This Is Why Five Guys' Burgers Are So Delicious

Unless you're a vegetarian or a total jerk, there are few foods that cause as intense a craving as a really good burger. If you want a burger — a big, fat, juicy burger — you aren't going to be sated by a salad or a bowl of cereal or even a pizza. You just want to eat a delicious beef patty slathered in whatever your favorite condiments are sandwiched between a soft hamburger bun. Unless you're one of those people who get their burger protein style (wrapped in lettuce), which means you can go sit over there in the corner with the rest of the people who just got out of CrossFit.

One of the best ways to indulge this burger craving is to head over to the red and white facade of your local Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Five Guys is huge. They have opened almost 1,500 locations since 1986 and have another 1,500 in development. You can even satisfy your Five Guys craving if you are vacationing in Hong Kong. And there is a lot to crave about Five Guys, because their burgers are just freakin' delicious.

Five Guys focuses on what's important

Five Guys won The Harris Poll's burger brand of the year award in 2017 and 2018, beating In-N-Out Burger both years, which is no easy feat considering how passionate people are about In-N-Out Burger. In 2018, they also beat out 17 other burger chains including the usual suspects, like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and Carl's Jr., and even the more posh burger spots Whataburger and Shake Shack. (Sure, In-N-Out regained the title in 2019, but holding that honor for two years is something to be proud of.)

Why do we love them so much? Five Guys is known for two things: burgers and fries. They also offer hot dogs, and you can get a grilled cheese (which is just the same bun and cheese that's used for a burger) if you're the type of person who actually orders grilled cheese at a restaurant, but Five Guys doesn't serve chicken sandwiches or filets 'o fishies or rib sandwiches or fancy salads. It's burgers. And fries. They focus on making those things great, and they're clearly succeeding. 

We Americans are passionate about our burgers. As of 2013, we were eating about 50 billion burgers a year, which equals out to about three juicy hamburgers per person per week. About 60 percent of all sandwiches purchased worldwide are actually hamburgers. And if you are going to sink your teeth into the world's favorite sandwich, you should definitely do it at a place that's been called "The Best $5 Burger A Man Can Eat" by GQ.

They offer 15 different toppings

You can seriously have it your way at Five Guys, to co-opt another slogan from a less delicious burger chain, because they offer 15 different toppings to choose from. These include mayo, ketchup, mustard, A1 Sauce, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, relish, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, green peppers, and jalapeño peppers. You can choose as many of these toppings as you want for free. You can stick all 15 of 'em on your burger if that's what you're into. Compare this to the standard burger you can order at Burger King which comes with ketchup, mustard, and pickles, or the McDonald's hamburger, which offers the same condiments as BK with the addition of a few chopped onions. Sure, there's something to be said for the simplicity of a plain burger with just ketchup and mustard, but having the option to add as many as 15 toppings to the situation is one of the things that makes Five Guys burgers so delicious and crave-worthy.

There are over 250,000 ways to customize your Five Guys burger

Five Guys seems to understand that giving customers the freedom to make their burger exactly the way they want it, at no extra charge, is important. And thanks to those 15 toppings, there are a whole lot of ways that customers can do just that. The combinations are basically endless — there are more than 250,000 ways to customize a burger — and fans of this fast food joint are pretty passionate about their favorite combos. In fact, reading about them is enough to make you grab your car keys and head to your local Five Guys to explore some of these crazy-delicious sounding options. 

On Serious Eats, fanatics discussed the best way to make the already delicious burgers ever tastier. User eatorama says, "Grilled onions, jalapeños, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce. Mustard on top bun, BBQ sauce on the bottom bun." User love2cook, who is obviously a big onion lover, says, "Fried onion, raw onion, lettuce, and mushrooms. I sometimes get double raw onion plus the fried onion! Wanna smell my breath? " And GianniB, obviously a purist, says, "NEVER ketchup. My opinion is that it's for fries/rings/children. Double w/cheese, raw onion, pickles, lettuce, tomato, mustard. Classic." How about a Five Guys "All The Way"? That's mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, and mustard. Please wipe the drool from your keyboard posthaste.

You won't get an undercooked garbage burger at Five Guys

Even though you can customize your burger at Five Guys a gazillion different ways, there's one way you can't customize it: the doneness. No, you can't get it bloody, or still-mooing, or even medium rare, because every burger cooked at Five Guys is prepared well-done. But that's a good thing.

MSN says Five Guys hasn't explained the reasoning behind this policy, but assumes safety is one of the concerns, explaining that there are health risks associated with eating raw meat, including the consumption of bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Because of these risks, the FDA advises that ground beef be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a slightly heated conversation about the doneness of Five Guys burgers on Chowhound, one commenter had this to say: "I used to check 5 Guys franchise locations for compliance with corporate standards. I have a copy of the training burger cooking video, as well. The 'standard' for 5Guys locations is to serve the burger within 10 minutes of the order being placed. The actual cooking time from raw meat to fully cooked is approximately 4-6 minutes. The burgers are to be cooked well done, but juicy. The grill man can only even the burger out with the patty press one time after flipping. Burgers go through three areas of the griddle during the cooking process."  

No one wants a side of salmonella with their burger.

The buns are basically cake

The hamburger buns used for Five Guys' burgers are the perfect vehicle to get that juicy slab of meat into your mouth — they're soft, fluffy, and perfectly toasted on the grill. Five Guys doesn't use a standard bun toaster, which would probably be cheaper and faster, because it doesn't give you that caramelized taste that cooking them directly on the grill does. Can you imagine a Five Guys burger without that slight char on the bun? 

Perfect toastiness aside, the buns only contain nine ingredients, and they're basically the same ingredients that are in your average cake, according to a Five Guys manager on Reddit. They also contain twice as many eggs as normal buns, which explains their dreamy texture. On Inc., founder Jerry Murrell explains where these magical buns come from. "We make the same bun we started with. We hired the old guy who used to bake our bread for the first store, and one of his partners. They work in the Virginia bakery. We have 10 bakeries scattered around the nation. Our bread is baked daily, picked up by 3 p.m., and put on truck or plane so every store gets fresh bread every morning, even if they are 400 miles away from the nearest bakery." As they say, if it's not broke, don't fix it. Or fix it, if by "fix it" you mean shoving six of these yummy buns into your mouth at once.

Five Guys knows how to stack those toppings for maximum tastiness

You already know that you can order 15 different toppings and customize your burger about 250,000 ways, but Five Guys has a specific way of placing add-ons onto your burger for the ultimate yum factor: Onions and bacon go underneath the patty, while tomatoes and pickles go on top of it. Burger aficionados have many different opinions on what the actual correct placement of condiments and toppings on a burger are, but it appears that Five Guys does it so the warm toppings stay with the warm toppings, and the cool toppings mingle together separately. 

There's also a lot of speculation about why Five Guys puts your french fry order on top of your burger in the brown bag it comes in. When this question was posed on Reddit, a commenter responded, "I always thought this was so that the burger just gets a little bit warmer. The cheese melts a little more, the bun gets a little steamy and soft." Seems logical.

They use applewood-smoked bacon

Did you know the Green Bay Packers have an official bacon? Well, they do, and it happens to be the same kind of bacon that Five Guys uses on all of their burger offerings with bacon. If it's good enough for the Packers, it's good enough for you! 

Just like the Packers' official bacon, Five Guys' bacon is applewood-smoked, and that's important. According to Bacon Today, "Applewood chips result in bacon that is mildly sweet and smoky. It is the second most popular wood used after hickory as it results in bacon that is perfectly balanced between smoky and sweet." You can definitely taste that perfectly balanced flavor on each and every one of Five Guys' bacon burgers.

If you haven't yet, try out one of the bacon burgers on your next Five Guys visit. Or if you're a heathen and you want to skip the burger altogether, you can also simply order a BLT. With extra bacon.

Five Guys doesn't have freezers

You aren't going to get some weird pre-formed freezer burned patty when you order a burger from Five Guys because their stores don't even have freezers. Everything is made fresh to order. Five Guys is so committed to freshness that it takes an entire three hours to open the restaurants each day because everything from the burgers to the produce that is sliced and chopped to go on your burgers is prepared that morning. 

They also use wireless freshness sensors, and to get all technical and fancy about it, the RFiD Journal explains it like this: "The ComplianceMate temperature-tracking solution, provided by CM Systems, uses active 900 MHz sensors from Point Six Wireless and helps to ensure that raw ingredients are stored at a safe temperature and are not served if they have exceeded their approved temperature threshold." Meaning you aren't going to get some janky, germ-ridden, warm, slimy lettuce on your burger that could make you sick.

There's a secret Five Guys menu

As if Five Guys wasn't already delicious enough, they also have a secret menu to tempt your taste buds in different ways.

Want to eat like Barack Obama for the day? Mosey on down to your local Five Guys and order "The Presidential." That'll get you a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeño peppers, and mustard, just like our former president has been known to order. If you are super hungry, you can order something called the "Double Grilled Cheeseburger," which is two cheeseburger patties between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Heck, you can even pile on even more patties for $2 each, if that's how you roll. If you're watching your carb intake, you can order any burger you want in a bowl, with no bun and as many toppings as your little heart desires. And according to Rather Be Shopping, you can order a "Scooby Snack" to get an extra beef patty for your pup. Awwwww.

Pro tip: If the Five Guys fries are just a little too soggy for your liking, order them "well done." It's worth the extra few minutes, and those crisp, hand-cut fries are the perfect accompaniment to any burger, no matter what menu it comes from.

The standard Five Guys burger is actually a double

One of the coolest things about the burgers at Five Guys, and why their burgers are such a great value, is that their standard burger isn't even a burger at all — it's TWO burgers. That's a lot of beef for your buck! (If you just can't deal with that much beef, you can request a "little" burger, which is a single patty.)

But as one can assume, all this delicious cow comes at a hefty nutritional price point. If you opt for that little burger with just one patty, you're gobbling down 542 calories and 26 grams of fat, while a bacon cheeseburger comes in at 1,064 calories and 62 fat grams — almost 30 of those from saturated fat. These numbers, of course, will only go up depending on what toppings you decide to layer on. This is a huge amount of calories for one meal, but the great thing about Five Guys is that their portions are so large that you could always split a burger or take half home to enjoy for another meal. Or, you know, just eat it all and savor each delicious, extra beefy bite. Tomorrow's another day, right?

You get your burger when you get your burger

Considering the fact your burger is made from scratch, Five Guys does a great job of getting you fed rather quickly. Sure, it may take a few minutes longer than ordering a burger from a place with a clown as their mascot, but Five Guys is more of a fast casual restaurant than a fast-food joint. 

They hand form all the patties. They grill the bun. They also don't use any timers in their restaurants, and that's because, according to Delish, "good cooks know when food is done." Your burger will be served fresh to you when it's done, and it won't sit under some heat lamp waiting for anyone to come in and order it, and that's a good thing. No, Five Guys won't take as long as a sit-down restaurant with silverware and cloth napkins, but if the restaurant is busy, you can expect to wait a bit. That's what all of those free peanuts are there for, so you can chow down while you wait for your burger to be expertly prepared.

The Five Guys employees are delightful

Five Guys has two important things going for it: excellent customer service and happy employees. Both of which make any meal more enjoyable.

According to Forbes, "Every time a customer orders a burger and fries, the Five Guys team wraps the burger, prepares an order of fries and places them in the bag – just like any other burger place in the world. But then they do something unexpected. With each order, a member of the Five Guys team (the "five-or-so guys?") takes an additional half scoop of their hand-cut boardwalk-style fries and dumps them right into the bag on top of the original order. Essentially giving each customer an order-and-a-half of fries for the price of a single order." 

One former employee took to Reddit to talk about what it was like to work at Five Guys, saying, "Fun for the most part, due to the fact that it's an open kitchen, the employees are encouraged to joke around and have fun, even to the point of all out dancing, as long as you can keep on track with the job you're doing." 

If your food is prepared with happiness it's just going to taste better. No one wants a burger made by some angry dude who hates their job.