Although the burger might have roots in Germany, not many other foods can be considered more American.
Some folks prefer it simple as a cheeseburger, while others push boundaries with toppings.
Individual components vary widely as well. Some people prefer a thick medium-rare patty for extra juiciness, while others go for the thin, smashed patty for a more intense crust. Buns can be soft brioche, sesame, or potato, or more substantial with an English muffin.
Regardless of your preference, Tucson offers a wide variety of well-executed burgers at various price points. Without further ado, below are our picks for the best burgers in Tucson. For 2017.
Best Burgers in Tucson 2017
Amigo Burger at Amigos Burgers & Beer
6372 S. Nogales Hwy.
Amigo Burger at Amigos Burgers & Beer (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)
One of the less known options in town, Amigos offers beastly burgers. Although burgers are cooked medium unless otherwise requested, they can easily accommodate medium-rare. The eponymous Amigo Burger is topped with sliced avocado, pepper jack cheese, bacon, and smoky chipotle mayo. The spicy ketchup for the fries is a welcome addition.
The Suit skips any gimmicks and simply nails the execution of every element in a classic cheeseburger. A house-made sesame bun sandwiches two beef patties, American cheese, horseradish pickles, thick-cut bacon, shaved yellow onion, and dijonnaise. The layer of dijonnaise helps prevent the bottom bun from absorbing too much juice and falling apart, but the flecks of mustard seed also provide a welcome zing. The thinly shaved onion provides just enough onion flavor with none of the harsh onion bite. This burger has become such a hit, it just made its way onto the menu of sister restaurant Prep & Pastry as the Commoner’s Burger. True best burgers in Tucson material, for sure.
The Coronet Burger at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)
What might be on a secret hamburger menu that might exist, this version of the Coronet Burger features a sous-vide and grilled prime Black Angus beef patty, roasted poblano peppers and mushrooms, queso Oaxaca, and sweet corn mayo with a side of seasoned russet steak fries. While sous vide sounds like overkill for a burger, it really does provide some of the juiciest results. The poblanos provide a distinctive southwestern flavor profile without the more commonly used guacamole. You won’t miss the guac.
Señor Smoke from Diablo Burger in Tucson (Credit: Adam Lehrman)
Diablo Burger dismisses the commonly-utilized 80% lean beef rule in favor of higher quality, local, and grass-fed ~95% lean beef from their trust ranches, cooked medium-rare. The thicker patties sit on sturdier English muffins rather than soft buns. While they manage to create such a juicy burger with such lean beef, you can add richness back via toppings such as the Señor Smoke with ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro, and sriracha mayo.
Downtown Burger at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)
One of the most unorthodox of the best burgers in Tucson, the Downtown Burger off the bar menu features a flavor bomb of mushrooms, smoked poblanos, manchego, bacon, caramelized onions on a griddled torta bun. Beef is mixed with foie gras for the patty for a luxurious richness. The torta bun is also unconventional, but works with the right balance of softness and sturdiness. Bonus tip: go during happy hour to get the posh burger with fries for only $10.
Bleu Cheese Brunch Burger at The Dutch Eatery & Refuge
943 E. University Blvd.
Bleu Cheese Brunch Burger at the Dutch Eatery & Refuge (Credit: Jackie Tran)
An egg yolk is almost cheating, since it enhances everything. Same with bacon. And caramelized onions. Blue cheese and arugula, sometimes. On the half-pound Bleu Cheese Brunch Burger however, these ingredients provide an intensely savory and rich range of textures and flavors.
Blimpy Burger at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit Jackie Tran)
Night owls can still enjoy their eggs via the Blimpy Burger on Ermanos’ late night menu. A brioche bun is topped with a seven-ounce Angus beef patty, fried egg, house cured bacon, cheddar, avocado, tomato jam, and Merchant’s Garden Bibb lettuce. The extra-thick bacon retains a braised pork belly type of softness that provides a luscious sensation suitable for the night. Out of all the best burgers in Tucson, this one walks a fine line between being topped with actual bacon. It’s more like a slab of pork belly. Same difference, but, you get it.
Burger, fries, and milkshake at Graze Premium Burgers (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)
For a fast food experience and price point from a local establishment, check out Graze. While the menu isn’t packed with crazy combinations, Graze gives you the power to concoct your own burger with a wide list of toppings — the grilled jalapeños are an option harder to find elsewhere. The patties are thin with a nice sear, while the lettuce and veggies always taste fresh. The fries are made with Kennebec potatoes, the variety used at In-N-Out Burger, but Graze cooks them more properly with Belgian technique. For table service and additional options, check out sister restaurant Truland Burgers & Greens.
Out of all of the best burgers in Tucson, Lindy’s has been a Tucson burger staple for years, but recently upgraded their burgers and also relocated to a larger location down the street. The Blue Suede Cow is the Reese’s of burgers — while there’s no chocolate, the peanut butter is a game changer on burgers. The photo above is a hybrid of the Kush and the Velvet Hammer burgers, which include raspberry preserves, green chiles, bleu cheese crumbles, bacon, a fried egg, and more.
Sonora Burger at Monkey Burger (Credit: Justin Haugen Photography)
If you like guacamole and bacon, don’t resist the Sonora Burger with diced bacon, Oaxaca cheese, shredded cabbage, and avocado salsa. The accompanying house chips are simple and satisfyingly potato-y, but feel free to upgrade to the splendid sweet potato waffle fries.
Cowboy Burger at Mulligan’s Food Sports Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)
CJ Hamm, also executive chef at Saguaro Corners, has spiced up the Mulligan’s menu just a touch. The Cowboy Burger features a half-pound Angus chuck patty cooked to your preferred temperature, Pepper Jack cheese, thick hickory center cut bacon, crispy onion rings, and “Daytona” sauce, a combination of tangy barbecue sauce and Buffalo wing sauce. The brioche bun is from Viro’s Bakery.
The Zumba is the most popular option. Mushrooms and grilled onions add savory depth, while Thousand Island dressing provides a profile similar to an animal-style burger from In-N-Out Burger. You’ll need a nap after this one.
The Parish Burger at the Parish (Credit: The Parish)
Although the Parish Burger is available all day, it’s worth treasuring as one of the few items available on the late night menu. The combination of blue cheese, bacon, sweet and savory red onion marmalade, and Dijon mustard on a kaiser roll provides intense savory, salty, and sweet with a kick.
Big Boy Burger at Pasco Kitchen & Lounge (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Burgers that are too big to fit in your mouth can be a pain in the hiney, but Pasco’s Big Boy Burger makes it on to the best burgers in Tucson list with a grass-fed beef patty, 12-hour braised pork belly, fried egg, aioli, house-made hollandaise, Oaxaca cheese, spring mix, Arizona tomato, and red onion on a brioche bun. It’s difficult to eat the burger without looking like you belong in one of the salacious Carl’s Jr. commercials, but it’s worth it.
Jack of All Trades Burger at Serial Grillers (Credit: Jackie Tran)
The Jack Of All Trades is a kitchen sink of burgers with bacon, chipotle mayo, guacamole, French fries, and three-pepper Colby Jack cheese. The various textures and flavors create an ultimately satisfying burger in a laid back environment with an impressive beer tap list.
Zinburger from Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar (Credit: Fox Restaurant Concepts)
“Less is more” is a beautiful philosophy when executed with consistent quality. The eponymous Zinburger features a flattop-seared Angus patty with manchego cheese, Zinfandel braised onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise.
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