Burgers and Barbecue Collide with Shake Shack's Lockhart Link Burger
The Lockhart Link Burger ($7.49) is Shake Shack's limited availability special (Chestnut Hill and Harvard Square locations in the Boston area) previewing a full time menu item that'll be available exclusively at the Austin TX Shake Shack once it opens later this year. It's a cheeseburger topped with Shack sauce, pickles and a griddled jalapeño cheese sausage link from the legendary Kreuz Market (Lockhart TX).
I'll cut right to the chase.
The good news: the Lockhart Link Burger was very enjoyable and I'd get it again. The bad news: the whole is less than the sum of its parts, but in a way that was obvious from the start. Take two iconic items and mix them together and there's bound to be some drop off; after all, both items are starting quite high on their own.
First, there's the Shake Shack burger. Beefy, salty, bumpy, crusty and still more tender than any fast food burger could ever be, it's one of America's affordable luxuries. In its standard form it's typically served with just cheese and maybe one condiment; the beef and buns are both good enough that it really doesn't need anything more.
Then there's the Kreuz sausage, shipped up from one of the world's iconic barbecue joints. That meat flavor is strong, made stronger by smoke and stronger still by pepper—both the coarse black pepper and the jalapeño. Cheddar is in there too, but is more of a complementary player.
On the way over, I wondered about the assembly. Would they top the burger with slices, pepperoni style? Would they cut the link in half and then buttefly the two halves? Would they just slap the whole thing on? Turns out they came closest to doing that last one, only with a half sausauge: intact from end to end but bisected along the cross section.
Kreuz sausage arrives in a funny horseshoe-shape, formed from being hog-tied and hung by string on dowels in the smoker. This ensures even cooking and prevents the casing from contacting the smoker racks. Ironically, a 2-minute griddling undid all that surface preserving. And preserving that U-shape might not have allowed a both-meats-in-every-bite experience that butterflying would achieve, but it turned out to be a brilliant move. Because of the protrusions at the ends and a big void in the middle, some bites had burger and sausage, some had burger only and some had sausage only. The mixing and matching worked out great, and it was the solos that trumped harmonies.
My NYC Shake Shack review
My Westport & New Haven CT Shake Shack review
My Chestnut Hill and Harvard Square Shake Shack review
My Six Tips for Optimizing Your First Visit to Shake Shack
Yelp reviews of Shake Shack Chestnut Hill
Yelp reviews of Shake Shack Harvard Square
Urbanspoon reviews of Shake Shack Chestnut Hill
Urbanspoon reviews of Shake Shack Harvard Square
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