Welcome to the Indy Burger Guy blog! I’ll skip my own introduction – just check out the About page if you wanna know who I am and why I started this blog.
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I recently got a notion to try and track down the best burger in my hometown of Indianapolis. In short, I was inspired by this story on the Freakonomics podcast about Emily O’Mara, a woman who went on a year-long quest to find the best burger in her own hometown of Louisville, KY.
Shortly after hearing that story, I took to Facebook, asking family and friends for their recommendations for the best burger joint in the Central Indiana area. I got a lot of great suggestions. Then, I took to the Internet with the same questions and added those recommendations to the ones from Facebook.
After a good deal of searching, I compiled a list of over 70 locations (and growing!) in the Central Indiana area (i.e. – Indianapolis and its surrounding suburbs) to try over the course of this project (however long it may last). My quest is to find the best burger in Central Indiana. But before I embark on this journey, there were decisions that needed to be made. For instance:
Where will I be getting these burgers?
As stated above, when starting this endeavor, I compiled a list of over 70 Central Indiana locations to try in my quest for best burger. I’ll keep the list here.
What are the standards for the burgers I’ll try?
So, I needed to have some ground rules in order to have a uniform criteria for the burgers I’ll be trying (and rating). Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Must be local! There are a number of national or near-national chains that make a great burger, but if I’m going to look for the best burger in Indy, I can’t be looking in too many other places. For my purposes, I’m looking at either local restaurants/food trucks, local chains (only within the state of IN), or regional chains (in Indy and up to three surrounding states). Check here for the full list or contact me about adding other restaurants I may be missing!
- Must be beef! While I have nothing against non-beef burgers in theory, the classic burger is a beef burger. In the interest of consistency and lack of any personal bias I may have, all the burgers I try must be beef.
- Must have cheese! I’m neither keeping kosher nor lactose intolerant, so as far as I’m concerned, cheese is a fundamental component of a burger. I’ll stick to classic American unless the burger in question comes standard with another type of cheese.
- Must start simple! Standard cheeseburger first, then upgrade to the specialty burgers on return visits. Exceptions may be made if there is a ‘house’ burger (one the place is known for) OR a burger named after the establishment.
- Must stick to the standard toppings! This means no topping substitutions or additions! (This goes for condiments as well – which is hard for mayo-loving me!) I will add cheese, if it doesn’t come standard. If given a choice, I’ll opt for American or the closest mild cheese I can get. If no toppings come standard, I may upgrade to lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle (as available).
This is a fluid list, so I may add more criteria with time.
How will I judge these burgers?
There’s a lot of subjectivity in judging of this kind, so there needs to be an objective standard. After looking online for some judging rubrics, I decided on the EAT Method employed by the regional Bull Burger Battle along with other reputable burger-rating organizations.
EAT is an acronym for the three qualities that come into play when qualifying any foodstuff – Execution, Appearance, and Taste. Execution refers to how the burgers are assembled and put together, along with other ‘intangibles’ like creativity and eatability (ease with which the burger can be eaten). Appearance obviously refers to how the burger looks, while Taste refers, again obviously, to the flavor and quality of ingredients used.
I’m awarding a total of 3.5 points for Execution, 1.5 for Appearance, and 5 for taste – for a total of ten total points.
To be clear, I’m only judging the burgers themselves – not the sides, the ambiance, or the restaurant itself. Just the beef, cheese, bread, and toppings. Purist.
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This is enough groundwork for now, wouldn’t you say? I’ll be posting my first burger review in the next day or so.