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How Good Is Whataburger, Anyway?

We put Texas’s favorite burger in a blind taste test.

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There’s no doubt that Texans love their Whataburgers, but we wondered how Harmon Dobson’s creation would stack up against other popular chains nearly seventy years after he flipped his first patty.

So in a highly unscientific blind taste test, we invited eleven randomly selected Texas Monthly staff members to rank from one to five the basic cheeseburgers from Five Guys, In-N-Out Burger, Shake Shack, Smashburger, and Whataburger. Only after the voting ended did the eaters find out which burger was which. Below are the final scores and some notable comments.

Photograph by The Voorhes
Photograph by The Voorhes

1. Whataburger

Total score: 46/55
First-place votes: 5
One-liner: “I love you.”

2. Smashburger

Total score: 42/55
First-place votes: 4
One-liner: “That bun is butter-kissed.”

3. Shake Shack

Total score: 41/55
First-place votes: 2
One-liner: “Okay bun-to-patty ratio.”

4. In-N-Out Burger

Total score: 19/55
Last-place votes: 5
One-liner: “I do see a little pink on my tiny, tiny patty.”

5. Five Guys

Total score: 17/55
Last-place votes: 6
One-liner: “Not worth the calories, but I’d still eat it.”

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  • TexasEx96

    I was disappointed that there was no Mighty Fine burgers in the blind taste test.

    • TexMarine

      Because there aren’t mighty fine chains throughout Texas.

  • jeffty63

    I think a more equitable comparison would be an In-N-Out Double Double vs. the other meaty challengers. That being said I would enjoy each and every one of those mighty morsels.

  • quash8

    If it was a blind taste test why did a tester remark on the color of the patty?

    • Bob

      A blind taste test is one where the subjects aren’t told which variety they are tasting, and thus is less biased than one where e.g., there are signs indicating which burger is from which restaurant. It has nothing to do with visual blindness. A classic example is the Pepsi challenge.

      • quash8

        No doubt. But any Texan can look at a burger and recognize a Whataburger over the others presented.

  • Wurty

    I’m shocked Five Guys came in last! Never had a Smashburger. Is that a Texas chain? Inandout burgers are awesome to! Texas Monthly staff member are extremely prejudiced

    • Annieyo

      The times I’ve had Five Guys burgers, I wasn’t impressed. I loved their fries, but the burgers were just meh.

  • $X$Whipster

    You left out Short Stop in Austin, probably No. 2 or No. 1.

    • Watcho

      Username checks out.

    • TexMarine

      That would be a different catagory or small, regional chains….and it would never be settled. #DairyEtteDallas

  • Randy Smiggles

    Anyone remember the departed and dearly lamented Char-King or Brittany restaurants in Lubbock? They would have beaten Whataburger.

    • Jay Joiner

      And Lot-a-Burger. Carnation too.

      • Randy Smiggles

        I’m not sure I ever had a burger there, but I had my first banana split ever when I was 6 years old from the Carnation on Ave Q in Lubbock. I don’t remember Lot-a-Burger. But Hocus-Pocus on 50th St. was pretty good too.

    • Suzanne Carmichael Ortiz

      Loved Char Burger! They were affordable and tasty for poor students.

    • Psychomom

      Brittany was amazing! They also had the best onion rings and as a young kid, I loved being able to place my order with the telephones that were at the table.

      • Randy Smiggles

        The telephones were neat. The onion rings, if I remember correctly, were cut thin with a thin greasy batter coating. They were good. But I preferred the ones at Gardski’s Loft-large rings of onion with a beer batter coating. As an aside, Mike, the guy who used to own the Brittany, had some kind of group or was a member of some Lubbock based group on Facebook a few years back talking about bringing the Brittany back. He might still be on there.

        • Psychomom

          I did like Gardski’s onion rings, but at that point in time the best was the little restaurant lodge in the alley off of Broadway and University, near Varsity Book Store when it was there. It had onion rings that were the best. People went there just for the onion rings. I believe it was Hard Rock Cafe before it became the restaurant I am referencing. Perhaps it was called Mesquite’s. I am not remembering the name.

          Bringing the Brittany back would be fantastic. I still think their hickory sauce beat so many in business today.

          • Randy Smiggles

            I’m pretty sure the alleyway restaurant was Mesquites. I don’t ever remember eating there though.

  • Suzanne Carmichael Ortiz

    Suzyazul

  • Tom Swinburn

    Burger King should have been in the mix. They’d have been beat too, but not as badly as some of the others.

  • Kevin Patrick

    Dairy Queen? Braum’s? If we’re going to do this, it needs to be done right.

    • Randy Smiggles

      Why is almost every Braum’s I go to in the Dallas area filthy?

      • TexMarine

        It’s practically everywhere. I stopped in one off of 35 in Oklahoma that I felt compelled to take pictures and call the health department.

      • Dale Brimer

        best Braum;s in all of DFW is next to the UTD campus in Richardson. It is clean and modern looking.

    • Dale Brimer

      best Dairy Queen is in Frisco, across the street from Wal-mart on Preston Road

  • Kozmo

    All crap to me. You won’t find me eating at any of these places. More for the rest of you, right?

  • Darrin Spradley

    The In and Out burger… kind of meh.

  • GoingBackToCali

    Ummmm, you really didnt include SONIC?????

    • TexMarine

      We’ve only got room for one California chain.

  • David K

    This makes me miss Whataburger all the more as I can get 3 out of the 5 options listed in the Chicagoland area where I live now, but not Whatburger (or In-N-Out, but that is almost a given).

  • Todd Olsen

    Miss Goff’s Hamburgers, but hear they’re rebuilding after the fire! http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Restaurant-on-Fire-in-University-Park-390008022.html