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Austin Barbecue Pitmasters’ Favorite Fast Food Burgers

Order like the city’s best barbecue minds.

Tracey S./Yelp
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Barbecue is always great, but sometimes, the call of a quick, greasy burger is just too strong. Eater asked Austin barbecue pitmasters about their go-to fast food burgers, including McDonald’s burger minimalism, the nostalgia of In-N-Out, Short Stop’s bag full of burgers, and more.

Bill Kerlin, owner and pitmaster of Kerlin’s BBQ
My favorite fast food burger is definitely Carl's Jr. I don't believe anybody else holds a candle to their Six Dollar Burgers. When I'm in the mood for a burger, I like to keep it classic. Cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle, and mayo is my go-to order. Sometimes jalapeños.

Tom Micklethwait, owner and pitmaster of Micklethwait Craft Meats
It's hard to pick a favorite fast food burger. I like McDonald's regular cheese burgers—sort of a minimalist perfection kinda thing. Whataburger is my go-to if I just need to grab a quick bite. I love Krystal burgers. Sliders are a fun novelty to me, and they sell a 24 pack that looks like a briefcase for burgers.

Evan LeRoy, pitmaster and chef of Freedmen’s
My favorite fast food burger used to be In-N-Out just out of nostalgia from visiting family in SoCal when I was younger. But when they moved into Austin and I tasted it against P. Terry's, the latter was the clear winner on the burger front (addition of jalapeños FTW). Though I still require Animal Fries well-done after a night of heavy drinking. I'm really looking forward to the day when we can taste In-N-Out, P. Terry's, and Shake Shack all in the same day.

Daniel Brown, owner and pitmaster of Brown’s Bar-B-Que
Short Stop! My mom loved Short Stop. She'd take us there every Tuesday for the "bag of burgers" special. I guess I love it so much because we were raised on them, and it just brings back memories of all of us piling in that old Buick as a family.