The hype is real. Read more…
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- One of the best classic burgers in the world
- Shakes and crinkle-cut fries are not an afterthought and are awesome as well
- Modern and minimalist interior designed space
- Burgers are smaller than average
- Shack Stack®
- Cheese Fries
TL;DR – The hype is real! Shake Shack is where you go if you want the best burger in the world.
Yes I admit it, I’m a burger elitist. I’m a staunch believer in the classic burger and in my mind, that is the one and only way to make a burger.
Despite history disputing the true creator of the first burger, history does agree on the genesis of the idea. The burger was invented so people could eat beef easily on the go. The humble burger used to be all about the meat, where any condiments contributed to the burger itself rather than being added for the sake of being added.
And no goddamn brioche.
Unfortunately, we’ve lost our way. Burgers these days have enough bread to feed a family of four. They also have so many ingredients in them that not only do they taste like a mess, but you can only conquer them with a knife and fork. If ever there was a case of “less is more”, this would be it.
All this left me jaded for the future of burgers, but before I wrote off burgers forever, there was one place that had been on my radar for years now – Shake Shack. Ever since I first laid my eyes on the ShackBurger and saw the perfect burger smiling back at me, I knew it was the one. Turns out the “smiling” was not imaginary and was completely intentional; all Shake Shack burgers are constructed the same way with the visible sear on the patty, the cheese facing out and a full view of the lettuce and tomato.
So despite all the hype and expectation, Shake Shack was damn good. But you all knew that already didn’t you. The answer to the burning question that you all wanted to know, the question that has the human race more divided than the existence of God or Team Edward vs Team Jacob – “Shake Shack or In-N-Out?”
But I’d happily fly across the Pacific Ocean for both.
No bullshit brioche here
In my opinion, the bun is the most important component of a burger, and Shack Shake has nailed the perfect bun. The acid test of a good bun is whether you’re aware you’re actually eating bread at all. The moment you notice the bread is the moment a burger fails.
Shake Shack uses potato rolls from Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, a family-operated business in Pennsylvania, because they are softer and airier than regular buns. The buns are toasted on the inside only, keeping them soft and melt in your mouth, while preventing it from getting soggy from the meat and sauce. It also creates a wonderfully subtle textural interplay between soft and buttery crunch.
The beef, the star of the show, is best described as incredibly “beefy”. Apart from using the highest quality beef, what’s the secret to imparting so much flavour into the patty? The patty starts off very cold so that when it is cooked and smashed into the griddle, the beef retains most of its juices as the fats haven’t melted yet.
No one but Shake Shack knows the exact meat-to-fat ratio or the exact combination of sirloin, brisket, chuck, or short rib that make up the secret blend. But what everyone does know, is that it’s damn close to perfection.
ShackBurger® – Cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce (8.75/10)
This is their “signature” ShackBurger®. Maybe the patty was a little bit too salty and yes it’s a little bit on the small side. But the sauce was awesome and the bun was perfect. Simply, it’s the best beef burger I’ve ever had* (more on that later though)
SmokeShack™ – Cheeseburger topped with all-natural Applewood smoked Bacon, chopped Cherry Pepper and ShackSauce (7.5/10)
I’m not the biggest fan of bacon in my burgers, but in my quest to conquer the whole Shake Shack menu, here’s the SmokeShack™. Having found the meat in the ShackBurger bordering on salty, bacon was definitely not the right direction. The added cherry peppers made this a very intense burger. Unfortunately it would be my least favourite burger on the Shake Shack menu, but I can see the appeal. Still better than anything in Australia.
‘Shroom Burger – Crisp-fried Portobello Mushroom filled with Melted Muenster and Cheddar Cheeses, topped with Lettuce, Tomato and ShackSauce (9/10)
I didn’t read the description of the burger, so I ate it expecting a standard crumbed mushroom patty. Nekminnit, cheese explosion! The juicy mushroom with the soft pillowy melted cheese was wickedly good. Maybe being vegetarian isn’t all that bad.
Shack Stack® – Cheeseburger and a ’Shroom Burger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce (9.25/10)
As if from a fairytale, the ShackBurger was a little bit too hot, the ‘Shroom Burger was a little bit too cold, but Shack Stack®, a combination of both, was just right. The intense flavour from the meat combined with the intense juiciness of the mushroom made for an unbeatable combination. This is the burger to get at Shake Shack.
Chick’n Shack (upside down) – Crispy chicken breast with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo (6.5/10)
Shake Shack also now have a chicken burger…but you shouldn’t do it. I just really wished they had used thigh instead of breast meat.
Beyond adding extra pickles, onions or Shack Sauce here are some of the extra items you can get on the Shake Shack Secret Menu –
- Peanut Butter Bacon Burger – A Hamburger with bacon and a side of peanut butter normally used for the shakes. Assembly required.
- Shack-cago Burger – ShackBurger with relish, mustard and all the toppings from the Shack-cago Dog. Assembly required.
- “Hatch” ShackBurger – ShackBurger with chillies normally used in the hot dogs. Assembly required.
- Grilled Cheese with Tomato – No assembly required.
- Chilli Cheese Fries – Cheese fries with chopped chillies. No assembly required.
- Ice Cream Sandwich – Potato bun (toasted or soft) with ice cream normally used for the shakes. Assembly required.
Pretty average. Not worth the calories.
I don’t normally like crinkle cut chips, but these were damn near perfection. Not too thick or thin, great balance of crispy exterior and fluffy interior. The cheese sauce, special blend of cheddar and American cheese, is the proverbial icing on the cake.
Shake Shack without the shakes will just be Shack (har har). Not but they are seriously good.
Take your pick from the Shake of the Week or their standard flavours (vanilla, chocolate, caramel, black & white, strawberry, peanut butter or coffee)
This is probably the one and only time I’ll ever say this but “too much ice cream!”.
A concrete is frozen custard ice cream blended at high speed with toppings such as cheesecake, cookie dough or Belgian Waffles. You can make your own or choose from a selection of signature concretes which vary by store).
I found it a complete mess but I can see why people like it. Personally, I would save the space for another burger…or three. If you order the largest concrete size, it’s served in a free commemorative glow in the dark Shake Shack cup so you will always remember the time when ice cream conquered you.
The Chapel of Burgers
Earlier that day, I took a helicopter ride into one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon. And later that night, I won $250 on the blackjack table. But when I grow old and fondly look back on this day, it will be known for one thing and one thing only – my first Shake Shack burger.
Clockwise from top left – ShackBurger®, SmokeShack™, Shack Stack®, ‘Shroom Burger
So fellow foodies, what’s your favourite burger at Shake Shack?