The Midwest's Best Burgers
Burger report card
We rated every one with these goals in mind.
Take a look. When your burger arrives, how does it look? 1 looks like a fast- food burger; 10 is photo-shoot worthy.
Taste it. Take a few bites. Tell us, how would you rate the quality of the meat? What kind of patty is it?
Judge doneness. Was your burger cooked properly? Does it come cooked-to-order, or is it one-way only?
Gauge the heat. How hot is it? 1 is "Did they cook this yesterday?" and 10 is "This baby just came off the coals."
Rate the bread. How do you score the bun? 1 is a kid's fast-food burger; 10 is homemade artisanal goodness.
Top it off. What comes on your special burger? How would you rate the quality of the toppings?
Consider cost. Rate the value. 1 is "I can't believe I just paid $10 for this"; 10 is "I would pay $15.95 for this anytime."
Have some perspective. How does this specialty burger stand out from burgers you've had in the past?
The final tally We asked our writers to look at all of the categories and to give a final rating. Only burgers with 9.5 and higher made our top list.
Pictured: Simple burgers satisfy at Django in Des Moines.
(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® May/June 2012.)