Sunday, July 26, 2009

Otto's Barbecue, or The Gut Bomb

Today we ventured inside the loop, originally planning on stopping off at Christian's Tailgate, but upon realizing they were closed on Sunday, we headed straight for the nearby Otto's Barbecue. It is located on 5502 Memorial Dr in the 77007. Check the map.

There was a lot of anticipation in going to Otto's. While working a contract job a few weeks ago I was told a story about Otto's serving up a burger called the Gut Bomb. It was described as Otto's special burger, which was two patties, two slices of cheese, a fat glob of chili and a solid half of an onion, diced, all between two griddle toasted patties. The legend stated that it came wrapped in three pieces of wax paper because it ate through the first two pieces and that even once you unwrapped it the only real way to consume it without looking like a toddler in front of his first bowl of spaghetti is to eat it with a fork. The record for containing the sheer kinetic force of the gut bomb? Two hours. Legen-wait for it-dary.

We walk into the restaurant and it is a total dive. It's definitely the kind of place where cleanliness only means up to code. Cool with us, it gives a place character, and we firmly believe that when we find the best burger in the city it could very well come out of the trunk of a burnt out automobile. We walked up to the counter and were greeted by an incredibly cool old guy that promptly offered up a chili burger that would "take care of ya ass" when he heard us discussing it. The reply? Bring it on.

None of us knew exactly what was going to come out of that kitchen, but our number was called and today's case was revealed to be an amazing pile of what would make some men beg for more and others turn away in disgust. Because we were eating in the restaurant, it didn't come out wrapped in three pieces of wax paper, it came on a plate, which differed from every other burger we were served. It also came with a fork. This would also prove to be essential.

The burgers all turned out to be fantastic. They came off of a griddle, so none of the juices or grease had the chance to escape. The flavor was rich and almost overwhelming to the palate, just like most greaseburgers tend to be when they haven't had a chance to bleed out. All of us finished our burgers with puddles in the bottoms of our basket as the only sign that food once occupied the area. Veggies were cold and crisp, with the exception of the mushrooms, which were obviously taken out of a jar and thrown on the griddle. Diet Coke was ice cold. Appetites were satisfied.

The burgers were all served with a side of crinkle fries. Thinking about it, it has been years since I can remember being in a place that served them up. Historically I've hated them simply because I always seemed to get a batch of them that were soggy and flavorless. Otto's was different. He fried the hell out his potatoes. They were really crispy. They didn't come out seasoned but a salt shaker at the table took care of what had been left undone. The onion rings were, simply put, badass. They were in a slightly sweet batter that really lent flavor to the onion within. Everyone should order them. Every time.

So, was the entire Gut Bomb finished? Yes. Once again, Nick stepped up to the plate and slayed the beast. Did it live up to it's legend? Yes and no. There was one dissapointing fact about the burger. The chili was simply wolf brand chili, which is definitely a let down, although it is still delicious. You just can't sneak canned chili by a man here in the South. We still agreed it was a monster of a burger, and it even managed to live up to it's digestive legend, although details will not be discussed.

We all walked out of Otto's completely satisfied. On another great note, the price is stellar. You can go to Otto's for the same cost of going to Burger King. I'd probably hurt myself at this place if it was much closer to my house. How does it rank among the places we've been so far? It's up there with the best, although we agreed that we'd probably go to Backyard Grill again first. What should you take away from this? You need to get yourself to Otto's and get yourself a greaseburger.


  1. Stumbled here via Tammy Rohrer's FB wall. Five Guys (I-10/opp. Memorial City) gets my vote! Cajun fries...mmm...