100 Austin Burgers: Lee’s Meat Market
Lee’s Meat Market
1601 W. 38th St., Suite 12, at Jefferson Square in Austin (map), 512-467-6700, www.leesmeatmarket.com
Lunch hours: 11am-3pm Mon-Fri; 11am-1pm Sat
Full hours: 12-6:30pm Mon; 10am-6:30pm Tue-Fri; 10am-4pm Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 02.10.16
One of my favorite shops in Austin abides in Jefferson Square: Anderson’s Coffee. It’s the kind of single-product shop that once characterized American small-town commerce. I’ll fight a left-hand turn off 38th Street just to buy a pound of beans. To launch this series of 100 Austin Burgers, I’ll make that same left turn for Lee’s Meat Market, where I can buy tenderloin, T-bones and New York strip by the pound — and during lunch, a burger worth a single-minded destination of its own.
► The “Incredible” Burger: Leave it to a meat market to make one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in Austin. The “Incredible” is a half-pound of trimmings — the best building blocks for a burger — hand-formed and seasoned with Lee’s steak rub. It’s seared hard but still juicy in the center, with a long, carnivoral chew like a good steak. That fortified patty rests on a thick, sweet Sheila Partin’s sourdough bun, dressed with green leaf lettuce, tomatoes and red onions, which they’ll grill if you’d like (and you would). The price includes your choice of Swiss, provolone or thick Cheddar cheese that announces its presence even before you open the box. It’s the kind of double-handed, blue-collar burger you’d hope for from a 13-year-old butcher shop, served in a decidedly white-collar shopping center where the staff knows most of the customers by name. It’s carryout, mostly, with a rail along the front window with seating for a half-dozen. ($8.95 with potato chips)
► On the side: No french fries here. But there are soups, green salads and pasta by the pint. And best of all: deviled eggs. They’re simple little squeakers filled with whipped yolk and a dusting of paprika, a comforting protein embrace and a good value at four for $3.
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(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)