The much-touted, often dubious "Hangover Cure" has existed for almost as long as the hangover itself.
In fact, the first hangover cure is said to date to the mid-17th century, when two frat boys at The Sorbonne tried eating salted honey, plum rinds and tree bark to get rid of a vicious Natty Bo hangover. From medicines to old wives' tales, for as long as man has been overdoing it, he has sought a way to mitigate the effects of the dreaded hangover.
In Houston, at least two local eateries feature a "Hangover" menu item: Jus' Mac with its "Hangover Mac and Cheese" and Hubcap Grill's 19th Street location with its "Hangover Burger."
Both are fat-filled, ingredient-glut items aimed to sate that rolling stomach and calm the pounding skull. I decided to pack up my road-weary liver and poor life choices and set out to put both "cures" to the test.
The Hangover Burger from Hubcap Grill
I hope you are at least starting to sober up at this point, because even fitting this giant burger in your face is a task. You probably still have last night's 3 a.m. Taco Bell on your shirt; let's not make it worse.
The burger itself is a study in excess brought to you by a burger place that takes self-indulgence to Tarantino-esque levels. Since adding just one pork product to a hamburger is at this point passé, Hubcap offers up a thick beef patty covered in crispy, blackened bacon which is itself topped with a palm-size hunk of grilled ham. Topping that monstrosity of meat is a good quarter order of Hubcap's fries and cream gravy. You might as well add a fried egg on top for an extra buck.
Suffice to say, the burger is excellent. I would have liked some heat from, say, Sriracha, but being subjective, I am an advocate of the use of Sriracha in everything from baked goods to foreplay, so my bias here is clear. Some acidity, like tomatoes or pickles, in the monster burger couldn't have hurt, either, but adding veggies to this beast borders on heresy so I'll let that slide as well.
Now for the real science: How does it hold up as a hangover cure? I've broken it down to a score based on a patented formula using fat content, comfort food factor and shear ludicrousnessitude of ingredients, along with several other undisclosed but highly scientific measures. Also factored in: bonus points I made up because I felt like it.
Hangover dissipation quotient: 8.1 The Hangover Burger has all four major drunken food groups: beef, bacon, gravy and self-loathing. A hangover food champion for sure.
Bonus jaw damage points : 1.2 Unless you have a background in porn or have a jaw like those vampires in Blade II (shout out to the three people reading this who've seen Blade II) , the pain in your jaw after you finish is going to make you forget all about the jackhammer going on in your head.
Soundtrack points: -.5 I love Hubcap's very well-curated jukebox, I really do, but Mötley Crüe and The Cult aren't doing anything for my pounding head. And stop looking at me so loud while you're at it. Fuck.
Overall score: 8.8 A strong score, to be sure. The Hangover Burger is enough to cure the hangover you earned while drinking to forget you saw The Hangover 2. But is it enough to top...
Hangover Mac and Cheese from Jus' Mac
This order of Mac and Cheese poses a dilemma. It's ugly. If your morning delirium tremens is making you particularly queasy, The Hangover Mac and Cheese may be a no-go for you. Once you get over the fact that it looks a bit like dog-food casserole, it's an awesome meal. Not all of Jus' Mac's specialty menu items are winners; some are just abominations to the holy name of Mac and Cheese.
The Hangover, however, is Jus' Mac's crown jewel. It starts with the standard mac and cheese served in a small, personal-size cast-iron skillet interspersed with bacon. Throw in some hash browns with sautéed onions and tomatoes for a diced and smothered nod to Waffle House. Then, keeping with the theme of really overdoing things, it is topped with a fried egg, jalapeños and a house-made green habanero salsa. The habanero salsa is completely uncalled for here, and it's pitch perfect.
On to the scorers table:
Hangover Cure Quotient: 8.4 This cream and carbohydrate train-wreck has a high shovelability factor, an importance I cannot overemphasize. You'll have inhaled it before the skillet stops sizzling.
Parking Lot Bumper Car Probability Factor: -.6 Let's face it, you may still be drunk. Making it out of this Lilliputian parking lot unscathed is going to be a miracle.
Mac and Cheese Bonus Points: 1 Macaroni and cheese always receives one bonus point. It's a physical law.
Overall Score: 8.8 A dead-heat tie at the scoreboard. Tiebreaker round goes to...
Oh, come on...look at that beer list. You thought an article about hangovers wasn't gonna come down to booze? And let's be honest, we all know the only real hangover cure is more alcohol.
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Winner: Hubcap Grill's Hangover Burger
Additional Notes: *No, I don't condone irresponsible drinking (ahem). *Yes, I know tomatoes aren't vegetables. *Yes, I made these additional notes by trying to troll my own article.