For the Win
Sandwiches are for the people, and so I hope Sandwich of the Week maintains some universal appeal even when it describes sandwiches most readers will never actually eat. But to keep things interesting and accessible, I also plan to mix in some homemade sandwiches and sandwiches available at chain restaurants. This is the latter.
For my money, the original Shack Burger from Shake Shack stands as this nation’s best fast-food cheeseburger. I recognize this as a divisive topic, and I understand the case for an animal-style In-N-Out Double-Double if one is considering the ratio of deliciousness to cost. But in terms of flavor and quality and consistency, no burger I have sampled from any fast (or, in Shake Shack’s case, fast-ish) food place anywhere matches up to the classic Shake Shack offering, with its juicy, salty beef and soft bun and crunchy lettuce and sweet tomato and creamy sauce and melty cheese. It’s as close to perfect as a fast-food burger can be, in this author’s well-researched opinion.
None of the Shake Shack locations I visit show signs of weakening as the once-local burger brand continues to explode into a national chain. I remember the original Shake Shack location in Madison Square Park as a destination I would seek out just a few years ago; now there are Shake Shacks in 17 states and a whole host of international locations.
Bacon Cheddar Shack from Shake Shack. This is a seasonal special that may not be available at every Shake Shack location but does seem to be on the menu at many of them, based on a swift search of Twitter and Instagram.
A beef burger with bacon and cheddar cheese sauce on a potato bun.
Important background information
I don’t really know what’s wrong with me. There’s a Shake Shack a few blocks from my apartment, but my efforts to strike the appropriate balance between living my best life and living a pretty good life for as long as possible mean I probably eat there about once a month. That’s not nearly enough to get sick of something as incredible as the original Shackburger, and yet I get tempted away by seasonal specials all the freaking time.
I think, “Well, it’s the burger I love with bacon and cheddar cheese sauce, how could that not be an upgrade?” And so I plow forward with it, as though I am somehow discontent with a burger I already believe perfect, or something damn near.
What it looks like
How it tastes
Great, but not as good as the original Shackburger. And it’s a tough one to figure out, as the cheese sauce — though unevenly distributed, in my case — is on its own way better than the slice of American cheese you get on the regular Shackburger, and the appropriately prepared bacon here is clearly way better than the wholesale lack of bacon on its traditional cousin.
But there’s a synergy that’s lacking here. Here’s my thing: The best sandwiches are constructed of ingredients that all become better for their inclusion on the sandwich than they would be on their own. And though this thing I’m eating is a bacon cheeseburger, and in general I love bacon cheeseburgers more than just about anything else in the world, this particular bacon cheeseburger just does not sing to me the way a traditional Shackburger does.
The lack of the Shack sauce costs it some sweetness and, more importantly, some moisture: The cheese sauce here is left to do all of the dressing, and while it’s creamy and delicious, it is a bit thick in texture to give the proper sort of wetness necessary to balance the burger. Does that make sense? And, again, I’m holding it up against the original Shackburger, which gains extra moisture (and flavor) from the inclusion of a tomato.
(I should note, obviously, that one could easily order a Cheddar Bacon Shack with lettuce, tomato and Shack sauce. I try to review sandwiches as they are presented on the menu, minus my own alterations.)
I added some ketchup for all the reasons one might add ketchup, but the flavor of the cheese sauce is mild enough that the sweet, vinegary ketchup flavor drowns it out when combined. And the bacon, though tasty, fails to match the OG Shackburger’s romaine lettuce for crunch.
There’s a lesson here, I think: We need to learn to be content with the things we love instead of seeking ways to improve them. I can walk three blocks and get the best fast-food burger I know of anywhere, and yet for some reason I sometimes hope for more from the menu. The Cheddar Bacon Shack, though still very good, is simply not that.
What it costs
Prices vary by location, but I think the Shake Shack near me charged about $7.50 for a Cheddar Bacon Shack.
How it rates
70 out of 100. It’s an excellent sandwich in that it’s a hunk of good ground beef topped with bacon and cheese, but it’s only worth getting if you somehow need a break from old-school Shackburgers.
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Source: Healthy Nutrimania