Henry Cram and Justin Cram work for KCET and love burgers. This is their story.
For the third night in a row we headed to The Oinkster in Eagle Rock to partake in Burger Week, a celebration of America's favorite burgers. In honor of Carl's Jr., The Oinkster showcased a beefed-up version of The Western Bacon Cheeseburger ... called The Northeastern Bacon Cheeseburger. We knew to expect bacon, cheese, barbecue sauce, a beef patty and onion rings, on a sesame seed bun.
At 5 pm there was almost no line at the Oinkster. Justin noted the smell of bacon as we ordered from a now-familiar face. One burger, cut in half. We moved to the patio to await our first subject.
It was like a reflection of the Western Bacon Cheeseburger through a funhouse mirror. The onion rings, bacon, and patty were massive. The bun, having absorbed a good deal of bbq sauce, was tender. Justin, examining his half with wide eyes, removed a piece of bacon and held it for me to see. It was a mighty piece of bacon; medium thickness, crisp and glistening. The onion rings were lightly fried and the beef patty was a nice med-rare. In fact, the burger patty stood out among the other ingredients. A burger that good did not need all of these whistles and bells.
In terms of flavor, The Oinkster delivered. They exceeded their predecessor in girth and quality of ingredients. The novelty of the ingredients was more apparent in this setting then at Carl's Jr. where, it seems every month they are pushing some new outlandish special down our gullets. We wrapped up at The Oinkster and went in search of the nearest Carl's Jr.
There was no line at Carl's Jr. A single Western Bacon Cheeseburger was four dollars and was ready in two and a half minutes. It was given to us in a to-go bag through which I felt the weight and warmth of the burger. I got a confused look from our server when I asked for a plastic knife.
Out on the patio we removed the burger from the bag. WESTERN it read in bold letters across the paper wrapping. We looked at each other then back to the burger as I unwrapped it, then cut it in half.
As in The Oinkster's rendition, the bread was damp with sauce. The bacon was disappointing. It was dental floss compared to the bacon on The Oinkster's burger.
The onion rings were crunchier though, giving contrast to the slightly soggy bun. The sweet, smokey, ketchup-y barbecue sauce was not muted by delicious beef but instead enhanced a rather boring gray patty. I won't go on about the differences in quality as I feel the pictures say it all. I will say though that The Oinkster's devotion to the original is consistent.
The Verdict: At the end of the day the Oinkster comes out as the clear winner. Their passion is present in their food.
"Red" Castle Sliders, in the fashion of White Castle sliders, from White Castle.
The 2 x 4, Piggy Style, in the fashion of the Double Double, Animal Style, from In n' Out.
Sourdough Josh, in the fashion of the Sourdough Jack, from Jack in the Box.
The Big Max, after the Big Mac, from McDonald's
The Oinkster's full schedule for Burger Week.
Words by Henry, photos by Justin.
2005 Colorado Blvd., 323-255-6465