Why You Should Avoid Ordering A Hamburger At A Barbecue Restaurant, According To An Expert

Whether you're just stopping at a restaurant to get a bite to eat or you went on the recommendation of a friend, you may automatically spring for one of your go-to favorites like a hamburger. But when it comes to dining at a barbecue joint, at least one expert thinks you should avoid this habit.

There are some establishments that you simply know aren't made for certain kinds of dishes. A gas station probably isn't the best place for sushi and we'd definitely prefer to order fried rice from a Chinese restaurant over a Mediterranean spot. Yet, when it comes to getting a burger from a barbecue joint, that seems a little more innocuous. After all, they're both meat, right? Actually, that's the last thing that Bob Bennett, head chef of Zingerman's Roadhouse, would do. "I think it is a little odd to see a burger on the menu," he says. "Personally, unless I am going multiple times, I am sticking with the barbecue."

Since barbecue is the specialty of the restaurant, it's basically guaranteed that the chefs are putting a more concerted effort into their slow-cooking methods, like smoking and barbecuing, than they are with grilling a burger. If you're already there and just really in the mood for something similar to a burger, we'd recommend sticking to menu items like Hawaiian pulled pork sandwiches or barbecue chicken sliders.

What else should you avoid getting at a barbecue restaurant

For Bennett, the barbecue is the focal point, so he may not go beyond that. He is willing to explore other menu options, though. "I think there are times when dishes stray a little too far from the BBQ, but I am pretty open to trying anything at the same time," he states.

If you're going to order non-barbecued sides, make sure they enhance the meat. Buttermilk cornbread brings a sweet or tangy flavor to your barbecue. It's a quintessential BBQ side thanks to its ability to amp up the savory flavors with its buttery taste. Baked beans are another solid choice, and to some, you can't have barbecue without it. Traditionally made with bacon and a tomato-based sauce, a side of vinegary beans cuts through the richness of barbecue while blending in with the meaty flavor.

Salads can be hit or miss on barbecue joint menus. While a good vinaigrette can enhance the taste of barbecued meat and burgers, the salad probably isn't prepared with much attention either. The same goes for other veggies, too. Green beans and collard greens are typically delicious barbecue sides, but at a restaurant, they may actually come from a can. You may also want to slow down on the filling sides like mac and cheese or mashed potatoes so you can have more room to explore the menu items you should never skip at a barbecue restaurant — the ribs and the regional specialty.