Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Stuffed Burger - One Unique And Very Delicious Hill Country Hamburger

Hamburgers, in whatever way they are prepared, are hard not to like. And sometimes, like the Cheddar Pour Burger I found in Cedar Park and wrote about in an earlier blog, you come across something really special. Such is the case with “The Stuffed Burger,” at Bam’s Roadhouse Grill in Lago Vista, Texas.

Bam’s Roadhouse Grill is located in Lago Vista, a town on the north shore of Lake Travis. It’s a very casual place (the ceiling is non-existent, with only wood rafters), and the upper portions of the building are exposed to the outside weather, necessitating the use of a water misting system to cool the place during the hotter months of the year. The first time I saw the building driving down the road, I thought it was barbecue smoke pouring out. That would have been good too, but the mister is better and feels really nice.

There is no table service, as such; you place your order at the walk up window. And, usually, the man taking your order is Bam himself, easily recognizable because of his bearded profile which adorns the signs outside. But the extra effort is worth it. The stuffed burgers have won local awards, and you can tell the place is popular just by driving by at lunch time. The dirt parking lot is packed with pickup trucks and other vehicles.

This self-professed “Home of the Stuffed Burger,” has some outstanding ones, indeed. There are four half-pound hickory smoked burgers offered, and all are filled with their own particular stuffing. “Britt’s Bleu Burger” is packed with bleu cheese and red onions. “Popeye’s Burger” is filled with spinach, artichokes, parmesan, Romano, and mozzarella cheese. The “El Paso Burger” is loaded with jalapeno peppers and cheese, and then topped with sautéed mushrooms. But, I save the best (and most popular) stuffed burger for last.

In my humble opinion, and in the opinion of many others, the best of the best of Bam’s stuffed burgers is the “Hatch Chile Burger.” Hatch chili peppers are from New Mexico, a state which is just to the west of Texas, and which grows, arguably, the best chili peppers this country, or perhaps the world, has to offer. Bam uses these peppers in this burger, and the result is an unbelievably great hamburger.

The “Hatch Chile Burger” is composed of one-half pound of hickory smoked beef; packed with Hatch, New Mexico green chili peppers, cheddar cheese and bacon. This is then served up between both sides of a semi-sweet hamburger bun, along with homemade chips and salsa.

When you bite into the Hatch Chile Burger, you get a burst of different flavors all at once. This surge of flavors is perhaps common in Mexican and Asian cuisine, but not so much in the United States, at least with respect to the traditional European-based foods of this country. The burger is a mixture of appetizing flavors. It is moist, smoky, salty, with a mild presence of chili peppers, and the soft impact of a somewhat sweet hamburger bun. The burger temperature is hot, and the flavors blend together perfectly into one great sandwich. Trust me, this is one excellent hamburger. It works on all levels. I don't know how they stuff the ingredients into these burgers like they do, and I guess I really don't care, because the end result is incredible.

Bam’s Roadhouse Grill also has a wonderful selection of other items on its menu, including daily specials like catfish and chicken fried chicken. Live music is occasionally available, and takeout orders are popular for those wishing to enjoy the good food as they play out on Lake Travis.

These Lago Vista stuffed burgers are unique and are wonderful hamburgers, and I can’t recommend them enough. When I left the place after lunch, having devoured the Hatch Chile Burger, I was "stuffed" myself.

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