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» Cheeseburger on a Donut: The Artery Annihilator
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Cheeseburger on a Donut: The Artery Annihilator

By • Nov 4th, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog

The crazy thing is, it’s not even all that shocking anymore. I mean, anyone who attended the Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Wisconsin State Fair this summer could have walked right up and snagged one next to the Tilt-a-Whirl.  You can get it at more than one minor league ballpark.  They were handing them out at Atlanta’s first Battle of the Burgers a few weeks back.  Hell, Paula Deen cranks one out… and throws a fried egg on it! Although it seems to be everywhere, there are still few ways to get attention faster than by slapping a cheeseburger on a glazed-donut bun.

That’s what brought me to The Burger Club in Vinings, GA.  The emphasis is on burgers, obviously, with a Build-Your-Own option that allows you to start with a patty of Angus, Wagyu Kobe, bison, turkey, lamb, black bean, or tuna… and then customize away with 20 cheeses and toppings.  Or go with one of the 10 Specialty Burgers, the most popular of which is subtly dubbed the Artery Annihilator.

I ordered one and wondered how it would stack up to the hype that’s surrounded this concoction ever since Mulligan’s (a now-defunct neighborhood tavern about 11 miles away) supposedly invented the Luther Burger in the early- to mid-2000s.

Your first impression, of course, is of the donuts.  Yes, that’s plural. Most donut burgers use a single donut, halve it horizontally, and then bookend the burger, cut-side-out.  While this lets the glaze melt onto the patty and leaves your fingers a little less sticky, it seems like a cop-out to me.  (And not the way I’ve heard the original Luther Burger described.If you’re replacing the burger bun with something hot off the line from Krispy Kreme, should moderation really enter into it? (“Oh, no, not TWO glazed donuts on my bacon cheeseburger.  THAT would be crazy.”)  According to my server, the double-donut treatment started as a kitchen mistake.  When a new guy used two Krispy Kremes instead of the split single, the brass happened to see it and immediately gave it the thumbs-up.

But would I?  I found the beef to be pretty decent, although cooked perhaps a shade past the requested “medium.”  The cheese was nicely melted and sufficiently gooey.  The bacon: rock-solid.  Not too thick, not too thin, not distractingly peppery or smoky.  It would all come back to the buns.

My early hypothesis would have been that two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts would overpower everything else, that it would be an explosion of sugar, followed by the beefy-cheesy-salty trifecta of the bacon cheeseburgerIn truth, the initial taste blast is the burger. The donut glaze finishes up each bite with a sweetness chaser that was really quite nice, and only prompted more bites.  (And it’s all about the glaze.  Sub in plain cake donuts, and this might be indistinguishable from a regular burg.)

In all, tasty.  Not life-changing. An interesting novelty act, but not an addition to the regular lineup of favorite burgers.  In fact, I’d even deduct points for the $11 price tag.  The Artery Annihilator is more expensive than all but 4 of the 19 gourmet burgers at fancypants FLIP Burger Boutique… and all but 2 of the 21 burgers at the legendary Vortex Bar and Grill. And since I doubt The Burger Club wins a public-opinion taste test against either place, the prices would seem to be a problem.

So what about the nutritional Armageddon that a burger like this supposedly inflicts?  I ran the numbers, and while the donut buns allow for clever names like the Artery Annihilator, it’s not like holding a loaded cheesecake to your head.  One Krispy Kreme glazed yeast donut contains 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 10 grams of sugar.  A Five Guys bun: 260 calories, 9g fat, 8g sugar.  So a Krispy Kreme burger that uses a single donut actually has fewer calories than a pretty standard fast-casual burg. Add the second donut, and the Artery Annihilator is the equivalent of a Five Guys bacon cheeseburger… plus a plain bun from McDonald’s.  Big whoop. I say enjoy a Krispy Kreme cheeseburger, if only just to say you’ve done it.  After all, the state fair only comes once a year.

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