Battle of the High Street Burgers 2014

It’s all very well eating an enormous monster like the Beast, but you can only get it in one place and not everyone wants to struggle through several hours of laboured eating (or the subsequent week of meat sweats) for a picture on the wall. Sometimes, you just want something that you can pick up off the shelf or sit down in comfort without having to be on blood thinners and anti-emetics whilst you eat.

We put together and tested 6 contenders of Burger-kind from the UK and ranked them in four areas.

  • Number of calories – even if you aren’t counting them, this is a good ballpark figure for general levels of unhealthiness (or satisfaction, it’s science…).
  • Amount of protein – this is point of a burger; to facilitate your ingestion of blended cooked dead cow, the more the better. Veggie Burger is an oxymoron, you just don’t know it yet.
  • Amount of fat – unfortunately, there is no good way to spin this. You can get into a discussion about trans and saturated fats but it isn’t going to be here.
  • General satisfaction – okay, this one is going to be subjective, but we like to think we have a good gauge on whether or not you’ll enjoy it.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ve chosen a fairly standard big patty / double patty burger. No fixing the numbers with extras of bacon, onions, or eggs. Let battle commence!

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An early lead taken by the Double Whooper. This thing will account for almost half your daily calories. And that’s before you’ve had any fries or drinks. Surprisingly, the venerable Big Mac trails in last place. A difference in cooking technique perhaps? Although the close run race with the Rustlers “THE BIG ONE” for last place is less of a positive sign. Despite it’s shrinking violet status in the UK, the Wimpy 1/2 Pounder puts up a surprisingly strong fight. ONWARDS!

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The Wimpy Burger takes the lead by a slim margin, with the GBK contender in pursuit of the leading pair. The Big Mac is trailing behind in the protein stakes, despite having two pattys. That said, the dual patty 5 Guys Burger is staying firmly in the middle of the running.

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 20.15.30

Perhaps the only time the Big Mac will shine in this contest – under half the fat content of the bulging Double Whooper. The running is surprisingly close this time, despite the very different compositions of each burger. 5 Guys stays resolutely in 3rd place so far. We’ve got a pretty definitive idea for the next round.

ROUND 4 – Satisfaction!

(*in no particular order)

  1. McDonald’s Big Mac -The old standby, boring but reliable. The triple bun structure gives it a bit more solidity than most offerings (even if the salad and sauce is insipid) and is also pretty good price wise. It’s not the biggest or best by any means but it fills a void. And there is a lot to be said for a burger that doesn’t tip your calorie allowance over the recommendation. A middle of the road choice.
  2. Burger King Double Whooper – Oof. Great tasting with a lovely amount of garnish on top. The patty’s taste flame grilled (even if we are dubious of whether this is actually so) and the whole ensemble works well. That said, there is no escaping that almost-four-figure-calorie-level and massive amount of fat. You’ll feel it.
  3. Wimpy 1/2 Pounder – A pleasant surprise. They finally stopped serving burgers in plain white buns (no artisan glazed Brioche rolls for these guys) and put out a pretty hefty specimen. Lettuce and onions are welcome, although the special sauce is a bit odd. Unfortunately, there are so few Wimpy restaurants around the country that you’ll probably need a car to drive them. Sadface.
  4. 5 Guys Hamburger – There’s something reassuring about a burger place that considers a little burger to only have one patty. This recent American transplant serves up a pretty decent sandwich. Slightly smaller than other offerings, the big advantage of these is that the only thing you pay for is the base burger; all toppings and trimmings (apart from Bacon and Cheese) are free. The only disadvantage is that it’s fairly pricy for what you’re getting.
  5. GBK Beef Burger – Pretty decent for a chain burger, especially one claiming the culinarily abused title of “gourmet”. A big solid bun with a decent size patty. That said, you’ll pay more for it than the other offerings here. There are also the other extras available on the menu, which will ramp up the calories and fat content (as well as the toll on your wallet).
  6. Rustlers “THE BIG ONE” – Standby of the drunken stagger home past the corner shop. If you’re in that state, you probably won’t mind but what you gain in convenience, you lose in quality. Depending on how reliable you’re microwave is, you may end up with a dry patty or reduce the whole thing to a greasy, steam-filled bun. It’s pretty nutritionally devoid (even for a burger) but it does precisely what it says on the tin packet and it’s pretty cheap.


The Verdict 

The final lineup is as follows;

6th place

Rustlers “THE BIG ONE”

5th place

McDonald’s Big Mac

4th place

Wimpy 1/2 Pounder

3rd place

GBK Beef Burger

2nd place

5 Guys Hamburger

The Winner of Extreme Eats UK’s casual High Street Burger is… The Burger King DOUBLE WHOOPER

Yes, it’s an artery clogging monster but it’s readily available, pretty tasty, and at least it means that you’re not out having something truly monstrous. Just don’t have more than one in one day.

All images Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons. Charts created via


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