Although the burger might have roots in Germany, not many other foods can be considered more American.
Some folks prefer it as 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 an intensely savory 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.
One of the lesser-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.
Keep up with Amigos Burgers & Beer on Facebook.
The new 19th Hole burger ($22 with a side) might not look like much, but hits a hole-in-one with wagyu beef, aged cheddar, tomato jam, black truffle aioli, crispy onion, and pecanwood bacon. The ingredients are all fabulously fresh and the technique is impeccable, so beauty shines through with their simplicity. The onions and truffle aioli add the extra little oomph.
Also, spend an extra $6 for their Black Diamond Mac & Cheese, easily one of the best in town.
For more information, visit ritzcarlton.com.
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 became such a hit, it made its way onto the brunch menu of sister restaurant Prep & Pastry as the Commoner's Burger.
Note: Commoner is currently closed for renovations and should be back open in a month or so.
For more information, visit commonertucson.com.
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 via toppings such as the Señor Smoke with ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro, and sriracha mayo.
Also, don't miss out on the exceptional monthly burger specials.
For more information, visit diabloburger.com.
The Funny Farm Hand features an eccentric blend of creamy peanut butter, jalapeño raspberry jam, candied bacon, sweet hot pickles, and white cheddar. The brisket, chuck, and short rib beef blend also makes for one of the best patties in town.
For more information, visit divinebovineburgers.com.
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. While the torta bun is also unconventional, it works with the right balance of softness and sturdiness.
Bonus tip: go during happy hour to get the posh burger for only $10.
For more information, visit downtownkitchen.com.
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.
For more information, visit ermanosbrew.com.
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 with Belgian technique. For table service and additional options, check out sister restaurant Truland Burgers & Greens.
For more information, visit grazepremiumburgers.com.
The namesake Hub Burger features melted Swiss cheese, house-made pastrami, and coleslaw. Even though pastrami might seem redundant beef, don't think of it that way; instead, think of it as beef bacon.
For more information, visit hubdowntown.com.
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.
For more information, visit mulliganstucson.com.
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.
For more information, visit theparishtucson.com.
A hidden neighborhood classic, Red Garter has earned a devout following for its half-pound burgers. The namesake Red Garter Burger is the staple, but try Scotty's Black & Blue Bacon Burger with blackened spices, blue cheese, and bacon.
For more information, visit redgartertucson.com.
What's your pick for the best burgers in Tucson? Let us know in the comments.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...