Ketchup, mustard and pickles are fine and dandy , but when you want to create a truly memorable sandwich, take a look at some inspired burger toppings from chefs around the country.

Red wine onion topped lamb burger at Barking Frog in Woodinville, Wash.
Red wine onion topped lamb burger at Barking Frog in Woodinville, Wash.

Chuck's Dirty South Burger is like two sandwiches in one, with pulled pork piled on the ground beef patty at this Ashley Christensen restaurant in Raleigh, N.C. If that seems like a mouthful, get ready for more. There's also red pea chili, crispy "tobacco onions" and a roasted tomato-malt vinegar slaw on this beauty of a jaw-testing sandwich. Drooling yet?

Chuck's Dirty South Burger
BBQ pork-topped signature burger at Chuck's in Raleigh, N.C. Photo via Chuck's

In Memphis, Tenn., Hog & Hominy's John T. Edge Burger -- named for the executive director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of a book called Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story -- is a study in simplicity compared to over-the-top creations. Grilled onions, American cheese and yellow mustard show off the juicy ground beef seared on the flat-top grill. The kicker? Chopped iceberg lettuce dressed in pickle juice. Brilliant!

Michael Hudman with Hog & Hominy's John T Edge Burger
Chef Michael Hudman with Hog & Hominy's John T. Edge Burger. Photo by Dave Darnell

Culina is known for its sophisticated Italian fare in Beverly Hills, Calif., but its customers love the Hamburger Americano, which is made with ground short ribs or turkey, and slathered with an aioli fired up by the addition of Calabrian chili peppers.

Eureka!, a California-based restaurant group with 15 locations, bumps up the beefy profile of one of its signature burgers by adding beef marrow, a substance that's referred to by some as butter of the gods. Hey, don't knock it until you've tried this extra-rich flavor bomb.

Just down the road from Microsoft's HQ in Redmond, Wash., Tipsy Cow Burger Bar has got a hot mess called the Rock Star on its fun menu. It's a grass-fed beef patty party and guess who's invited? Beer-battered and deep-fried bacon -- a maple syrup drizzle as the sweet note to the smoky pork -- plus a fried egg, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and secret sauce. Don't even start to add up the calories. Just grab some extra napkins and enjoy.

Chef Bobby Moore's lamb burger at Barking Frog goes ultra-rich in its finishing touches of garlic aioli and goat cheese. It's balanced with bright, tartness by pulling red wine marinated onions and arugula into the equation. That winning topping combo has made the super succulent burger a huge hit in the heart of Woodinville, Wash., wine country. Watch this short video of chef Bobby putting the lamb burger together.