Jul 13, 200909:57 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
Errol Laborde: Ranking Bud's burgers
Now the debate can begin anew.
There have been auxiliary Bud's Broilers re-opened around the area since you-know- what, but the main place, the original outlet on City Park Avenue across from Delgado College, had been closed, since you-know- what.
As a sign that the recovery has advanced to a higher level, BB No. 1 is back in business all painted, cleansed and spiffier than ever.
Known for its burgers cooked on a charcoal broiler, Bud's offerings are posted on a board above the counter with each choice numbered. As the burgers' fame spread, it became part of the langue of the city to compare the virtues of, for example, a "number six" versus "a number three."
Since our memories might be rusty, if not moldy, here are my rankings, in ascending order, of the top choice at Bud's Broiler:
There are generally 12 selections on the Bud's boards; we begin by eliminating Nos. 10 through 12. These are all worthy sandwiches, but one is made with a chicken breast, another with smoked sausage and the other with a fish filet. All benefit from that great grilled taste, but they are not what Bud's is about.
Same goes for choices 7 through 9. Each is made with a hot dog rather than a beef patty; one with chili and cheddar, another with just chili and the third with hickory sauce. As someone who ranks a well made Lucky Dog alongside Oysters Rockefeller as being among the greatest dishes prepared in the Vieux Carré, I have great respect for the weiner in a bun, but this is not what made Bud's famous. For that, look higher on the sign.
Choices 1 through 6 provide the true meaning of Bud's, a grilled burger on a bun with the trimmings. All six are great burgers that could make it on Broadway, but the difference is in the trimmings.
Sixth Place goes to, as listed on the sign, #1, a charcoal broiled burger with mayonnaise and relish sauce. This is a great burger for Republicans, and conservatives in general, who want the good life but without having to effect much change. The same goes for the fifth choice, which also happens to be listed as #5. It adds lettuce, tomatoes and pickles but allows some freedom of choice between mustard or mayonnaise.
Fourth choice is # 3, which takes the daring step of introduces grated cheddar to the mix but while denying the lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Not so the third choice, # 6, which integrates both cheese and vegetable.
Now we come to the first runner-up. We're speaking of #2 for which the smoked patty is simply topped by Bud's signature Hickory Smoked sauce. Here the taste buds get a workout processing the sweetness of the sauce with the smokiness of the meat. The only burger that provides more tastes is the first choice, the hallowed #4.
This burger presents a choice between chili or the hickory sauce (go for the sauce please; chili is for hot dogs) plus the grated cheddar. Following in the great tradition of New Orleans sandwich eating there is a goopiness factor at play here. Just as the correctly done roast beef poor boy sends streams of mayonnaise laced with gravy down the wrist, so to does this sandwich in which the sauce is the medium for export.
Like the great poor boys, if it is not messy to eat, it is not done right.
Side orders are available including French fires (with chili and/or cheese), onion rings and fried pies, but Bud's is really about the burger.
It is also now about our recovery-and at that, the burgers are better than ever
Let us know what you think. Any comments about this article? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. For the subject line use BUD'S. All responses are subject to being published, as edited, in this newsletter. Please include your name and location.
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