Henry Cram and Justin Cram work for KCET and love burgers. This is their story.
Last night's burger riff from The Oinkster was the "2x4" modeled after In-N-Out's Double-Double. The Double-Double has two beef patties and two cheese slices, hence the name. So the 2x4, logically, must have two patties and four cheese slices. And yes, they offer optional Animal Style (smothered in Thousand Island dressing and grilled onions), or as they call it at The Oinkster, "Piggy Style."
Let's start by saying that Justin is an In-N-Out fanatic. The other day a coworker told Justin that there was an In-N-Out truck parked out in front of KCET and he jumped straight up out of his chair and ran to the window. When he found out the coworker had been fibbing, Justin scolded him mercilessly. He loves In-N-Out. I am a fan as well. The Animal Style fries are insanely good and the burgers are inexpensive and fresh. Needless to say, we were excited.
I swear The Oinkster smelled like an In-N-Out last night. We ordered one 2x4 to share. The cashier understood and replied that many succumb to burger fatigue early on in Burger Week. He then offered to cut the burger in half. We noticed that they added two ingredients to the standard Double-Double: pickles and a mustard fried patty, both also available on the In-N-Out "secret menu." We were pleased by this. I asked if they would make "Piggy Style" fries (thinking I was being clever) and he told us that they always have Piggy Fries, which are strikingly similar to Animal Style fries and available on the regular menu. Yes! An order of that!
The burger arrived. It looked like an inflated Double-Double. The caramelized onions and cheese glistened. I spotted a pickle (by now I know to be excited about an Oinkster pickle), then a leaf of crisp lettuce, and a brilliant red tomato slice. The dressing and cheese and onions held firmly to the patty. The burger melted into my mouth and familiar flavors boomed with strength and resonance. It was everything we expected and more and we made quick work of each of our halves.
The fries stood between us and our next destination. A massive pile of Belgian fries smothered in mayonnaise-based sauce, shredded cheese, and grilled onion slices. They were awesome, but did not satisfy me in the way I had expected. I think I had Animal Style on the brain; the cheese here seemed bland and the caramelized onions hadn't been salted or fully caramelized. This aside, the fries themselves where crisp and delicious.
In-N-Out, just a few blocks away, was bustling; potatoes cut to order and fries flying from frier to paper tray, sizzling meat patties, the whole circus.
Double-Double, Animal Style, fried mustard and pickles, and please cut it in half. And an order of Animal Style fries!
We waited patiently while marveling at their efficiency.
The Double-Double seemed larger in diameter than the 2x4 but it had less meat by volume.
The smell of caramelized onions hit our nostrils and we shared a glance. Yum. The American cheese was yellow and square, the way we like it. A hefty chunk of lettuce and a ripe slice of tomato gave the burger height. The meat was flavorful, sharing the bun evenly with the other ingredients, whereas, the 2x4 at Oinkster was meat-centric. The pickles were slightly underwhelming. I couldn't remove my gaze from the Animal Style fries, which bore two melted American cheese slices and a gob of Thousand Island dressing and diced, caramelized onions. I like my fries well-done but forgot to ask. In general, we don't care for plain In-N-Out fries, but agreed that there should be a picture of Animal Style fries next to the word "umami" in the dictionary.
Not only had the Oinkster met the flavor requirements but they matched the energy of In-N-Out as well. After night two we are very impressed with the level of detail that The Oinkster applies to their creations and awarded bonus points for employing In-N-Out's secret menu items.
The Verdict: Hats off to The Oinkster and a deep bow to In-N-Out.
The Northeast Bacon Cheeseburger, in the fashion of the Western Bacon Cheeseburger, from Carl's Jr.
"Red" Castle Sliders, in the fashion of White Castle sliders, from White Castle.
The Northeast Bacon Cheeseburger, after the Western Bacon Cheeseburger, from Carl's Jr.
The Sourdough Josh, after the Sourdough Jack, from Jack in the Box
The Big Max, after the Big Mac, from McDonald's
Words by Henry, photos by Justin.
2005 Colorado Blvd., 323-255-6465