Sometimes the Internet makes you do dumb things. Remember that kid who had sex with a Hot Pocket on Vine? He got caught with his pants down (literally), but even non-teenage stoners from New Hampshire sometimes succumb to the mania. Over time, a constant barrage of insane food mashups and “epic meals” can turn anyone into a culinary psychopath.
Hell, we once put an Umami Burger inside a Cronut for no other reason than wanting to give our intern something to do. Last year, the blogger Culinary Bro-Down created a three-story sandwich called the McConsensual-Group-Sex Burger, featuring two beef patties, a chicharrón-fried chicken cutlet, and a shit-ton of roasted hatch-chili aioli. And recently, Foodbeast combined Shake Shack and In-N-Out patties—the most cultishly adored chains on each coast—into one hypebeast-worthy mega-stack.
That last one got us thinking…and plotting…and scheming. “Ya cool thatta burgah?” we said to ourselves in an uncomfortably bad Australian accent. Then someone asked, “What are all of the fast-food burgers you can get within a five mile radius of our office?”
Good question! Skipping over a bunch of inane discussion that happened in the interim—like whether or not we should buy some Bareburger elk burgers (FOH)—we eventually arrived at our destiny: the Uber-Burger, a leaning tower of
Pisa patties featuring 10 burgers that are A) within a ~5-mile radius of our office, and B) representative of the NYC fast-food landscape.
Fire-walk with us into the land of beef-induced idiocy…
Its #Levels: The Uber-Burger Breakdown
The ironic thing about making an Uber-Burger—which would seem on first appearances to be the saddest and most anti-social meal possible—is that you need friends (or at least co-workers) to pull it off.
Like sushi and nachos, burgers deteriorate quickly after they’re made, so we figured we needed to get all 10 patties to FWF HQ within an hour or less of ordering. That meant coordinating a precisely timed campaign—similar to Hannibal’s triumphant trek across the Alps—in which four people tackled the city’s densest pockets of fast-food burgers: Downtown Brooklyn has a Shake Shack, a Smashburger, and a Checkers, for example; in the West Village, you can find Umami Burger, Five Guys, and McDonald’s all within spitting distance of one another. We rounded these out with Steak ‘n Shake, Burger King, Fatburger, and Wendy’s.
Everyone swooped in from their respective burger zones and we immediately stacked the sandwiches into the monstrosity below. All this went down on what is known in the business as “a slow news day.”
Due to the fact that we are professionals, this masterclass in team-work and burger architecture unfolded largely without a hitch. A few observations from the mission:
- Perhaps not surprisingly, fast-food burgers—even the higher-end ones—hold up pretty well over time, despite our initial concerns about rapid deterioration. The chains seem to have figured out a thing or two about effective construction and packaging (not to mention the power of preservatives, in some cases).
- Out of all the places we visited, McDonald’s was one of the slowest—at lunchtime on a Thursday it had a line out the door, making us wonder if “convenience” is really the best excuse for eating Mickey D’s.
- Even when you’re in a small room full of burgers, the distinctive aroma of the major chains—i.e., McDonald’s and Burger King—completely overwhelms the rest. It’s almost as if they’ve been specifically engineered to grab your attention…
The key to creating architectural integrity in an Uber-Burger is to place the widest patties at the bottom of the tower. In this case, an eight-ounce Fatburger provided a solid foundation.
From there, we removed the top bun from each burger and instituted a stacking system akin to the one used for the Big Mac, which crowned the whole thing. In the GIF below, note how the bottom layer squirts its juices under the weight of the growing stack—if that doesn’t turn you on, you might as well turn in your life badge to the sheriff.
Deconstruction is far less cumbersome. Gather up the top buns that were put to the side, then slap them back onto their respective patties as you pull them off the tower, Jenga-style.
Full disclosure: Our plan to devour every last crumb of the Uber-Burger was compromised by one unfortunate tower collapse and the fact that some people—ahem—forgot to wash their hands. But we did go to town on as many burgers as possible, because the Uber-Burgering experience should be stupid and gluttonous and surreal, but never wasteful.
Turns out a 90-minute-old Checkers cheeseburger won’t necessarily make you feel awesome, but it still tastes like success.
Want to bring some patty inspiration to your desktop? Download the Uber-Burger wallpaper here.