So what’s the best burger in Memphis, I asked. Over the past 5 months, a lot of you responded to me it’s Dyer’s Burgers. Everywhere I go, people ask me if I’ve tried Dyer’s yet. It’s been kind of embarrassing that I’ve had to keep responding, “No.” After all, Dyer’s is about as historically Memphis as is the Lorraine Motel, Graceland, BB King and W.C. Handy. Dyer’s uses the same grease that Elmer Dyer used to cook his burgers back in 1912. The patties are thin, and you can order a single, double or triple burger along with one, two or three slices of cheese. They’re typically served only with mustard, onion and pickles. The grease is supposedly skimmed each day and topped off with new oil. This is a unique method for quickly crisping the outside of a burger patty, while sealing the juicy flavor on the inside. Fans of this burger method swear by it, saying it’s the only way to go.
At one point Dyer’s was really high on my radar. That is until I had a gastro-run in with UBEE’s, who prepares their burgers just like Dyer’s and with a cut of that classic 100 year old grease. Without going into detail, suffice it to say my stomach wasn’t the same for days after eating UBEE’s. After that run in, I’ve been putting off an outing to Dyer’s Burgers. I just didn’t want to deal with the week-long upset stomach again.
Finally my burger buddy, Tim, convinced me it was a much better tasting burger than UBEE’s and I would really enjoy it. For years he’s worked the door at the New Daisy and enjoyed many a Triple Triple from Dyer’s. He’s still alive and well so will a little coaxing, I was ready to head down to Beale Street for a Dyer’s Double Double. We made our way into Dyer’s and I was immediately taken back by how clean it was. Even though I knew the Beale Street burger joint isn’t the original Dyer’s location, I still expected it to be dark, somewhat dingy and weathered from all the frying and grease. Dyer’s was the opposite. It’s clean, bright and very well maintained.
Tim and I walked up to the counter and grabbed a couple of barstools where we could get a good view of the burger frying. Tim ordered a Triple Triple combo with a side of four chicken tenders. Have I mentioned, he’s a good eater? Remembering how the UBEE’s single cheeseburger was lost the bun, I tried to order a Double Double combo. Tim quickly interjected, saying that this was my one time to go all out and get the Triple Triple. I’m pretty sure he said something like, “Come on man, grow a pair and get the Triple.” How could I fight this kind of peer pressure. Sure as I was sitting there, I found myself ordering the Triple cheeseburger combo.
Within moments, the cook behind the line was pounding out 6 paper thin burger patties and sliding them into the 99 year old grease. Just a couple of minutes later those large thin 8 to 10″ pounded patties where retrieved form the grease. As he pulled each one out, I watched him drag a slice of American cheese through the grease and add it to a burger patty. There was no blotting along the way and before we knew it the triple cheeseburgers were assembled and wrapped up in wax paper.
I’d love to tell you this was the burger I’d been waiting my whole life to taste. It has been hyped so much and I came expecting to get huge burger flavor and locked in juiciness from the crisp fried burger. I didn’t get that. In fact, I found the taste of the burger almost completely missing. Even with a triple cheeseburger, all I tasted was the bun. And speaking of buns, it was a fairly ordinary wonder burger bun that wasn’t fresh. It began crumbling and falling apart as soon as I began handling it. The burger wasn’t completely absent of flavor. I liked how tasted with just mustard, pickle and onions. I used the ketchup for my fries to dip the burger in. All the while, and just like UBEE’s, I had this Deja Vu feeling that I was eating a White Castle or Krystal burger. I like that taste, but it wasn’t even close to some of the other great burgers I’ve had.
The french fries were good and greasy too, but at least I could taste what they were. I actually found them very enjoyable. With an extra dash of salt and ketchup, I made them disappear very quickly.
For the record, my stomach was fine that afternoon after eating the Dyer’s Triple Triple. It wasn’t until the following day that the grease bomb hit me and did a number on my system for the two days following my outing to Dyer’s. No more Dyer’s or UBEE’s style burgers for me. I didn’t enjoy it very much and I didn’t enjoy the physical after effect it did on me.
I give the Dyer’s Burgers Triple Triple 3 out of 5 stars. Extremely greasy and lacking in flavor. Even with the triple, I tasted more bun than burger.
205 Beale St
Memphis, TN 38103
If you have a favorite burger that you think is Memphis’ best or that I need to try and review, please drop a note in my suggestion box.
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