Photograph: Terri Lewis

On your way to: Detroit 
Stop: Schlenker’s Sandwich Shop, Jackson, Michigan
Grab a seat at the U-shaped counter and order your burger with “everything sauce,” a delicious combination of diced onion, mustard, relish, and spices. Or try an olive burger, a tangy western Michigan specialty that features mayo mixed with chopped green olives. 1104 E. Ganson St. 

On your way to: Milwaukee
Stop: Kewpee Sandwich Shop, Racine, Wisconsin
After peaking at more than 400 locations just before World War II, the country’s second-oldest hamburger chain is down to just five. The burgers at this one have been made virtually the same way since 1926. Get the double for perfect meat-to-bun ratio. 520 Wisconsin Ave.

On your way to: Minneapolis
Stop: The Oakcrest Tavern, Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is a hotbed of good burgers, but it’s tough to top those from this classic tavern. Six-ounce patties of locally butchered beef are grilled behind the bar and come with lettuce, tomato, and a slice of raw onion (you can ask for grilled). 5371 Old Middleton Rd.

Photograph: Triple XXX Family Restaurant

On your way to: Indianapolis 
Stop: Triple XXX Family Restaurant, West Lafayette, Indiana
Named for its root beer brand, this drive-in is known for the Duane Purvis All-American burger. It’s made with a quarter-pound chopped steak patty served on a toasted sesame seed bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, raw onion … and peanut butter (trust us, it works). 2 N. Salisbury St.

On your way to: St. Louis 
Stop: Sunrise Cafe, Springfield
The smash burger trend can be traced to central Illinois, so stop at this daytime diner for one of the region’s best. Locals call it Hamburger Dan’s for its longtime owner, who smashes grilled onions into patties that sport extra-crisp edges. 1201 S. Second St.

On your way to: Columbus, Ohio
Stop: Powers Hamburgers, Fort Wayne, Indiana
With its white enameled building, it’s impossible not to compare one of the nation’s last independent slider shops to White Castle. But it’s not even close when it comes to the burgers — these are made with fresh balls of beef smashed into shaved onions on a hot flattop. 1402 S. Harrison St.