Bacon region results below. Click Pickle, Ketchup and Mustard for those Round 2 results in the judges' bracket.
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Hopdoddy vs. M&O
(1) Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 6030 Luther Lane, Dallas vs. (5) M&O Station Grill, 200 Carroll St., Fort Worth
M&Os Supreme Tijuana burger had nothing to hide it arrived bun askew, two big patties and ingredients tumbling onto the plate. It was the very definition of a hot mess. The beef, seared nicely with onion shards throughout, packed great flavor. But after a few bites, the mighty meat felt smothered by gobs of bland guacamole, punchless roasted poblano peppers, cream cheese and an overmatched bun. With each bite, as we grabbed for more and more napkins, we admired the gut-busting ambition of this burger, even if the execution wasnt as Supreme as the mess.
At Hopdoddy, the Llano Poblano burger emerged from the kitchen looking like a supermodel from the pages of a food magazine. Surely, someone had airbrushed this thing, because no burger could taste as good as it looked. The bun, made in house, was glistening. So was the freshly ground beef. The tomato and lettuce were vivid shades of red and green. Like a school kid with a crush, we wanted so badly to believe this beauty would speak to us. And, lo and behold, it did. Its meat was juicy, flavorful and seasoned to perfection. The ample roasted poblanos added a gentle heat to the apple-smoked bacon and the creamy pepper jack cheese. And the veggies, well, they were so fresh we wanted to slap em.
In short, at Hopdoddy we found burger bliss.
Love Shack vs. Kincaids
(3) Love Shack, 110 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth vs. (2) Kincaids, 4901 Camp Bowie, Fort Worth
Certainly, there are flashier burgers than Kincaids chefly creations topped with quail eggs, chipolte mayo and custom buns. But few can deliver the classic beef-a-licious bite of a perfectly grilled Kincaids burger. And that was the story of this matchup, which pitted Tim Loves signature Dirty Love Burger against a majestic 1/2-pound bacon cheeseburger from the original Kincaids location.
The first bite of our Love Shack burger tasted mostly of lettuce and Love sauce (a pleasingly tangy mayo). The patty was well seasoned with peppercorns, but it was puny and cooked past the promised medium. And the signature quail egg was barely detectable, having vanished into the top bun. Our two bacon slices were divine, with smoky flavor and good texture, but the individual components of this burger tasted better than the whole and they overpowered the brisket-chuck patty. That definitely was not the case at Kincaids, where the bacon cheeseburger arrived big and juicy a carnivores delight. The black Angus chuck patty was slightly pink in the middle and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. American cheese was melted expertly over the patty. Our bacon was decent, if not as flavorful as Love Shacks, and the bun could have been a bit sturdier, but in the end Kincaids delivered the more complete and satisfying burger proving you dont have to be flashy to be a winner.