loyal fan base that propelled it to victory in the Readers’ Bracket in 2009. M&O’s 1/2-pound stuffed burgers are impressive and can stand tall amid all the flashier competition. It may very well teach newcomer Grease Monkey a lesson in its opening round matchup, but the going gets much tougher from there. 2 00 Carroll St., Fort Worth. www.facebook.com/ MandOSTATIONGRILL

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