Great Burger Joints in the Middle of Nowhere

Hamburger expert and photographer George Motz gives us 5 great choices for a day trip into the middle of nowhere for a great burger.

Photos

George Motz poses on the Battleship TEXAS

George Motz poses on the Battleship TEXAS

George Motz poses on the Battleship TEXAS, the first battleship memorial museum in the United States. 960 1280

  

George and local burger expert Robb Walsh

George and local burger expert Robb Walsh

George and local burger expert Robb Walsh eat burgers at Blake's BBQ & Burgers in Houston. 960 1280

  

Blake's BBQ & Burgers

Blake's BBQ & Burgers

Since Blake's is a barbecue restaurant, their burger has a distinct smoky flavor, which pairs nicely with its butter-soaked, toasted bun. 960 1280

  

George shakes hands with Don Blake

George shakes hands with Don Blake

George shakes hands with Don Blake, owner of Blake's BBQ & Burgers in Houston. 960 1280

  

Christian's Tailgate

Christian's Tailgate

George and owner Steve Christian pose by the truck-bed counter at Christian's Tailgate in Houston. 960 1280

  

The jalapeno bacon cheeseburger at Christian's Tailgate

The jalapeno bacon cheeseburger at Christian's Tailgate

The jalapeno bacon cheeseburger at Christian's Tailgate features a slow-cooked patty and deep-fried bacon. 960 1280

  

Christian's Tailgate

Christian's Tailgate

Christian's Tailgate was an icehouse back in the days before refrigeration. 960 1280

  

Christian's Tailgate

Christian's Tailgate

George dives into the jalapeno bacon cheeseburger at Christian's Tailgate. 960 1280

  

Cavender's Boot City

Cavender's Boot City

George tries on his new cowboy hat at Cavender's Boot City in Houston. 960 1280

  

Tookie's in Seabrook, TX

Tookie's in Seabrook, TX

Tookie's is located in Seabrook, TX, which was hit hard by Hurricane Ike in 2008. In fact, Tookie’s was forced to close and remained closed for 3 years until it was bought by a new owner. 960 1280

  

George eats the “Squealer” at Tookie’s

George eats the “Squealer” at Tookie’s

George eats the “Squealer” at Tookie’s. With support from the community, the city council and the mayor himself, Tookie’s has been restored to its former glory. 960 1280

  

The Squealer at Tookie's

The Squealer at Tookie's

The local favorite, the “Squealer,” is a secret recipe, but Tookie’s will tell you that it’s made with bacon ground right into the beef patty. 960 1280

  

Johnson Space Center

Johnson Space Center

George eats an astronaut burger -- complete with a freeze-dried beef patty -- at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. 960 1280

  

George and Robb Walsh

George and Robb Walsh

George and Robb Walsh eat burgers at Stanton's City Bites in Houston. This convenience store doubles as a hamburger joint, and has been a hidden gem in the community for 50 years. 960 1280

  

The bacon cheeseburger at Stanton's City Bites

The bacon cheeseburger at Stanton's City Bites

The bacon cheeseburger at Stanton's City Bites is served on a sweet, fluffy challah bun and has brisket ground into its beef patty. 960 1280

  

George Motz talks to Matt Romero

George Motz talks to Matt Romero

George Motz talks to Matt Romero, a pepper grower in New Mexico. The arid climate is perfect for growing the New Mexican chile, a hot pepper native to the state that’s found its way into the local cuisine, especially burgers. 960 1280

  

Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe, NM

Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe, NM

Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe, NM, is where George and his friend, local burger expert Rob Dewalt, both had their first-ever green chile cheeseburgers. 960 1280

  

Bobcat Bite

Bobcat Bite

The Burger Land crew shoots George with owner John Eckre in the kitchen of Bobcat Bite. 960 1280

  

Bobcat Bite's green chile cheeseburger

Bobcat Bite's green chile cheeseburger

It’s hard to resist a burger as fresh and juicy as this simple 10-oz beast, topped with a little bit of mild cheese and a load of fresh green chile, made with locally grown peppers. 960 1280

  

Owl Bar & Cafe in San Antonio, NM

Owl Bar & Cafe in San Antonio, NM

George eats a green chile cheeseburger at Owl Bar & Cafe in San Antonio, NM, which is best known for its proximity to the Trinity Site, where American scientists detonated the first atomic bomb. 960 1280

  

The Owl Bar & Cafe

The Owl Bar & Cafe

The Owl Bar & Cafe holds the distinction of being the first restaurant to make the green chile cheeseburger. 960 1280

  

Owl Bar & Cafe in San Antonio, NM

Owl Bar & Cafe in San Antonio, NM

Owl Bar began as a grocery store in 1939, but the founder’s son started fixing burgers when the Trinity scientists began frequenting the establishment. 960 1280

  

The Pantry in Santa Fe, NM

The Pantry in Santa Fe, NM

George stands outside The Pantry in Santa Fe, NM, known for its twist on the New Mexican chile cheeseburger. 960 1280

  

The Pantry in Santa Fe, NM

The Pantry in Santa Fe, NM

Burger patties on the grill at The Pantry. 960 1280

  

George talks to Michael Singley

George talks to Michael Singley

George talks to Michael Singley, co-owner of The Pantry. The restaurant has had many owners since it opened in 1948, but it has barely changed a bit. 960 1280

  

The Pantry’s tortilla burger

The Pantry’s tortilla burger

The Pantry’s tortilla burger consists of a char-grilled patty and pinto beans, wrapped in a flour tortilla and smothered in so much red chile sauce that you have to eat it with a fork. 960 1280

  

Bode's General Store

Bode's General Store

George and local burger expert Rob Dewalt eat green chile cheeseburgers at Bode's General Store, an hour north of Santa Fe in Abiquiu, NM. 960 1280

  

The burger at Bode’s

The burger at Bode’s

The burger at Bode’s is a half-pound patty topped with 3 slices of aged cheddar and not-so-mild green chile that’s been caramelized on the grill – all served on a sesame seed bun with a heaping side of tater tots. 960 1280

  

Bode's General Store

Bode's General Store

Bode's General Store sells everything you could ever need – from kitchen appliances to New Mexico souvenirs – in addition to delicious cheeseburgers. 960 1280

  

New Mexico's red chile

New Mexico's red chile

New Mexico’s pepper pride is strong. There’s only one way to experience the slow burn of a green chile cheeseburger, and that’s to try one in its native land. 960 1280

  

George Motz

George Motz

George Motz enjoys a “Big Block Burger” at the counter of the Diamond Restaurant in Charlotte, NC. 960 1280

  

Brooks' Sandwich House

Brooks' Sandwich House

The “All The Way” cheeseburger at Brooks' Sandwich House is topped with chili made from a 40-year-old family recipe, slaw and onions. 960 1280

  

Brooks' Sandwich House

Brooks' Sandwich House

George and NASCAR engineer Josh Browne tailgate with their burgers in front of Brooks' Sandwich House. 960 1280

  

Diamond Restaurant

Diamond Restaurant

Here, at the Diamond Restaurant in Charlotte, NC, they serve a delicious Southern-style burger topped with Pimento cheese. 960 1280

  

Co-owner Andy Kastanas

Co-owner Andy Kastanas

Co-owner Andy Kastanas bought this beloved restaurant along with his partners in 2010 on the restaurant’s 65th anniversary. 960 1280

  

Diamond Restaurant

Diamond Restaurant

At the Diamond Restaurant, the burgers are all named after racing engines, including the small block, the big block and the full-blown hemi. 960 1280

  

Diamond Restaurant

Diamond Restaurant

George chats with customers at the Diamond Restaurant. 960 1280

  

Duke's Grill in Monroe, NC

Duke's Grill in Monroe, NC

Duke's Grill in Monroe, NC, opened in 1951 and is a no-nonsense diner with a strict “no cellphone use” rule enforced by owner Dennis Parker. 960 1280

  

Duke's Grill in Monroe, NC

Duke's Grill in Monroe, NC

Duke’s hand-measured burger comes with Dennis’s homemade beef chili, slaw and onions. He also mixes a little bit of egg and some breadcrumbs into the patty to keep it extra juicy. 960 1280

  

Duke's Grill in Monroe, NC

Duke's Grill in Monroe, NC

George places an order with owner Dennis Parker at the counter of Duke's Grill. 960 1280

  

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway

George slides into the driver’s seat of a racecar at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Charlotte is a city filled not only with racing fanatics, but also 90% of NASCAR’s pro drivers. 960 1280

  

South 21 Drive-In

South 21 Drive-In

Opened in 1955, Charlotte’s South 21 Drive-In comes complete with car stalls and an intercom system that has been there from the beginning. 960 1280

  

South 21 Drive-In

South 21 Drive-In

George enjoys the jumbo cheeseburger at South 21 Drive-In. 960 1280

  

South 21’s jumbo cheeseburger

South 21’s jumbo cheeseburger

South 21’s jumbo cheeseburger is comprised of 2 thin 3-ounce patties, with 2 slices of American cheese -- all held together with a sesame seed bun. 960 1280

  

George and Maria Housiadas

George and Maria Housiadas

George chats with the owners of South 21, George and Maria Housiadas. 960 1280

  

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