Better after-last call meal — White Castle mini-burgers or Waffle House hash browns

White Castle classic mini-burgers

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.5 g

Let’s get this straight right off the bat — For all the great reasons Harold and Kumar extolled the virtues of White Castle burgers, they were stoned out of their gourds. We’re talking late night drunken recovery food, here. But White Castle burgers hold up well by that measure, too.

At 140 calories and 6 grams of fat a pop for the classic variety with no cheese or 170 calories and 9 grams of fat for the mini-cheeseburger, you’re probably talking 1,120 to 1,360 calories and 48 to 72 grams of fat for an adequate soberizing, preventative hangover killing meal. That’s exactly the kind of base you’re going to need to have the strength to match wits with your wasted friends when they’re trying to hash out whether Sea Isle or Seaside Heights is the better spot to pick up dumb broads on the Jersey Shore. Those sorry looking little beef patties are packed with a mind-bending amount of flavor, and over salted beef product is to drunk people as electrolyte-loaded gel packs are to marathon runners, no less than life saving. All that bread can be a little bit of a detractor to an otherwise beautiful experience in the inhibitionless state of drunken nirvana, but it does do you the favor of soaking up some of that DUI waiting to happen in your stomach.

Culturally, the White Castle at 3 a.m. also offers a nice blend of stoners emerging from their acoustic guitar- and bad DVD collection-filled smoke dens and obnoxiously loud 20-something drunks now trying to pick up the burger-loving fat girl after the better fare at the top 40 cover club was already taken. Odds are, you will be a member of one of those groups and will enjoy being around your fellow clansmen, while the other group will provide ample fodder to mock while you delve into your glorious burger-lets.


Waffle House hash browns

  • Calories: unknown
  • Fat: unknown
  • Saturated fat: unknown

You’ve got to respect a near national chain that says, “You know what, fuck you health movement. You know our food is made of dead fat people’s ass holes and stray animals, and we’ll be damned if we’re going to let you chicken-hugging, shitty organic red chard eating sons of bitches make us give you nutritional information. It’s good, just eat the fucking ham-like meat product.”

Despite not knowing what’s going into your body, there is no question that the real star of the South’s favorite place to slowly kill yourself is the hash browns. You can get ‘em scattered (spread on the grill), smothered (with onions), covered (with cheese), chunked (with ham), diced (with diced tomatoes), peppered (with jalapeño peppers), capped (with mushrooms), topped (with chili) and “all the way” (with all available toppings). Depending on what your needs are for the night, there are a lot of different order combinations you should consider. For example, need to evacuate one-third of a keg out the back before it comes back out the front: Go covered, peppered and topped. That spicy mound of grease on your plate pretending to be your serving of vegetables for the day will provide you sparsely enough time to finish before you must evacuate every ounce of matter from inside your body down to your nightmares in a bathroom that probably hasn’t been cleaned since Jimmy Carter was growing peanuts in Georgia.

But for my money, the best all purpose recovery browns come scattered, smothered, covered and chunked. Grilled onions and cheese are going to provide enough added grease and flavor that your debaucherous drunken mind won’t let you stop eating short of a triple order. Not to mention, the Waffle House’s open cooking surface will guarantee you get plenty of “bonus meal” bits from Bubba the Trucker’s steak and eggs and Carl the Cop’s bacon and cheddar omelet to make things interesting. The ham will give you the protein you need to survive the next day, even if it strikes you down in your prime and results in you having a two out of three chance among the son of Abraham religions of being cast into the fiery pits of hell. But in the South, folks like to ask What Would Jesus Do? You can bet your wasted ass they’ll tell you he’d be stumbling onto a Waffle House stool at 4 a.m. for a hot pork and potato injection (mostly because my fellow Southerns are too fat and dumb to know the King of the Jews probably didn’t get down with the swine).

The verdict

I see this battle as a traditional Northeast versus Southeast regional junk food debate. It’s a tough choice, almost as difficult as picking who’s worse: An easy-on-the-gel-buddy, black wife beater-wearing Jersey douchebag or a mop topped future wife beating southern college frat boy.

While White Castle burgers can match the alcohol absorbing power of the Waffle House browns carb for carb, browns really are one of the more underrated providers of soul preserving grease on the planet.  With nigh on a dozen topping choices, Waffle House’s hash browns win in flavor diversity, but White Castles score a point with one word: beef.

When it comes down to it, all that alcohol floating around in your belly at 4 a.m. needs some real meat-and-potato weight to settle it, not paper-thin beef patties and 80% bread content that will be instantly transformed into Jaegger slush with the amount of rounds you were buying in a failed attempt to get your buddy’s hot friend drunk enough to go home with you. Rejected, hammered and tired? Go with smothered, covered and chunked.

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