Today's burger stop? The Backyard Grill on Jones Rd, which is on the NW side of town.This restaurant was not new to me, although my partner in crime had never been. Whenever I have been to the BYG in the past, I have generally opted for a burger and today was no exception. They have a gigantic menu. Their burger options alone total eleven, two of them being full-on eating challenges. Click the thumbnail of the menu to get a full rundown of all their options. I opted for the MOAB (Mother of All Burgers) with a Saint Arnold's Lawnmower and Nick threw down on the Big Daddy, which is basically a double MOAB and is also an eating challege that gets your name and picture enshrined on the wall of the restaurant. Since it was an eating challenge, he stuck with water. The third in our party ordered a mushroom swiss burger and a Diet Coke.
While waiting for the burgers, I took a few minutes to point out some cool things to notice about the restaurants decor. We had chosen to sit on the patio, but inside they have an elephantine tree, obviously fake, sprouting up in the middle of the place that literally spans out across the entire restaurant, which I think is one of the best decorations I've seen in almost any restaurant in the city. On the big patio outside they have all kinds of decorated fenceposts on the cover over the patio. I think just about anyone can make one up and bring it in, some were as new as when Hurricane Ike came through.
Time to eat, we went early and beat the rush, so the burgers, cooked exactly as we ordered them, showed up very quickly. Rather than focus on the MOAB burger that I ordered, we will simply focus on the Big Daddy, which is twice the burger that the MOAB will ever be. The monstosity on the left is the challenge before Nick. Two 1/2 pound patties, lettuce, pickles, onions, grilled jalepenos, 2 slices of american and two slices of swiss cheese, 4 full strips of bacon cut into halves, a pile of mushrooms, mustard, and a sesame seed bun were all that stood between Nick and permanent real estate on the wall of the restaurant. Then to make things even more fun, he was informed that he had to eat all of the fries too.
The burger is damn near the pinnacle of what we hope to keep finding on our search for the perfect burger. It was incredibly juicy, the Big Daddy even had enough of it's juices left in it that it ran down the arms all the way to the elbows. Even better? It was cooked on an open grill, and not a big grease-happy griddle. Simply put, it was all the best of the greasy skillet burger and all the flavor of what smelled and tasted like an incredibly well-seasoned mesquite wood burning grill.
With all the bacon, mushrooms, jalepenos and other good stuff thrown on our burgers we had a very hard time trying to pin down what the meat was seasoned in, but as good as it was, we didn't really feel it was too important to try and figure it out, especially since the juices were quickly eating through the bottom half of our hamburger buns.
Backyard Grill offers two kinds of french fries. Take my word for it, the only thing you ever want to get are the seasoned fries. They are, simply put, awesome. Their fries are very light and fluffy on the inside while still very crispy and satisfying when you bite into them. French fried perfection.
My burger didn't last long, and neither did the mushroom swiss. It was a very quiet meal. Rather than have any kind of dialogue about what we were eating we spent all of our time chewing and listening to old country music that they were playing over the sound system on the patio. When two of us were finished, it came time to watch Nick attempt to conquer the mountain of food that had been placed before him. The burger went down without hesitation, but the fries were becoming more and more of a battle as each was downed. Making things worse were that the later fries were soaking up all kinds of delicious burger juice left in the basket, and were getting very heavy. Not all the taunting in the world would convince Nick to give up though, and in the end, only one man was left standing:
Burgers complete, we all quickly agreed that this is the exact kind of burger that we are looking for in our quest for the best burger in Houston. We still have a ton of stops to make, but The Backyard Grill sets a damn good benchmark for what a burger should be like. Check their location on the burger map on the top right of the website and give them a shot. They do all kinds of events for kids during the week and they also keep a full bar if you feel like tossing a few back with your meal. Check out The Backyard Grill's website if you want more information about them.