For weeks I’ve been getting Suggestion Box emails, Facebook messages and tweets about the John T Edge burger being served late night at Hog & Hominy. The consensus from all those communications is that this burger, named after a writer and commentator and the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, is by far the best burger in Memphis. Its received great reviews from Serious Eats writer, Leslie Kelly and from local food blogger and friend, Thomas Robinson who writes the Eat Local Memphis blog. Both reviews will leave your mouth watering and probably have you heading to the Hog & Hominy back porch Holding Pen for this new local celebrity burger. Before you go you should know a couple of things. One, it’s only served Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after 9 PM, and only out doors in the Holding Pen. Two, the Burger isn’t huge. It’s about 5 oz of quality Claybrook Farms hind quarter. You should also know it isn’t severed with any fries. Actually no sides at all come with it. You can order chips or a Frito Pie to accompany the burger, but everything is a la carte. Lastly, your looking at $9 for this Oklahoma style burger.
So what is an Oklahoma style burger exactly? An Oklahoma style burger is a beef patty cooked on a hot skillet or flat top. Traditionally, thinly sliced raw onions are placed on the raw top of the patty so when its flipped, they actually cook into the burger. I’ve also seen this called a Smash Burger because the spatula is usually used to smash the onions into the patty on the hot skillet causing the onions to sauté with the fat from the beef. You end up with a very tasty and crisp burger. In the Hog & Hominy Holding Pen, they top the burger with American cheese and pickled lettuce. It’s finished with a small smear of yellow mustard on the toasted sesame seed bun. That’s what you get. No ketchup. No mayo. No tomato. I get it. This is how they created the burger and this is the style burger with the flavor they want severed. If you really want it your way, Burger King might be a better choice. I actually admire the courage of a kitchen to just say NO to all the endless substitution requests and changes the public would make to compromise the John T Edge creation. In theory, this should be the best burger you’ve ever had.
So we have two really great reviews and two very good local chefs working on this burger, quickly growing its reputation to Best Memphis Burger status. So I head over with a buddy from my BBQ team just before 9 pm a couple Thursdays ago. We were enjoying a few beers in the Holding Pen while waiting for the magic hour where we could put in our order. Just as we ordered our burgers, we were joined by another Twitter friend, Carter Ragan and some of his buddies. The five of use sat there waiting on those wonderfully reviewed masterpiece burgers.
I’ll start by telling you what I really liked about the burger. The quality of the Claybrook Farms beef was present, it was rich and buttery and was ground to a great texture. I loved the smashed onion that was seasoned in the beef fat and how it became one with the patty. I really loved the crisp edges of the American cheese where it oozed off the side of the burger onto the flat top and just continued to harden on the griddle. Lastly, I enjoyed the flavor of the pickled lettuce. I would have never thought to do something like that in lieu of using actual pickles. Unfortunately , that’s where the wonderful stopped. I was completely underwhelmed by the overall flavor of the burger. The patty was unevenly over-seasoned with homemade garlic powder. So much so that at one point, I looked around for cameras like someone was playing a joke on me . It was probably carelessness in the kitchen, but that could make or break a customer’s meal. Some bite were so overly seasoned I could barely eat it. Others were fine. It was just It just wasn’t consistent. I wasn’t alone though. Of the 5 of people sitting at our table, not one person thought the John T Edge burger lived up to its hype. Most were less forgiving that I was. I’d love to give it another go around, and I encourage you to as well. Like any burger, including the one’s I review, I encourage your to check it out yourself and make your own decisions.
I give the Hog & Hominy John T Edge burger, 3.5 out of 5 Stars. I really wanted to love this burger. It just wasn’t happening.
Hog & Hominy
707 W Brookhaven Circle
Memphis, TN 38117
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