Motel Nomad




FOOD: Why our In-House restaurant Yankee D’s came through drippin’ as Cairns’ Best Burger 2018


You’ll be happier than a pig in mud with this love-made southern style menu. If you’re vegan they got you too, it’ll surely dill your pickle. Ya’ll better believe it! 

Yankee D’s first opened in Cairns in 2015 and they’ve been busier than a moth in a mitten ever since! This year, the family owned business was voted Cairns Best Burger in Triple M Radio’s community competition. The contestants were broadcast, and votes from the region poured into the station. Their success they say is the love that goes into their creations. Gathering inspiration from dishes in the south of the United States of America, Yankee D’s achieves a unique culmination of flavours akin to that of the south, and amalgamates them into classic American dishes.

Yankee D's Wins Best Burger

Yankee D’s Wins Cairns Best Burger.

Picture Source: Triple M Radio Facebook

Understanding what makes Yankee D’s burgers the best in town really starts with getting to know Dallas. Not the metropolis city in the United States state of Texas. Dallas the Business Owner and Head Chef, with an affinity for American, Texas-inspired cuisine. With a name like that, it is no wonder his love of food took the path to become Yankee D’s. Working closely with his wife Misty who manages business operations, Dallas’ creations have become a Cairns favourite. 


Misty & Dallas, Restaurant Owners.

It’s not Dallas’ first rodeo. Throughout his chefing career, Dallas had practiced the process of creating the umami flavour through meat preparation and cooking. Burgers, which were traditionally a fast food, but now a popular restaurant experience, he says are a great way to showcase the umami flavour phenomenon. All of Yankee D’s burgers are cooked on the chargrill. This method allows just the right amount of sear. As the meat is cooking on the grill, oil drips down to then turn to smoke that rises to further flavour the meat. What you end up with is a full, circular flavour to tantalise the taste buds.

Mouth waterin’ yet?

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It’ll leave you wanting more.

Browning, or the maillard reaction, of the meat is enhanced as the burger seasoning caramalises as it cooks. Yankee D’s sources the best grain or grass-fed, Australian beef which Dallas smashes and seasons the burger patties himself. It is imperative, he says, that the burgers are made of one hundred percent beef or lamb. The Beef patties are made with a secret seasoning that only Dallas knows the recipe for, and the Lamb is seasoned with a garlic, rosemary, lemon and smoked paprika mix.  

Although the burgers are Cairns’ best, Yankee D’s customers say that the Bourbon Cola Ribs are the show stopper, making them Yankee D’s signature dish. The succulent ribs come dripping in yet another secret sauce recipe. This is a case of the name saying it all, the sauce having hints of bourbon and cola flavour. That isn’t the only style of meat though, they also smoke meats on a Texas Offset Smoker, including brisket, pulled pork, wings, pork belly and meat balls. 


Texas Offset Smoker

Catch Dallas smoking meats on this in their laneway bar and eatery.

So what is it about the secret sauce recipes that they use on the burgers. Every week Dallas takes an entire day to spend making sauces. The Yankee D’s ‘Burger Ketchup’ is simple but flavoursome tomato-based recipe with a hint of pickle. But it is the Texas Red sauce that is the epitome of a great signature sauce says Dallas. Basically, it’s the bee’s knees. It is Yankee D’s crowd favourite, and a secret recipe that only Dallas knows and only he can make. Coming in versions of chillies which scale the heat of the sauce including one version with Poblano (mild spice) chillies, one with Cayenne (medium spice) chillies and one with Habanero (HOT) chillies. On popular demand, they have begun bottling some of these for purchase from within. 

Before you order your food, you are likely to have a good belly laugh first. Dallas and Misty have had some fun naming their menu creations after classic American popular culture, and thrown in the occasional pun. Chew on these favourites; Classi-fried Buttermilk Chicken, Uncle Sam’s Catch, Chicken Ranchero, Southern McLovin Burger, Las Vegan Burger, Where’s Timmy Burger, The Shotgun Burger, B.I.G. Poppa burger and Carolina Chilli Dog to name a few. Eat inside in the relaxed restaurant, or out in the sunshine of the laneway. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming events – and ya’ll come back now ya’ hear! 

Image Credits: Some images provided by Yankee D’s, and some taken by MN.

AUTHOR: Carli Willis

Ronald Lord