Henry Cram and Justin Cram work for KCET and love burgers. This is their story.
On day four of Burger Week at The Oinkster, the Grill 'Em All food-truck team took over the restaurant's kitchen and slung monstrous burgers to hoards of eager enthusiasts. Justin and I took the night off. Well, from writing anyway -- we still had dinner there.
On day five of Burger Week, The Oinkster returned to paying homage to American burger chains by celebrating the Sourdough Jack, from Jack in the Box, with a burger they called the Sourdough Josh (named after one of their managers).
We arrived to a queue of patient patrons and recognized many of the faces around us. The staff stoically attended their duties with looks of exhaustion and pride. Many had worked several, if not all, of the nights this week and had cultivated relationships with the now-regular customers.
The first thing we noticed was the freshly sliced sourdough rounds on either side of the plump burger patty. It looked so perfectly toasted that my mouth watered. We each took our half and dug in.
The burger patty was tender and the bacon flavorful and juicy. A touch of ketchup and a housemade onion-flavored mayonnaise conjured familiar flavors. We spent the rest of our moments at Oinkster in burger-eating silence.
As we entered Jack in the Box, a touch-screen pay-kiosk beckoned us with its animated ordering screen, but the persistent gaze of a lone cashier won our attention. We ordered a single Sourdough Jack. It arrived within minutes.
We were quite surprised by the integrity of this fast-food burger. The sourdough was toasty and textural, the tomatoes were cool and fresh, and the bacon was well-done and crispy.
Overall, the Sourdough Jack was really nice. Sweet ketchup and savory mayonnaise moistened the somewhat dry meat patty. I noticed that the cheese seemed almost stinky! I liked that. The Sourdough Jack left my fingers slightly greasier than its doppelganger but overall it was a pleasant experience. So far, this was the burger that the Oinkster mimicked most closely -- perhaps easier to do when the original isn't bad at all.
The Verdict: In this case, Justin and I agree: It's a tie!
"Red" Castle Sliders, in the fashion of White Castle sliders, from White Castle.
The 2 x 4, Piggy Style, after the Double Double, Animal Style, from In n' Out.
The Northeast Bacon Cheeseburger, after the Western Bacon Cheeseburger, from Carl's Jr.
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