Fans of decadent, innovative burgers abide dude food's spread

, West Coast 
Bureau Chief

Let’s be clear: I am not a “dude,” nor do I routinely choose to eat “dude food” like the fried-chicken-fillet-as-bun Double Down at KFC, or Friendly’s new BurgerMelt served between two grilled-cheese sandwiches.

However, I am the mother of two young dudes who, if left to their own devices, would maintain a diet based solely on foods found on the midway at a county fair. Deep-fried butter? Bring it on, they would say.

I would like to wag a finger at all the attention dude food gets, but we all know it’s in good fun, and, frankly, even the outrage of the Food Police can be positive publicity.

With the burger and fries category getting increasingly crowded, no doubt we’ll see more innovation as concepts attempt to stand out from the crowd.

Carl’s Jr., for example, is testing a foot-long cheeseburger featuring three burger patties on a 12-inch hoagie roll, which sounds relatively tame compared with that chain’s previous meat-as-condiment burger topped with pastrami.

In Los Angeles, the Frysmith truck — with the menu philosophy of “serving fries that eat like a meal” — lately has been offering “PoTacos” as a special. These tacos have the truck’s signature French fries as a filling, along with cheese, roasted red-pepper salsa, poblano sauce, cabbage and avocado.

I can’t help but want to join in.

So for all you menu-development folks out there, here are some ideas for burgers I’d like to see — though, sadly, not eat, but only because gravity is taking its toll. I can’t speak to the margins on these products, but they offer shock value. And if these burgers are out there somewhere, speak up!

Burger Wellington: Like bacon, just about anything is better with puff pastry. I envision a beef patty grilled “animal style,” like that of In-N-Out Burger, with cheese and grilled onions, all baked inside puff pastry. Casual-dining concepts may want to consider the addition of pâté. Better yet, why not dip an entire burger with condiments and bun in cornmeal batter and deep-fry it to make Fried Wellington On A Stick?

Funnel Burgers: You’ve heard of burgers on a split Krispy Kreme donut. This is a burger on two funnel cakes — powdered sugar optional. In Southern California, this could be made with churros dipped in chile-lime salt instead of cinnamon.

Burger Cakes: We have chicken and waffles, why not burgers and pancakes? In my high-calorie dreams, the burger is encapsulated entirely in bacon and grilled, served between two buttermilk pancakes with dipping syrup on the side. This would also work with French toast or waffles, of course. Better yet, use large hash brown patties as buns.

Bible Belt Burgers: I lived in the South for many years and came to love peanut-butter-and-sweet-pickle sandwiches. Following the grilled-cheese-as-bun theory, I think a burger would taste great between two PBSP sandwiches. Along the same lines, I have often wondered why pimiento cheese — a truly Southern sandwich spread that is basically grated cheese in mayonnaise with pimientos — hasn’t caught on as a burger condiment. That said, it is available at The Varsity in Atlanta, so maybe my creations aren’t so far off base, just ahead of their time.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]