Jackson Hole boasts burger chops. Using the trimmings from their prime steaks, many Teton chefs create rich, flavorful patties. Their creativity doesn’t stop there: whether grinding bacon into the meat or layering the bun with fried pickles, Teton chefs have achieved art in a bun.
Stiegler’s Austrian Restaurant – $17
Since 1983, Austrian chef Peter Stiegler has been using trimmings from his tenderloins — “the finest cut of beef” — for his burgers. He only makes 12 to 15 of the 6-ounce patties at a time (some nights they are not available), and only serves them in the bar. Stielger’s burger comes on a Kaiser roll (“an Austrian specialty”) with Gruyere (“the real Swiss cheese”).
The Bacon Blend
Trio American Bistro – $15
Taking the basic burger up a notch, Trio chefs Will Bradof and Paul Wireman grind the trimmings from their strip loins and New York steaks together. Instead of fighting to fit bacon in every bite, they grind Berkshire bacon into their patties. The burger comes on a buttery brioche bun from Persephone Bakery and is topped Cabot cheddar cheese.
The Local’s Burger
Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse – $8
Chef Kevin Gries makes about 40 burgers, ground from ribeyes, tenderloins, sirloins and more, nightly. Served in the lounge area, the burger is discounted between 5:30 and 7 p.m. The beef is regional, and the bread comes from a few blocks away at e.leaven. Gries says his fat-to-meat ratio is the key for flavor. “Most places serve 80-20,” he says. “Ours are 70-30.”
The Secret Burger
Snake River Grill – $17
Ask your server if this burger is even available since there is no mention on the menu and only 10 or so are made per night. The 10-ounce burger features a blend of Mead Ranch beef: 60 percent chuck, 25 percent New York strip. Chef Jeff Drew grinds in fat cap too. The hand-packed patty is served on a house-made Kaiser bun with Vermont white cheddar, applewood smoked bacon and Parmesan fries.
The “Top Chef” Burger
Silver Dollar Bar and Grill – $19
“Top Chef” alum Scott Rutter pairs his Snake River Farms American Kobe burger – weighing in at half a pound – with caramelized red onions, spicy mayonnaise, a house-made Parmesan bun and Parmesan fries (tossed in truffle oil and parsley flakes). “It’s sweet with some heat,” Rutter says. The American Kobe makes this burger especially tasty, he adds.
The Kitchen-Sink Burger
Q Roadhouse – $12
It’s best to ask yourself what’s not on this burger. It starts with a stone-ground, whole-wheat ciabatta bun layered with fried pickles. Then comes the 10-ounce patty smothered in cheddar, grilled onions, bacon, lettuce, tomato, fresh onions and house barbecue sauce (made from 25 ingredients including coffee, Dr Pepper and anchovies). “It’s more than any mortal needs,” says chef Eric Gauthier.
The Non-Fast-Food, Quick Burger
MacPhail’s – $13.95
These burgers, made from premium certified Angus beef (regionally ranched and naturally fed), are flame-grilled to order and come in five iterations: cheddar with classic toppings, blue cheese and bacon, colby jack with barbecue sauce and bacon, Swiss cheese and mushrooms or lettuce in place of a bun. Husband and wife Bruce and Dawn Bollinger grind the burgers daily and serve them with Idaho spud fries and a dill pickle.
The Triple Threat
Cascade – $12-16
Cascade sliders are an après-ski favorite. An appetizer or an entrée, the sliders come in twos or threes, depending on appetites. Each 2-ounce patty is topped with slow-roasted tomatoes for tang, oven-dried pancetta for crispiness and truffle aioli, all served on a brioche bun. Though they don’t come with ketchup, it’s well worth ordering some on the side; chef Kevin Humphreys makes his own.
The Get-You-High Burger
Couloir Restaurant – $21
At the top of the Bridger Gondola – 9,095 feet high – Couloir serves a lunchtime burger that can only be described as over-the-top good. The half-pound Snake River Farms Kobe patty is topped with caramelized onions, Kurobuta bacon, Idaho-based Ballard Family cheddar and Wyomatoes. “It’s an aggressive, over-the-top hamburger with all the ingredients,” says Jay Brewer, food service director with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. “It’s ridiculous.”
The Home-Grown Burger
Local – $7 to $18
Whenever Local needs beef for their burgers, chefs Will Bradof and Paul Wireman simply text valley rancher Chase Lockhart, who gets a cow from his family’s Lockhart Cattle Company in South Park. Local’s chefs butcher the cow on site and grind the meat to create the quarter-pound, all-beef patty, which is served on a Persephone Bakery bun with house-made mayonnaise. Talk about knowing the source!
By Cara Rank and Allison Arthur, editors of Dishing magazine, a food-lover’s guide to great dining around Jackson Hole and Teton Valley. Find Dishing on magazine stands valleywide, or visit it online at DishingJH.com