Twinkie, ramen, and Cronut buns. Pockets of deep-fried PBR. More bacon than Louie Anderson eats for second breakfast. 2013 was more than a slightly ridiculous year in the burger creation game, and we were there to greasily chronicle it all. While it was a torturous task, we picked out the 16 finest examples that hit the grill this year in order to help you satisfy your meat-lust needs.
Please resist the urge to squirt ketchup onto your computer. Unless it's a really old computer and you've been looking for an excuse to buy a new one -- in which case, do that.
Miami: The Ultimate Local's Guide
Most Likely to Wear Vans and Flannel and Ride a Bike with No Brakes: The Beerger PYT, Philadelphia Philly's PYT goes nuts all the time. For this, we got a patty, house-made pickles, and frozen PBR inside a deep-fried pretzel crisp-crusted wonton. Plus a dousing of mustard-dill aioli.
Most Likely to Make You Sing Its Praises: The Gallow's Pole Leadbelly, Chicago This one honors the resto's namesake blues singer with a house-ground beef & pork belly patty with caramelized mushrooms & onions, smashed potatoes, Swiss, and bearnaise sauce -- just like he ate every day in 1902.
Most Likely to Make You Wait on a Line in the Rain for Four Hours: The Ramen Burger Smorgasburg, New York This infamous noodle-bunned miracle made headlines this year thanks to a beef patty, sweet/savory sauce, and scallions. Oh, and a BUN MADE OF RAMEN.
Most Likely to Make You Cheat on T-Bell: The Supreme Nacho Burger Slater's 50/50, San Diego This is a taco-nacho-burrito-something on very American steroids. Taco-seasoned patty, cheddar, tomato, onion, black beans, salsa, guac, bacon, and tortilla chips, wrapped in a tortilla and deep-fried. Throw some cheese sauce, sour cream, and pickled jalapeños on top, and you're set to breathe into people's faces allllll afternoon.
Most Likely to Scold You for Not Doing Your Homework: The Mother of All Burgers B-52 Burgers & Brew, Minneapolis Four 1/2lb patties, four slices of cheese, four eggs, a 1/2lb of BBQ pulled pork, 12 pieces of bacon, and onion rings, stuffed into an Italian loaf. You won't be able to dance to fit in this resto's namesake after you eat it.
Best Cheese Overload, If That Existed, But It Doesn't: The Thrilled Cheese Burger Radio, Denver Created exclusively for you beautiful Thrillist readers, this thing is built between two grilled cheese sandwiches and includes two patties, two slices of American cheese, three bacon strips, and a big hunk of mac & cheese. This is not kosher, but it is very delicious.
Most Likely to Make Them Think About Never Discontinuing Twinkies Ever Again: The Twinkie Burger PYT, Philadelphia With yet another Franken-thang, PYT busted out a beef/pork belly patty topped with melted white American (the cheese, not Megyn Kelly) and bacon, sandwiched between two funnel cake-batter-coated deep-fried Twinkies.
Most Likely to Make Hitchcock Proud/Even More Dead: The P. Scary P. Terry's, Austin Four beef patties, two stacks of bacon, onions & jalapeños grilled in grease from the aforementioned bacon, four slices of cheese, mustard, and enigmatic special sauce. This burger can haunt our dreams whenever it wants.
Most Likely to Actually Be Bacon: The 'Merica Burger Slater's 50/50, San Diego Here we have an all-bacon patty, heaps of bacon, bacon cheddar, and a sunny-side-up egg, all within a pretzel-bacon bun covered in bacon island dressing. And yet, there's everyone in San Diego, walking around with no shirt on.
Most Likely to Make You Very Unfit for Sports: The Space Jam Burger Svante's Stuffed Burger, Austin Named after the beloved and not-ridiculous-at-all family film, this sucker is almost the size of an actual basketball and consists of a patty packed with jalapeño Havarti, which gets finished with bacon, arugula, roasted garlic aioli, and bacon-onion jam. No amount of belief will make you fly after ingesting this.
Best Burger Namesake: The Sword Kuma's Corner, Chicago Named for the Austin-based metal band, this burger will undoubtedly make you as heavy as the music -- featuring a patty, jalapeño aioli, cactus salsa, queso fresco, and a beer-battered tamale.
Most Reliable Burger: The Three Corners Larkburger Larkburger, Denver Shown at this year's Denver Burger Battle, a patty sits among bacon, crispy jalapeños, masa-crusted tomato, and Tillamook cheddar. Bacon and jalapeños seem to be the only things we can count on these days. Thanks, guys.
Best Non-Beef Burger: The Belly Goat Burger Louro, New York Shunning the classic beef patty in favor of goat that presumably also has never been to the ragu festival, it's topped with deep-fried pork belly, aged goat cheese, pickled red onions, and spiced tomato marmalade.
Most Pampered Beef Burger: The Unholy Mole Fischman's Wagyu Wagon, Chicago Marbled Wagyu beef patty, fried pork skins, poblano peppers, Cotija & Chihuahua cheeses, and a 17-ingredient spicy red mole sauce, which sounds like a lot of ingredients. This is that spoiled brat beef that gets massaged and fed beer.
Most Delicious Patty-Meat Combo: The Dryhop Burger Dryhop Brewers, Chicago A burger blended from brisket and short rib with chile-tomato jam, aged cheddar, arugula, pickled sweet onions, and smoked bacon (which is actually optional, but we know you'll do the right thing). Now go eat.
Rachel Freeman is a food/drink editorial assistant at Thrillist. She believes cheese is a basic human right, and one best pursued while alone in bed with Netflix. Follow her into the abyss at @rachelifreeman.