I am a burger girl. I absolutely love a good hamburger. Fortunately, I grew up in the hometown of the best hamburger in the world. I grew up hearing about Dyers Burgers in Memphis. My own grandfather used to rave about them. I would pass by the original restaurant several times a week on my way to work, but to me, it just looked like an old condemned building. In fact, I guess it was because it was eventually torn down and replaced with a strip mall. Being somewhat scared by the outside, I never ate a Dyers hamburger until I was in my early 20’s. The minute I took the first bite, they had me – I was hooked. By now, you are probably asking yourself “Just what make Dyers so special?” It is all in the grease.
One great thing about Dyers hamburgers is you can see them being made. First, the cook rounds the hamburger meat by hand into a ball shape. Then he takes a metal spatula and covers the ball. He takes a mallet and smashes the burger ball flat. Scooping it up, he submerges it into a big, deep black vat filled with grease. You can see it float around until it is done. However, this is not just any grease! Legend has it that this is the same grease my grandfather enjoyed on his burgers. Dyers Hamburger owners claim they have been using the same grease since they opened their doors in 1912. In fact, when a second Dyers restaurant opened in a Memphis suburb, the vat of grease got its own police escort to the new location. The grease is carefully strained each night and yes, I realize the original grease is long gone. But, what a cool story!
After the burger is through cooking in the grease, it is wisked to a waiting bun. None of that fancy sesame seed bun stuff, this is just a regular old “Wonder Bread” bun. If there is one thing Dyers is not, it is pretentious. Please, if you do make it to Dyers, do not order your hamburger with lettuce and tomato. They do not serve them that way. Your only choices are mustard, onion, and pickle. And cheese – don’t forget the cheese. Back in the old days (pre-1990), you could not even get French fries. Your only choice with your burger was chips. They succumbed to the French fry pressure, but thank goodness, the grease remains.
If you think your arteries can handle it, get a double or even a triple burger. What you will get is one of the best burgers you have ever eaten. The burger will be juicy, but not greasy, crispy, but not hard. I makes my mouth water just sitting here thinking about it!