Way back in July I visited a burger joint that will definitely be in the next edition of my book but it has taken my 3 months to get around to posting about the place. If you've been to the Triple XXX you are probably already a fan. If you have not been yet you need to find an excuse to get there.
My excuse (other than burgers being my obsession) was a trip I took to Indianapolis to see a NASCAR race (my other obsession) at the famous Brickyard. I spent the day in the garages and pits during the race thanks to a ridiculous all-access pass that allowed me to be just about anywhere but in a race car (thanks Josh). To top off the perfect day I visited the awesome Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum then headed up to nearby West Lafayette, Indiana for some dinner and research.
Why I didn't know about this place when I was researching the book baffles me. Everything about the Triple XXX fits my criteria perfectly. They serve tasty burgers made from fresh-ground beef and have been around for decades. As an added bonus the burgers are cooked on a flattop griddle and served on toasted white squishy buns. And the place sports mismatched stools and horseshoe counters. I was in heaven.
I met owner Greg Ehresman who gave me the lowdown on the history (which I'll save for the book) and how they make their burgers. Grinding and pattying happen upstairs and they start with steaks from a local butcher. Like Steak 'N Shake the burgers start as a plug, a tall, cylindrical wad of beef , that is produced by their patty maker. The patty press spits out plugs for portion control and the burgers are pressed thin just before hitting the griddle. But there's a twist, something even I have NEVER seen before. As I watched Greg make a burger for me he nonchalantly tossed the patty into a bin of flour before plopping it onto the hot griddle. Perplexed, I asked him why. Like all stewards of tradition his only response was, "Because that's the way we've always done it." The result was predictable and amazing. The flour mixes with the cooking fat to create an even more pronounced griddle char. Why does no one else do this?
The burger I had was the Boilermaker Pete, a triple with cheese and grilled onions (pictured above). It sounds huge but the patties are thin and proportions perfect. I washed it down with some of their house-made Root Beer and the restaurant's namesake. The other 5 signature burgers on the menu looked amazing but unfortunately I was full. I now have an excuse to go back.
Oh did I mention that the Triple XXX is always open? That's right, with the exception of 8pm Sunday to 6am Monday the place never closes. How comforting is that?