I don’t think we focus enough on things that are just plain awesome. In my opinion, there’s enough room in this town to celebrate all that is great. Our pizzas, bread, restaurants and markets can be just as good as New York’s, if not better. Our prosciutto is certainly better and we have Zombie Burger!
One place that could hold its own anywhere in the U.S. is Des Moines’ own B&B Grocery, a small store tucked away on the South Side. They’re famous for their “Killer” sandwiches and were nominated for Iowa’s Best Burger in 2013. They are winners of Cityview’s “Best Sandwich” award and are a top-notch place for iconic Iowa’s food as well.
We have covered many burger variations on this blog, including beef fat-fried and lard cooked. (I am also working on the Connecticut “Steamed Burger” and the Mississippi slug burger… coming soon to the Formaro Files!).
B&B’s burgers are made with a meat blend that seems a bit fattier than the typical 80/20 – it makes for a delicious burger that stays juicy, even at well done. At B&B, I usually order the double, two thick quarter pound patties. The burgers are loosely pattied for a burger with a great “crumble” as you eat it.
The beef is simply seasoned and cooked on a char broiler type grill rather than a flat top. The grill itself is not screaming hot; the burgers cook nice and slow. As the burger cooks, the fat drops onto the bottom of the grill to make a slight smoke. Not a heavy smoke like one would associate with the finest “Q,” but a subtle smoke that adds a flavor that I don’t care to mask with ketchup and mustard.
A great burger place doesn’t always have to make its own bun. I do it only because I am the “bread guy” and a self-proclaimed dough whisperer. But there are bad homemade buns out there, so when a place sources a good bun for its flavor and doesn’t just make their own for the novelty of it, that’s important. B&B uses the wonderful white “squishy ” buns typical to old-fashioned burgers. Now, these guys are smart – they spread a little mayo on the bottom bun, knowing that the delicateness of the bun will get greasy without the oil barrier of the mayo.
I have them add classic white and yellow American cheese to my burger – no need for fancy pants cheeses here. Onions and pickles finish the burger nicely; the tartness from the pickle and the acidic sweetness from the onion work with the fat and juiciness of the burger.
B&B makes a great burger – if you haven’t had B&B before you should give it a go, I promise they won’t disappoint. Enjoy the moment and the burger!