Photos by Darrin Devault
Don't throw away the paper wrapping for the Two Timer, a deep-fried double cheese burger. You will probably need it.
Ubee’s, an ubiquitous college hang near the University of Memphis, is a little hard to find. Only a sandwich sign on Highland Avenue announces delivery service until 3 a.m. and directs drivers into the strip mall, where Ubee’s is tucked away in the back.
Despite its hidden location, writers for Thrillist.com found Ubee’s last month and handed the restaurant’s Two Timer an impressive ranking: number four on the site’s list of “21 Best College Burgers in America.”
Accolades center around how the Two Timer (double patty, double cheese) is deep-fried in grease imported from Dyer’s Burgers, a Memphis tradition now located on Beale Street. Advocates claim the decades-old grease gives burgers an irresistible smoky flavor. Doubtful but curious, I asked Aaron Odom, who works at Ubee’s, about the grease’s starring role.
Most people don’t realize that hamburgers make a lot of grease when they cook, Odom said. “So the grease isn’t really, like, 30 years old,” he said. “New grease gets made everyday, and we skim it and clean it every night.”
Odom’s explanation is a bit of a comfort when he drops the patties for my burger into the grease, bubbling away on a gas-fired stove top. I watch, somewhat mesmerized, as the meat bobs up and down like a buoy on a choppy sea.
When the patties settle down and float, Odom dips two American cheese slices in and out of the grease (ugh!) and then plops everything on a soft bun prepped with pickles, onions and mustard.
Surrounded by hand-cut fries (salty and quite good), the burger in its Tiger blue paper wrapping looks appetizing enough. I bite in, ready to hate the Two Timer. But after a minute or two, I feel like I’m celebrating a memorable trifecta of meat, grease and bread. I keep eating, outpacing my pal Darrin, who gives up on his double cheeseburger about mid-way through.
Will I go back for a repeat date with the Two Timing burger and maybe a side of Tiger Balls? Probably not. Is the Two Timer, deep-fried in the city’s most legendary grease, worth a try for first-timers? Absolutely.
Ubee’s, 521 S. Highland (901-323-0990)
Editor's Note: This Ubee's post kicks off a periodic series called "Hamburger Helper: A Collegiate Guide to the Best Burgers in Memphis." I teach at the University of Memphis, but the rest of the series will be written by my students who know a lot more about eating burgers than me.