National Hamburger Week 2014 Day 2: Gusherin’ it Up at Ray’s to the 3rd
Day 2 of Burger Week saw us hit up one of our longtime favorites. In the D.C. burger game, Ray’s Hell Burger is one of the veteran players, churning out the goods in Arlington since 2008. Despite the area’s burger boom and Ray’s multiple venue changes over the years, the nomadic burgers from Michael Landrum are still some of D.C.’s very best.
There’s no shortage of Hell Burger options at Ray’s to the Third but the one that gets ordered more than any other by the Crew is the spicy bundle of beauty, the New Jack Zing. Sporting a seared, spice-encrusted blackened patty, the NJZ (as we like to call it) packs some serious heat thanks to a handful of thick-cut, charred jalapenos. The peppers are joined by a mound of succulent butter-grilled onions and a smear of roasted garlic on the top bun, all combining for a fiery crunch bursting with flavor.
Now, a regular NJZ order comes with pepper jack blanketing the patty but this time around, we went “gusher” which puts that melty, magical stuff inside the burger. Yeah, a goddamn bona fide Juicy Lucy. It’s an off-the-menu option, available with any of Ray’s burgers, that we never realized was a thing until Warren Rojas schooled us to the fact last December.
Depending on how you like your beef done, the cheese may not be completely melted or “gushing” but, shit, if this ain’t a most-wonderful way of ordering a burger. Rare to medium-rare patties, like ours (and Rojas’), will most likely result in a still-semi-solid slice of cheese chillin’ in the meat but one that’s plenty creamy, so don’t let that dissuade you from gusher-ing it up. And for those that like their burgers a little more well-done? Be prepared for an explosion of molten, lava-like cheese coming to your grill.
Go get one.
Ray’s to the Third | 1650 Wilson Boulevard | Arlington | raystothethird.com