100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 59, Peanut Butter and Jalapeño Jelly Burger at Wicked Whisk

wickedwhiskburger.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

Every time I think I've tried the best item that Wicked Whisk has to offer, the food truck surprises me the next time I visit: from pork belly udon during one visit to the Spamela Anderson burger (it's a Spam burger, just as its name would imply), the truck and its chef, Jay Stone, are always upping the game.

And then I met the peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger with bacon one day outside Petrol Station while the craft beer bar's kitchen was undergoing renovations. Wicked Whisk had served up some excellent poutine and a Spamela Anderson during my last visit to Petrol and I didn't think this odd-sounding burger could possibly be any better, but I gave it a shot.

The peanut butter astonishingly takes the place of cheese atop the thick, juicy patty with its salty flavor and creamy texture while providing only a small background hint of sweet nuttiness. There's a nice, porky swagger from the two strips of bacon and more sweetness -- this time tempered by a pleasant, low burn -- from the acid-green jalapeño jelly rounds it all out. Nothing else is needed; no produce, no condiments, nothing.

And if you notice from the photo above that the buns seem burned, Stone admits to doing that on purpose: "I like the umami flavor from the bitterness," he told me, "and the way it all works together." Now that Petrol's kitchen has reopened, I'm happy to have the signature Rancor burgers back where they belong -- but I'll miss Wicked Whisk's food together with Petrol's excellent beers something terrible.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill



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The Petrol Station

985 Wakefield, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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12 comments
lilolme
lilolme

Gee whiz... 1979, Ealing, W. London. A little place called "Crusts", iirc. The Presidential Burger: topped with spicy peanut butter! I can only imagine that the addition of jalapeno jelly & bacon take it, in modern parlance, to a different level. Sounds lovely!

ec
ec

Guess they must add some food coloring.  Never had jalapeno jelly like that.

LW
LW

Not sure as to what poutine uses, but fresh cheese curds squeak when you bite into them. Spec's and Central Market in Houston have them, but when I last called up the cheese department at CM, the curds they had at the time were ~1 month old, and lord knows how long they'd been in transit. Normally stuff like that doesn't matter for cheese, but curds lose their squeak within a few days after being made.  However, from experience, if you freeze curds while they're fresh, after their first defrosting, they will still have some squeak left.  Also, heated cheese curds don't squeak. So if you fry "old" cheese curds, no one cares how fresh they are anymore because fried cheese curds are delicious.  Source: Semi-annual trips to Wisconsin, and smuggling cheese curds back to Houston.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm told -- and someone please correct me if I'm wrong, as I've never had real poutine or cheese curds myself -- that the cheese curds used in proper poutine have to be super fresh, never refrigerated and "squeak" when you bite into them. Anyone?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

That occurred to me, although I didn't think the buns were "burnt" (as in the way that I would inevitably burn them by leaving them under the broiler too long) until Stone pointed it out -- which was completely unprompted by me.

Jason
Jason

b.s. i've been doing this burger in san diego for 3 years. killer combo for a burger.

Mon Ica
Mon Ica

wicked whisk rules! its so damn good.

JMTexas
JMTexas

OK...is it just me or is the umami buzz-word just a cover for a minute too long under the salamander?

Corey
Corey

They sell real Wisconsin cheese curds at Specs midtown.. Great stuff.

Tim
Tim

I had the Haymerchant version of poutine not too long ago and, while I can't say how it stacks up to the real thing, what was on the plate was delicious.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Not *real* poutine, unfortunately. Just fries with blue cheese and bacon. I've been told by Ryan Lachaine at Underbelly (a true Canadian, eh) that the cheese curds are far too difficult to get down here to make real poutine. He's working on it, though...

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

REAL poutine?  With cheese curds and all?  That burger is visually pleasing.  And I love jalapenos in any form.

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