Best Burger

Grandpa Mischeaux's Real Deal Barbecue & Grill

Every morning, before opening up his storefront barbecue joint for the day, Byron Mischeaux hits the Safeway on Broadway's north side and picks up 50 pounds of ground beef. By lunch he'll have hand-sculpted that haul into 30 shot put-size, heavier-than-a-pound mounds of carnal excess -- the best burgers in St. Louis, by far. And by dinner he'll have made at least one more run to the supermarket to keep up with customer demand. On an average day, Mischeaux goes through about 200 pounds of meat; selling it off one $2.50 hamburger or $2.75 cheeseburger at a time, he'll likely turn a profit of about 40 bucks. If that sounds martyr-like, maybe that's because Mischeaux is a religious man, whose burgers taste like a (huge) chunk of heaven. What seasonings he uses, he likes to keep a (divine) mystery, but there seem to be whispers of garlic, paprika and onion. The whole thing is topped with a few thin slices of lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles, smeared with mayonnaise and anchored by two pieces of Wonder brand Texas toast. Though he's been in the barbecue business since 1995, Mischeaux only started making burgers about two years ago. That menu addition was a move both benevolent and all-business. On the one hand, he wanted to create a burger that could inexpensively feed more than one person. On the other, he realized he needed something to lure in the locals come summer, when everybody and their mama whips up their own barbecue outside. What he came up with -- this make-a-grown-man-cry meal-and-a-half -- ranks as a small miracle.
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