Charley’s vs. Rodeo Goat
(1) Charley’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, 4616 Granbury Road, Fort Worth, vs. (2) Rodeo Goat, 2836 Bledsoe St., Fort Worth
The battle between the old-school and new-school burger joints can get heated. The clash of organic and chef-driven versus grease-stained flat-top grills and recipes unchanged since the Reagan administration can send sparks flying — and not just when your palate is set ablaze by patties piled high with peppers.
Charley’s, one of the last veteran restaurants standing in the 2013 Burger Battle (it’s been open since 1992), was up first, offering its Project X burger for our consideration. Beef soaked in Tabasco sauce and topped with cheddar cheese and jalapeños promises a mouthful of fire, but the kick was strangely absent in our initial few bites. (The store-bought buns also came dangerously close to disintegrating before we’d finished.) The beef was well-seasoned and crumbled nicely, but seemed uninspired. The avocado burger, another Charley’s stalwart, fared better, with its well-seasoned beef blending nicely with creamy avocado, Swiss cheese, mayo and leafy green lettuce.
Over at Rodeo Goat, the upstart eatery’s Hot Bastard burger brought the pain in delightful fashion. Topped with habanero cheddar (created in-house), marinated peppers and a Fresno chile aioli, this edible firecracker was a molten mouthful balancing the heat without sacrificing that essential beefy flavor. Crisp lettuce, fresh tomato slices and hefty slices of red onion filled out the burger, which contrasted well with the Caca Oaxaca, packing plenty of punch with its beef and chorizo patty, and topped with avocado and a fried egg. Rodeo Goat’s beef, housed in custom buns, was perfectly seasoned and juicy and held its own against the spice.
After the smoke cleared, the winner was evident. Rodeo Goat, in its inaugural Burger Battle, advances to the final four.
Winner: Rodeo Goat