Sink your teeth into these local beef beauties.
As a friend of mine recently put it: "Scary staff, good burgers." Famously good, in fact -- Casino El Camino consistently racks up various "Best Local Burger" awards in town, and has been featured on the Food Network. Note that you'll probably have to wait a while -- as in, possibly up to two hours -- but the crazy delicious results are worth it. When I'm feeling particularly gluttonous, I go for the Amarillo Burger: a medium-grilled Angus patty topped with roasted serrano chiles, spicy jalapeno jack cheese and cilantro mayonnaise.
Hut's is one of those places where I recommend people split a burger, just so they can save room for a dessert of creamy, thick strawberry milkshake (one of the highlights, in my opinion of the menu). That being said, Wednesday is also buy one, get one free burger happy hour night, so you could take my advice and also take a burger home for later. My two favorites? The Ritchie Valens burger, topped with guacamole, jalapenos and copious amounts of grated cheddar, and when I'm feeling fancy (or alternatively, am on my period), Mr. Blue: bleu cheese crumbles, Swiss cheese, and bacon make for unabashed decadence.
Immortalized in Dazed and Confused, Top Notch is the hamburger joint embodiment of Matthew McConaughey's famous line: "I get older, they stay the same age." A relic seemingly from the 1950s (even though it's only physically been around since the '70s), Top Notch serves simple, juicy, greasy burgers with perfectly golden onion rings. Order the Longhorn Special to get a bit of bacon on your burger.
Boobs and burgers: Being inside The Jackalope is a little bit like being inside your 15 year-old boy cousin's dimly lit fantasy den, with cleavage everywhere you look and metal blasting from the jukebox. Onto burgers then: There are 13 varieties on the menu and they are HUGE. Go balls out and order the Frito Pie Burger, a tall, messy triumph of chili, onions, and cheddar cheese.
Confession: P. Terry's is probably my favorite late-night stop after a night of abusing myself at a bar. The reason? Their portions aren't crazy humongous, which my weakened digestive system appreciates, and the menu is to the point (all the better for my scattered faculties): Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, bacon cheeseburgers, done. The last time I stopped by, a friend and I got a bacon cheeseburger, and it's rich-but-not-too-greasy patty was like manna from heaven.
Commanding lines down the block at both locations, Hopdoddy took Austin's burger community by storm a few years ago, with a fierce commitment to local, natural ingredients, like baked-from-scratch buns and hormone/antibiotic-free beef. Burgers here get incredibly creative, and while the Ahi Tuna Burger (with teriyaki sauce, honey wasabi, and nori chips) draws legions of fans, go for The Goodnight, a beefy classic with a Texas twist: Angus beef, Tillamook cheddar, hickory BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, jalapenos, and a drizzle of Hopdoddy's housemade "sassy sauce."
Three words: Mason Fargason Collie Burger. This behemoth of a burger costs $25, and involves three half-pound patties squeezed between a crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-in-the-middle bun. It's a crime scene.
Icon-inspired burgers and a sassy spitfire of an owner (Gina) make Your Mom's a true Austin favorite. It's changed locations over the years, but note that the Cesar Chavez is now closed, so now, you can focus all of your meat-consuming energies into the Airport Blvd stop. If you're man enough, try the Robert DeNiro burger: a marinara-tossed patty stuffed with monterey jack cheese, then topped with Italian sausage. After eating, you may now enter the circle of trust.