The 21 Best Burgers In Austin guide image


The 21 Best Burgers In Austin

The greatest burgers in Austin, according to us.

Sure, Austin might be one of the few cities in the world with access to the holy trinity of In-N-Out, Whataburger, and Shake Shack, but our diverse culinary background also means we have some incredible local burgers. Through some difficult research, many stains, and a few arguments over the ideal sauce to bun-size ratio, we did it—we tried them all (almost). From smoked brisket patties to griddled smashburgers, these are the best burgers in Austin.


LeRoy And Lewis Barbecue

There are a handful of spots in Austin making smoked burgers, but our favorite comes from LeRoy And Lewis. Maybe it’s the all brisket patty that’s thick and peppery with a juicy interior. Maybe it’s the springy potato roll, or the chopped grilled onions that add a little sweetness to each bite. Whatever it is, it’s worth waiting in one of Austin’s famous barbecue lines to get your hands on one.

The burgers here are about as classic as they come—with bacon, jalapeno, and mushroom swiss variations—but something about these perfectly seasoned patties and toasted white buns puts them among our favorites in town. The best part is that you never have to wait in a long line, spend a lot of money, or win some kind of raffle to eat one. Our go-to here is usually the mushroom swiss, but there’s no bad move. 

The menu at Dirty Martin’s is simple—burgers, patty melts, onion rings, and milkshakes. Sometimes, simple is better. This is one of those times. Keep it classic with a kumbak burger (the original option here, with or without cheese), or go with our personal favorite, the D.H. special—basically a double patty melt on Texas Toast. Whatever you do, save some room for a milkshake at the end for the full experience. 

The Best Barbecue Spots In Austin guide image

ATX Guide

The Best Barbecue Spots In Austin

All of the burgers here share the same basic format—a massive ¾ pound patty with toppings inspired by various cities across the country. So whether you find yourself taking down a Buffalo burger covered in spicy wing sauce and bleu cheese, or a Pitts burger that’s topped with Guinness and sherry sautéed mushrooms, the thing to remember is that the beef is the star of the show. The patty is incredibly thick, with a char-grilled crust and a pink center—and the arch-nemesis of the smashburger.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan of putting greens, or you don’t know the difference between a 9-iron and a tennis racket, Gimme Burger is all the reason you need to head to Butler Pitch & Putt off of Riverside Drive. Located in the food/drink/hangout area, the food truck’s menu is simple—burgers, hot dogs, french fries, and fried okra. The burger here is massive—with a juicy, double wagyu patty that’s been smashed hard for edge-to-edge crispiness, a couple slices of american cheese, and lots of mustard. And the heaping pile of fried okra you can get on the side makes for an excellent accompaniment.

Launderette’s burger is refreshingly simple—petite, with american cheese and thin pickles on a challah bun, this is one of the few burgers we can finish while still feeling like we just ate a light meal. One of the only items on both their brunch and dinner menus, you can get the burger at just about any hour that Launderette is open. Afterwards, grab a birthday cake ice cream sandwich to round out the whole experience.

A bowling alley might not be the first place you’d expect to find one of Austin’s best burgers, but we’re living in a time where the Fast & Furious franchise has hit double digits—wilder things have happened. The burgers at Lebowski’s Grill are, unsurprisingly, named after characters from the titular film. We’re fans of The Dude, with an Angus beef patty and all of the standard toppings, including both mustard and mayonnaise. It’s a super classic burger—no wildcards here—which is really all we want out of a bowling alley burger. 

The burger at Odd Duck somehow makes time stand still. At least that’s how you’ll feel when it gets put in front you. Don’t get too attached to it though, as the setup for their burger changes a few times a year. A recent iteration was sort of a riff on pickles and bacon—combining a grilled dry-aged wagyu patty with beer-battered pickled zucchini, chunky caramelized pork belly, and melty pimento cheese. The burger is big. It is a commitment, so much so we often see people splitting it in half and sharing it as their entree. 

The burger at Frazier’s is basically a McDonald’s cheeseburger that went to culinary school. Think smashed patties and steamed potato buns, plus all the usual fixings. It’s small enough that you can probably put down a couple, though we’d advise you to save some room for a side of frizzle fries—basically the lovechild of a curly fry and a potato wedge. And at just over $3 a burger, it’s hard not to find yourself wishing you were at Frazier’s instead of the drive-thru. 

It’s impossible to have a discussion about burgers in Austin without Dan's coming into the conversation. They’ve been a fixture in Austin for five decades. In that time, they’ve expanded to a few locations across town, alongside a series of stories about family drama (that led to the creation, and eventual closing, of Fran’s Hamburgers). All you really need to know is that they still make one of the best classic char-grilled burgers in town. We like the double meat, single cheese option best.

When the mood strikes for a burger, and we're even remotely close to The Domain, we’re heading straight to That Burger, a trailer parked near the Lone Star Court Hotel. Here, you basically tell them a country and they’ll bring you a burger inspired by its flavors. That means things like a Mexican burger topped with queso fresco, guacamole, and tortilla chips, or a German burger served with muenster cheese, sauerkraut, and a pretzel bun. But our favorite is probably the Argentinian burger, topped with grilled mushrooms and chimichurri. The one constant is the crispy, smashed beef patty (unless you sub in a Beyond meat patty).

The shoestring fries at Clark’s are incredibly divisive—they’re thin, impossible to eat, and it makes it feel like your burger is resting against a prickly haystack. But there’s very little debate about the quality of the burger at Clark’s. It’s incredibly thick—with a pan-roasted crust and a soft, warm center—and comes topped with a delightfully tangy gribiche sauce and gruyere cheese. It’s expensive for the size, but it’s worth ordering at least once in your life. Or just show up during Happy Hour on a weekday and grab one for half price. 

If you want the burger that you’ll still be telling your friends about five days from now, you’ll want to try the Yenta at JewBoy Burgers. It’s a burger with smashed patties and toasted potato buns that gets the addition of a crispy, fried potato latke. Afterwards, order a few more latkes to snack on while you relive the moment (we like the one with green chile and cheddar). 

The burgers at Delray Cafe behind Nickel City—technically considered “sliders”—feature mustard, onions, and pickles on a steamed bun with a thin patty. They’re simple, delicious, and just small enough that you can probably take down a couple before you even finish your first frosty pint of Coors Banquet. We like the double slider with cheese here, but sometimes we like to throw all rules out the window and go with the looseburger—a chopped up burger patty served in a hot dog bun, covered in chili. We’re not sure if that’s technically a burger still, but who really cares?

It’s not entirely surprising that a burger from a butcher shop/restaurant is great. But the burger at Dai Due exceeds even the highest of beefy expectations. It’s a mountainous, show-stopping affair, with two grilled patties made from dry-aged wagyu beef that’s ground with Dai Due’s bacon, dill pickles, and local cheddar cheese, all on a house-made sesame seed bun. The burger used to be only available on Wednesdays, but now you can get it every day (well, except for Mondays, when they’re closed).

Hold Out makes one of our favorite smashburgers in town. It’s made up of pretty simple ingredients—shredded lettuce, French’s mustard, american cheese—but the execution is what sets this apart from whatever burgers your friend is making on the grill in their backyard. Two super-thin patties (because you should be getting the double) manage to defy physics by being juicy and crispy at the same time, and a layer of comeback sauce adds a nice bit of tanginess.

Billy’s on Burnet has some pretty dedicated regulars. Some are here for the beer and others for the constant sports on TV, but the most loyal group comes for the burger. The Cobra burger (our favorite) with a ⅓ pound patty, cheddar cheese, crispy, curly bacon, grilled jalapenos, and chipotle mayo might be a little more expensive than you’d expect for a bar burger, but it’s spicy and savory and always worth it. But if you come during lunch Mondays through Fridays, all the  burgers are $2 off.

The burger at Salt & Time is made with the daily steak trimmings, so it’s going to taste just a little bit different every day. You know, if you needed an excuse to eat it two or three times per week, for research. It’s a pretty simple burger—a half-pound grilled beef patty with just mayonnaise and house pickles, on a squishy brioche bun. They don’t need to dress it up, since it’s essentially a showcase of the tremendous quality and flavor of the meat.

One of the best things about Buddy’s Burger is that they have a drive-thru. They’ve only been around for a couple of years, but Buddy’s has somehow cracked the code on delivering quality smashburger after smashburger, and fast. The 3oz patties are smashed thin, perfectly caramelized, yet somehow still juicy. The menu is simple: a single, single with american cheese, a double with cheese, or spicy with jalapenos and Monterey Jack. You can also get fries and hand-spun milkshakes, and that’s about it.

We’ve said some great things about the loaded fries and the fried chicken sandwich at Golden Tiger, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they put just as much time and effort into their burger. It comes as a double by default—our preferred arrangement for a smashburger—with shredded lettuce, pickles, red onions, american cheese, and dousing of special sauce over a couple of thin smashed patties. Everything works great together, and you can enjoy it all with an excellent cocktail from the bar at Whisler’s

You can get two different burgers at Moreno: a smoked one and a smashed one. And while the smoked burger is perfectly fine—it’s got just the right amount of smoke, and a thick patty—it’s the smashburger we find ourselves ordering. The patties are about as thin as they come, with a crispy exterior that keeps every bite savory and packed full of texture. It’s all served on a warm, toasted bun over a couple leaves of romaine lettuce that balances the whole thing out. 

Jack Allen’s Kitchen serves comfort food like barbacoa stackers, green chile pork tacos, chicken fried chicken, and some truly excellent burgers. There are a few variations, but the one we always go back to is the green chile cheeseburger that combines a healthy amount of chiles, melted Monterey jack cheese, dill pickles, and a spicy jalapeno mayo. With a toasted bun and a charred grilled patty, the burger is spicy, smokey, and sweet, all at the same time.

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photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The 21 Best Burgers In Austin guide image