Greetings Foodtopia and burger fans!! If you’re anything like us here at Eating Asheville, you know that when you’ve got a burger craving, simply nothing else will do. Luckily for us, the Asheville burger scene is thriving and our town is filled to the brim with delicious choices as well as wallet-easy burger deals. The only problem now? Figuring out which one to choose! The good news for us is that we’ve got knowledgable local publications such as The Citizen-Times who are in the burger-know, and can help us narrow down the best places in Asheville to get your burger fix!!
Asheville best burger-and-pint deals
There’s a science to a good burger.
Among other considerations for the proper patty is the Maillard reaction, which happens when meat meets high heat in a way that causes surface proteins to react with sugars. The result is a flavorful, dark crust.
Conventional wisdom has it that you never smash a burger, but Casey McKissick, owner of Foothills Meats, has long asserted that given a patty a good whack is the best route to maximum flavor since it increases the contact area between the flattop and meat.
“Contrary to popular belief, you can smash a burger on the grill if you know how to do it right,” said McKissick, who adds that Foothills burgers hit the griddle while the meat’s still cold, and get smashed before the fat’s had enough chance to liquefy. “That way it still stays nice and juicy even when it’s fully cooked.”
That’s certainly the story at McKissick’s bright and shiny new food truck, which serves as the house restaurant for Hi-Wire Brewing’s Big Top facility in South Asheville. You can try that burger with a pint of Hi-Wire beer for $10 on Monday nights, a special that’s become a big draw.
Even in vegetarian-friendly Asheville, burgers are serious business. And with an abundance of breweries and more local farms than you can shake a steer’s horn at, it’s no wonder burger-and-pint nights can be found in multiple venues.
You can find a similar deal Sundays at Copper Crown. Or Mondays at Storm Rhum Bar. At Ambrozia, Tuesday burger and pint nights have become so popular that they’ve been a major factor in owner Sam Etheridge’s decision to add a second dining room. “Burger night is so packed that we definitely needed more space,” he said.
“I can’t imagine we’d be nearly as busy in Tuesdays without it,” Etheridge noted.
But there’s just something to be said for serving something with such wide appeal. Hi-Wire co-owner Chris Frosaker said offering burger and pint night at the brewery has been a big boon for business. “Monday night, pre-burger night at this taproom, was our slowest night period, and it’s not any more.”
Made from house-ground Apple Brandy and Brasstown Beef, McKissick’s burgers have a higher fat content than many you’ll come across. Foothills serves a classic burger with big beefy flavor and no bells and whistles beyond the provenance of the meat.
“It should remind you of a burger that you had as a child, maybe on the way to the beach somewhere that you’ve always yearned for,” McKissick said. “But then what we’ve done is bring in that great beef supplier. It’s nostalgia, and that’s what we like to do with a lot of our food.”
The burger takes two patties, cooked hot and fast and layered with Green River Picklers dill pickles. Then comes Duke’s mayo, good old American cheese and yellow mustard, all served on a slightly sweet bun griddled in house-made beef tallow butter. A side of fries also takes a turn in beef tallow.
“It’s a good use of the whole animal,” McKissick said.
Beef is a top consideration at Buffalo Nickel too, where new Executive Chef John Bausone took charge of the kitchen in late August, revamping the menu and adding some of his own flavor. Among the dishes into which he injected new life is the house burger, served with a pint and fries for $10 on Sunday nights.
Grass-fed, grain-finished and dry-aged Southeast Family Farms beef results in distinct flavor, Bausone said. Lending to a unique flavor profile are house-made touches like the onion jam, ketchup and pickles.
Those details are key, Bausone said. A good burger can serve as a barometer by which to gauge a restaurant. It bodes well if a kitchen goes out of its way to fine tune a burger, something so ubiquitous it practically sells itself. “If they have a good burger, other things on the menu are probably worth trying,” he said.
Get a taste
A burger and pint for (almost) every night, plus a couple of burger specials:
Copper Crown, 1011 E. Tunnel Road: $1 off draft pints and burgers.
Grey Eagle Taqueria, 185 Clingman Ave.: $10 Chorizo burger with fries and a pint, $10.
Buffalo Nickel, 747 Haywood Road: $10 burgers, fries and a pint.
Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro, 125 S Lexington Ave.: $10 Apple Brandy Beef burger, fries and pint.
Foothills food truck at Hi-Wire Big Top, 2 Huntsman Place: $10 Double-patty burger, fries and a pint of Hi-Wire brew.
Bull & Beggar, 37 Paynes Way: Get an off-menu double cheeseburger for $9.99 starting at 5 p.m.
Ambrozia, 1020 Merrimon Ave.: Half-pint local brew, pimento cheese and onion jam-topped burger, $10.
Kitchen 743 at Isis Music Hall and Restaurant, 743 Haywood Road: Buy a brew or other adult beverage and get the restaurant’s award-winning bacon cheddar burger on a house-made bun for $10.
Original and full story available here! And, if a burger at one of these fine local establishments only leaves you wanting more, we’ve got the perfect solution! On our walking food tours you’ll have the opportunity to visit a few of these places as well many other local favorites!! More information and tickets available at our website: www.eatingasheville.com.