The juices will drip down your chin, the mustard will stain your shirt, the cheese will wreck your diet. The state’s most prodigious patties await your inner carnivore.
Brisket Burger With Pork Belly
Folc, San Antonio
$18 (includes potatoes)
It’s hard not to salivate when this burger lands at your table. Known for New American fare that combines elegant plates and complex techniques, Folc delivers a brisket-and-pork-belly burger that offers a near-salacious experience. Cast aside any notions of neatness, because your linen napkin will definitely earn its keep. The tender patty has an over-the-top 70-to-30 meat-to-fat ratio, but what sends it over the moon is a slice of seared pork belly. The duo pairs well with a sunny-side-up egg—sop up any runaway yolk with Folc’s excellent blanched-and-fried fingerling potatoes. 226 E. Olmos Dr, 210-822-0100. Tue–Sat 11–2:30 & 5:30–10, Sun 11–3.
Second Bar + Kitchen, Austin
You may need a wet wipe before it’s over, because this burger is monumentally juicy. The sumptuous blend of brisket and chuck comes nicely seasoned between a thatch of Gruyère and shallot confit. Making it extremely easy to customize are sides of leaf lettuce, tomatoes, and sweet pickles, not to mention two ramekins with sharp mustard and homemade ketchup. If you feel the need to branch out, add seared foie gras or pork belly (but, dear God, not both). Afterward, indulge in prime downtown people-watching from the terrace or the cacophonous dining room. 200 Congress Ave, 512-827-2750. Sun–Thur 11–11:30, Fri & Sat 11–1:30 a.m.
The Bearded Lady, Fort Worth
Where does lust begin? At the first glimpse of this lascivious creation, or upon sinking your teeth into it? Its half-pound hand-formed patty clocks in at 78-percent-lean Prime Angus chuck and comes studded with chopped roasted poblano and feta. Measuring three quarters of an inch thick, it’s topped with melted Gouda cheese, avocado, and caramelized onion tendrils. Extras come alongside: a fluffy green lettuce leaf; a sweet, firm tomato slice; and a spicy house-made sour pickle or two. L.U.S.T. is especially enjoyable if accompanied by a brew on tap—the twenties-era cottage and patio are home to the most popular craft beer bar in town. 1229 Seventh Ave, 817-349-9832. Tue–Sun 11–2 a.m.
Pimento Cheese Burger
$14 (includes fries)
Chef John Tesar constructs this all-sirloin steakhouse burger with fanatical attention to detail. He sears a six-ounce patty of 44 Farms beef to a rosy medium-rare on a griddle, then pumps it up with a tangle of sautéed red onions and a huge scoop of house-made, Tabasco-spiked pimento cheese. He tucks the whole gooey mess into a lightly toasted bun lined with a single leaf of Bibb lettuce. “The lettuce is a bib,” says Tesar. “It keeps the juices and grilled onions and cheese from soaking through.” The result tastes like the Fourth of July, a family reunion, and a summer picnic all rolled into one. The Highland Dallas hotel, 5300 E. Mockingbird Ln; 214-443-9339. Mon–Thur 11:30–2 & 5–11, Fri & Sat 11:30–2 & 5–midnight, Sun 11:15–2 & 5–10.
Philly Cheese Steak Burger
Original Hubcap Grill, Houston
There’s a special place in the hearts of burger fans for a juicy, char-y slab of ground beef topped with even more beef. Such is the case here, with owner Ricky Craig’s redoubtable hand-formed all-chuck patties smothered in a promiscuous pile of thin-sliced ribeye soaked in a savory mayo sauce with Swiss cheese, grilled onions, and bell peppers. Despite the high level of ooziness, the house-made buns form a sturdy platform for easy eating. 1111 Prairie, 713-223-5885. Mon–Sat 11–3. Multiple locations.