Burger Week Day 5: The Sourdough Josh

Day 5 of Burger week was a tad more subdued then the rest of them. There was still a line of famished people out the door, but it did not trail into the parking lot. The reason for this? I’m betting on the style of burger. Oinkster had chosen to recreate Jack in the Box’s Sourdough Jack as Sourdough Josh, which means a burger, bacon, tomato, white American cheese (aka Swiss-style cheese on the official Jack menu), ketchup and onion mayo all squished between the soft confines of Frisco sourdough rounds. Now apparently this is a midnight favorite with some, but I couldn’t find a single person who named that as their favorite burger. Although there was a guy who had brought his own Jack in the Box mask which he had bought for Burning Man and was letting people try it on and take pictures. Most of the people were there because Oinkster would pour love and care into an otherwise mediocre product and turn it into something magical. They would use good beef, fresh bread, and make all the sauces themselves, giving you an idea of what was actually possible if this burger was done right.

To be fair, I have never eaten at a Jack in the Box in my life. Why is this? Three reasons. The first is that I’m originally from Chicago and we just don’t have them around, so they were never on the list of questionable food choices at 2am. The second being that as soon as I moved out here, my curiosity was crushed when one of my friends referred to their quality standards as “prison food.” But the main reason, I have never seen fit to enter one of their establishments are those godforsaken Jack ads. The horrible clown with a golf ball head and business suit, with taglines written by, I’m guessing chimpanzees (No, that’s not fair to chimps. Let’s say maggots, if they were capable of clutching a pen.) Whoever came up with these ad campaigns should be dragged from their homes, tied to a chair with their eyelids taped open, and forced to watch them on repeat for hours and hours (like the rest of us do when we watch Hulu) until they break down sobbing.

My sadistic fantasies aside,  the Oinkster’s Sourdough Josh was delicious. The sweetness of the tomato played off the bacon’s salty bite and the sourdough gave it a homey tang. Was it the best burger of the week? Not by a long shot, but considering the model they were working with, it was delicious. The one thing I couldn’t get my head around was the cheese. This is not the Oinkster’s fault. I understand they had to use white American because it was authentic. I get that, but using white American on a burger is the equivalent of wearing sweatpants to the supermarket. You’ve clearly given up on life. With the myriad of cheeses on this planet why would you chose the one that tastes like nothing? The cheese steers the flavors of the burger and is just as important as the type of seasonings on the beef you use or the quality of the bun. Whether its blue cheese, gruyere, cheddar, Swiss, brie, or even regular American cheese use something with an identity. Something with dignity.  Have some pride in your cheeseburger. Otherwise it might as well not be there at all.

– Molly Bergen


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