Sunday, June 22, 2008

Redneck fast food

Fark has a great discussion of the best burgers in the northeast (check out the funny pictures!), but they omitted the great redneck burger joints south of the Mason Dixon line.

The best redneck fast food is hard to define, as there are many criteria, but some common denominators include:

Good Price - Good redneck chow is inexpensive

Greasy - Good redneck cuisine must be fried, with good grease retention.

Spicy - Good redneck chow has some "kick", usually with red chili (think and greasy)or hot green chile, spicy with a huge kick.

While there are thousands of great redneck dine dining establishments, here are a few that have impressed me the most.

Here are a few of my favorites, past and present:

Big Dicks - Once a Louisburg North Carolina landmark, Big Dick’s Drive-in was on South Bickett St. in Louisburg for decades. A vintage 1950’s style drive-in restaurant, it was last real vestige of a lost age of redneck fine dining. Dick’s was famous for their hot dogs, but everybody remembers their motto "If you like hot dogs, you'll love Dicks".

In California, my all time favorite is Tom's #5 (the most famous one is at the Santa Monica wharf), but they have Toms #5's through LA. They have an amazing chili, so rich that you can almost mold figures with it, with a rich greasy taste in a pasty consistency. Combine this with their little green hot peppers and you have redneck ambrosia.

Toms #5 - Thick greasy chili

One of the best of the best is the Owl Cafe in San Antionio and Albuquerque. The original Owl Cafe was in San Antonio New Mexico (home of Conrad Hilton), and it was wildly popular with the German scientists on the Manhattan project who were building the world's first atomic bomb at the trinity site nearby.

The Owl Burger with hot green chile

Known for their wonderful green chile, there is now an Owl Cafe in Albuquerque. And don't forget their green chile cheese fries, a redneck gastronomic orgasm.

And no survey would be complete without mentioning "The Varsity" and Nick Tahou's, home of the Original garbage plate, redneck ambrosia.

For the whole story, read my notes on the best of redneck fast food: