Find me the best burger in the area.
Hell, find me the best definition of a burger in Colorado Springs. Is it made with lamb, or buffalo or foie gras-covered ostrich? ('Cause, you know, hook me up if it is.) Is it topped with bacon, or aioli or fried eggs? Is the meat locally sourced? Is it from a chain, or a diner, or your mom?
These questions, and more, we considered when putting together our quest to find the best damn burger our burg has to offer, a natural progression from our previous looks at the city's best wings, ribs, taco trucks and farmers markets.
We decided beef was the way, with standard toppings: cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and the like. Condiments could come as they would and sides would be fries, except when they were Ruffles potato chips at the Keg Lounge.
As for scoring, no extra points were awarded for style or sourcing decisions; substance alone would be our guide. We looked at the bun, the beef, the toppings and the sides. It's a victual world out there, and we were determined to find our way so that others might follow.
We even managed to learn a few things. Like, even if you ignore sourcing as an end in itself, you can't ignore its effect on our most important measure: taste.
A patty of Ranch Foods Direct beef may seem like any other when eaten in isolation. But munched next to the otherwise flavorful mass-production from our Best Of winner Five Guys Burgers and Fries, it's notable — and enjoyable — for its lack of grease.
So we cast our fate to the winds, seeking high and low for ground chuck products famous for word-of-mouth hype, or historical significance, or their place in our collective culinary consciousness. We ate the steakhouse standard, the cook-your-own, the greasy spoon and five others in between, from Pueblo to Palmer Lake.
Of course, and you know this by now, we didn't make it to everywhere; mostly because gas is now three small-to-medium-sized children per gallon, but also because we don't know the burgers everywhere. We hear there are killer patties awaiting destruction at the Margarita at PineCreek, the Wines of Colorado and other spots, but we just couldn't fit them in.
So that's where you can help: If we missed it, and you know it, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or forever hold your peace. Otherwise, grab some napkins and let's fuckin' eat. (A note: All prices include fries, cheese and tax.)