My son-in-law, who grew up in California, can barely get off the plane before stopping at In-N-Out for the kind of luscious burger he claims he can't get even close to out here in beef country. He's even got t-shirts, multiples. I've tried those burgers and they're good; but I think he and the rest of the In-N-Out mob are just cultists.
I haven't had a Big Mac for a long, long time. But for years I've loved 'em. I guess I just don't do the McDonalds thing much anymore, except when I'm on the road and really need fast food. Then, I get snack wraps. Still, I like Big Macs. I doubt they've changed. I could stop today and pick one up--no problem.
No matter. In a poll just now conducted by Consumer Reports, McDonalds burgers ended up on the trash heap--seriously, dead last. In-and-Out, by the way, was waaaaaaaaaay up there, but in second place. Sorry, son, but your burger got bested. (That'll have him in a rant for the rest of the day.)
There are times when I'll pick up a Whopper from Burger King because I'm in the mood for what seems the closest I can come to a Subway/hamburger combo. I like Whoppers. Always did. They're like taking a bite out of the garden. Just don't eat 'em without a bib.
Outside my window, through our backyard and over the soybean field, all the way to the other side of the river, there's enough beef on the hoof to keep us in steaks and burgers for the rest of our lives--Angus, too, or so it looks to me, a dozen or so left to pasture on the river bank. What we see out our window is landscape; those beefy black cattle out there for the last week have turned it into a sweet still life.
This is beef country. Well, this is pork country too. And we do very well with dairy, as long as I'm on a roll. Not bad lately with chickens and eggs either--which came first I don't know. Ag is big business here, keeps the merchants and non-profits cheerful, the fields military-straight, and puts new houses up all over the section. Ethanol doesn't hurt either, of course. We're doing well.
There are nay-sayers, of course, those who claim that too blasted much of this region's blessed rich topsoil is given to beef cattle to satisfy the world's deplorable burger habit. They're probably right, but who wants to take on the financial titans, right?
I confess. I love a burger--Whoppers, Macs, and even the ones served up from the new kid on the block, Culver's, a place close to my heart because it's headquartered in the land of the cheeseheads. Culver's call theirs "the Butterburger" because if you want a real Badger state burger or brat (we invented brats, by the way; once upon a time they all came from Johnsonville), you bathe a hard roll in butter before slapping on the patty. Try 'em--Culver's Butterburgers--one word.
Top of the heap, you ask? What burger is really King and not just a trade name? Consumer Reports asked their subscribers, and they said it belonged to yet another California chain--The Habit Burger Grill. Never heard of it. Never had one. But next time I'm in the state with the bear on the flag, I'll stop. Count on it. Looks like this.
Sheesh. It's now just after six in the morning. I confess--if I had one here beside me in the basement, it soon wouldn't be, despite what it might do to my stomach this early.
HOWEVER, my favorite--think no ill of me!--is our own. They're not for sale. I got a grill I don't take good care of. It's ancient and so greasy it's off limits to public viewing. We've got wholesome beef from a local farmer whose business isn't business. When I slap one of our own on a wheat bun from the Dutch Bakery downtown, southern Cal's pride-and-joy gets shuffled to the back of the bus, although on a good day I still might swap for a Sheboygan County double brat (but only on a hard roll).
So, Consumer Reports, that's my two cents worth, straight from the heartland, from a place as likely as any to be called hog heaven. Bottom line or top of the heap--I like mine best.