dish-detail-cheeseburgerIt’s summer and that means grilling season is in high gear. We know there’s nothing like a juicy burger hot off your own grill, but what if the chef wants a night off? Worried that a restaurant’s offerings can’t compare to yours? Alabama has plenty of burgers sure to stack up against your backyard’s best.

Here are nine of the state’s tastiest burgers:

The Duke, Rattlesnake Saloon, Tuscumbia
This unique restaurant is known for its location inside a cave and for its burger called The Duke. This impressive half-pound patty is served with all the usual toppings, plus bacon and snake eyes (fried jalapeños).

Chili burger, Big Spring Cafe, Huntsville
The oldest restaurant in Huntsville still has old-fashioned prices — you can get a cheeseburger and fries here for less than $5. To keep the burgers juicy, Big Spring Cafe keeps the patties in au jus until it’s time to serve them. The signature dish, the chili burger, is a must-try.

Milo’s, Birmingham
Burgers are easily the most popular item on the menu at Milo’s, a favorite hamburger joint in Central Alabama. The restaurant’s “special sauce,” which has been around more than 60 years, is what makes the burgers extra special.

Whillard’s BBQ & Grill, Marion
Formerly known as J&R’s, Whillard’s claims to have the best burgers in the South. The no-frills restaurant is the perfect place for a good ol’ burger, with or without all of the fixin’s.

Bacon cheeseburger, Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, Mobile
A favorite neighborhood spot in the heart of downtown Mobile, this pub knows burgers. All of Callaghan’s burgers, patty melts and cheesesteaks are popular, but the must-try dish here is the bacon cheeseburger.

Big Daddy Burger, Big Daddy’s Grill, Fairhope
The Big Daddy Burger is the main attraction here. Smothered in cheese, onions and bacon, it’s something you don’t want to miss.

Big Bama Burger, The Hangout, Gulf Shores
The Big Bama Burger, formerly known as The Wipeout Burger, is a 10.5-ounce all-beef patty. It’s dressed up with cheddar cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and onion rings.

Cheeseburger in Paradise, LuLu’s at Homeport Marina, Gulf Shores
Owned by Lucy Buffett, LuLu’s features a dish named after the song “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” made famous by Lucy’s brother, Jimmy. This signature burger is also listed in the brochure “100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” Hand-pattied and made from all-natural grass-fed beef seasoned with Lulu’s Salty Peppa, the burger comes with all the usual toppings and your choice of cheese.

Cheeseburgers, Pirates Cove, Josephine
Enjoy the outstanding food at Pirates Cove while taking in the beautiful view of Arnica Bay. This spot is known for its delicious one-third-pound Angus beef cheeseburgers grilled fresh and covered in the restaurant’s own special sauce.

Hamburger Fonfon with Comté and Pommes Frites, Chez Fonfon, Birmingham
One of three award-winning Frank Stitt restaurants in Birmingham, Chez Fonfon serves a nationally recognized signature burger. You’ll see that this is no ordinary hamburger. Topped with melty Comté cheese, Fonfon’s version reflects the French influences of this downtown bistro.

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The views expressed here are those of the author.