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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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The “Big Ugly”

Saturday, June 25, 2011 @ 07:06 AM

088With June almost gone, I’m feeling as if this summer is flying by without me getting to experience it like I’m used to. However, I am not going to complain because the sooner summer is over, the sooner I get to meet my little girl!  Still, it is my favorite time, because summer brings to mind a lot of different dishes to experience throughout the season. I think a lot of people associate summer with cook-outs, burgers & barbecue, which brings to point what I’m focusing on this week….the All-American…Summer Signifyin’….Good ‘Ol Grillin’Em Up Burger!

Throughout the life of PCC, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to distinguish what is a GREAT burger.  Anymore, it’s just gotten too cloudy. Now that is not to say I haven’t had some great ones along the way…, I just mean burgers can be so subjective and so versatile, it’s often hard once you’ve had a number of good ones to really tell the GREAT ones from the merely GOOD enough. You know….kinda like what they say about pizza.  Am I making any sense?

Let’s just say I have ranges when it comes to burgers and really I’ve hardly met many I won’t enjoy.  Maybe this doesn’t make me picky enough, but as I said, I have a range that can be from a White Castle slider on up to a gourmet burger….with many in between; and that being said, after seeing countless (and I mean COUNTLESS) of burger places featured around the country, I never seem to get sick of them….always willing to try another. 

And that is just what I did a few months back. Bub’s Burgers in Carmel, IN (outside of Indianapolis) opened in 2003 and prides itself on fresh ingredients, a fun family atmosphere, and their crazy “Big Ugly Challenge” (as featured on Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food”).  What is a ‘Big Ugly’ you might ask?  It’s a one pounder cooked any way you like with any condiments you like. What makes it a challenge is you have to eat the whole thing and any sides you order in one sitting.  42,000 of these behemoth burgers have been ordered any many have been successful at finishing them, garnering their picture up on the wall; and while one pound sounds like a challenge enough, some have even taken on more with the full challenge record now sitting at 3, with 1 guy actually having eaten 4! Yes….this is gross and crazy all at the same time!  When Adam from “M v F” made a stop and tried to take on the challenge, see how he did…

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnsQKzQvhZw

 

Pretty nuts huh?  Well we just happened to be passing through Indianapolis on our way home from Cincinnati a few months back and figured this would be a perfect time to stop in for lunch.  Located on Main St. in Caramel, it’s hard not to feel at home when you step into this cute little shop.  I knew going in that there was NO WAY I was going to even attempt any ‘Big Ugly.’ Adam, on the other hand, wanted to order one just for the blogs sake….or so he says!…yeah right! Smile

 

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But in addition to their regular beef burgers, Bub’s also has elk burgers on their menu, which very much intrigued me.  So we got comfortable, enjoyed looking around at the thousands of pictures of successful ‘Big Ugly’ eaters that lined the wall and waited for our very own ‘Big Ugly’ and elk burger to arrive.

When they sat Adam’s burger down in front of him, it was almost comical. I have seen some big burgers in my day, but never one quite that large!  This thing was not only thick, it literally was the size of a salad plate in width…if not bigger…, pretty crazy in my opinion.  In addition to our burgers, Adam ordered some of their regular waffle fries, while I opted to try the sweet potato variety…, you know I can never turn down a sweet potato fry.

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I was very surprised when I bit into my elk burger at how juicy it was.  I haven’t had a lot of elk in my day so I don’t have much to compare it to, but this burger was flavorful and textured just like a beef burger, and just super juicy with just a hint of a flavor that I had never had, but o-so good!  Adam also enjoyed his burger and said how surprised he was at how juicy his was given how large of a patty it was…, because we’ve seen some BIG burgers that end up looking really dry in the end just so they can get them cooked through. But not this baby….ummmm juicy good!

Unfortunately Adam was unsuccessful and his bid for “Big Ugly” glory. However, I have to admit I am proud of him, because although he probably could have, he decided given that we had to drive a bit more it wasn’t worth stuffing himself.  Good boy…he’s learning!

SIGNATURE DISH: Burgers are their game (literally!), although they do have some other interesting items to try on their menu.  But being that they are known for the burger, we thought it best to stick with those. 

TASTE: We were both surprised at how flavorful and juicy both our burgers were, and I it was one of the better “burger joint” burgers I have had in a long time.  The waffle fries were amazingly good, but I have had better sweet potato fries.

AMBIANCE: What I really liked about Bub’s was the atmosphere. It’s location helps too. It really is a no frills sort of place with a tad of fancy flair.  What I mean is it was definitely laid back but not dirty and grimy like a lot of “joints” can be.  Rather, they have made a point to make it look and feel laid back while still being polished.  Also, it’s not a big place, so you will likely always encounter a crowd at peak times, even though it was all that chatter and buzz about the place that I enjoyed…. Just a lot of people hanging out on a Sunday enjoying a burger.

PRICE: While their “Big Ugly” is close to $15, I’m not sure you can argue with that price given just how large it is. We are talking about a pound of meat here!  The “Settle for Less Ugly” at around 1/4 pound (that I enjoyed) was around $5 which I felt was very reasonable.  Add in a couple of baskets of fries, you really are getting a good price; and while this is probably more than you would spend at McDonalds, again these are what I would call “fancier” burgers and you are paying for better quality.

SERVICE: All of the wait staff appeared to be pretty young. I would say high school and college aged kids. Still, they were all really up beat, very polite, attentive, and fun.  They all seemed to be enjoying themselves and were easy going, while still providing quick service.

This was a nice break in our journey back home and we really enjoyed our lunch stop in Caramel.  Bub’s also has an ice cream parlor at the front of the restaurant where anyone can come in and enjoy a scoop or two.  I wished I had saved enough room to try some, but maybe next time. Because I’ll definitely be back to Bub’s Burgers, so I am happy to give them 4 ½ ‘Little Piggies.’

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