It’s surprising that more of Miami’s best barbecue joints haven’t figured out what Mel Rodriguez has: Take the scraps of your slow-smoked meats, grind them up, and put them in a burger patty to end up with something pretty spectacular. La Traila’s burgers are like eating a perfectly-formed prime brisket platter, which is then cleverly topped with pulled pork, swiss, and pickles for the Bar-b-Cuban. Or kept deliciously simple with provolone and onions.
How to book: Stop in for first-come, first-served service or order online
In the Midwest, burgers are just built a little different. Which is why something like the Juicy Lucy—two thin patties pressed together and filled with molten pimento cheese–could only come from the heartland. And though Whitman’s originated in NYC its burger stays true to its Minnesota roots, packing a punch of flavors without feeling insurmountable. The melted pimento center is obviously the star of the show, but the rest of the burger is well balanced with the normal savory burger toppings, as well as sweet grilled onions and a sesame seed bun for texture.
How to book: Stop in for first-come, first served service or order online
Swanky Bal Harbour isn’t necessarily where one would expect to find offerings as un-glamorous as a hamburger. Especially not tucked into the back of the over-the-top St. Regis. But BH Burger Bar is an upscale hidden gem, where you can slide into a red vinyl booth and enjoy decadent stuff like the Frenchie, filled with bacon, truffle aioli, Comte cheese, pickled shallots, caramelized onions, and roasted tomatoes in a butter brioche bun—if your heart wasn’t already hurting. Or opt for the Foie Gras burger, if that first one just wasn’t Bal Harbour enough for you.
How to book: Stop in for first-come, first-served seating
This beefy D.C. standout set up right on the riverfront in downtown Lauderdale, an easy walk from the Brightline station if you’re up for a train-and-burger adventure. It’s worth the trip, with hearty Angus patties dominating a menu of unusual creations. For big appetites, go for the peppercorn steakhouse burger, where gruyere, fried onion straws, and sauteed mushrooms set off a generous spread of Tellicherry peppercorn mayo. Pair it with any of Big Bun’s epic shakes, and slip into a food coma on your train ride home.
How to order: Stop in for first-come, first-served service or order online
Between your green cup-collecting frenzy and late night garlic roll binges, you may have forgotten that this South Florida stalwart still cranks out one of the straight-up best burgers in the city. The legendary Bahama burger is nothing fancy, just some flame-broiled meat topped with lettuce, tomato, and a pickle on a Kaiser roll. But ask burger-loving locals where they go when they’re in the mood, and more than a few will inevitably admit that Flanigan’s dishes up much more than nostalgia.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out online.
Success is all about setting expectations—and as soon as you walk into this license plate-lined waterside shack, you know you're going to be there a while. That’s what happens when your sizable sirloin patty gets called out by GQ, Oprah, and other esteemed publications as one of the very best in America. But nobody minds the wait at Le Tub, because sipping cold beer by the water in anticipation of a signature burger that also exceeds expectations is never short of satisfying.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.