2016 Best Burger Search: The Smoke Pit
Restaurant: The Smoke Pit
Address: 11A The Ridings, Northampton NN1 2AQ
Chosen burger: Ol’ Dirty Burger
Consists of: Ketchup, Mustard, Gherkin, American Cheese, Pickled Onion, Streaky Bacon, Beef Burger
As the search continues for the best burgers Northampton has to offer, it was time to revisit Northampton’s meat smoking pros; we are of course talking about the Smoke Pit. Having been open for just over a year, the Smoke Pit has made a name for itself for offering gents lots of meat and lots of flavour. Taking inspiration from across the pond, the restaurant is able to create their mouth watering sauces, sides, steaks and more using their incredibly large grill and heavy duty smoker.
Having missed out on those elusive five stars last year, the team has since refined their recipes and expanded the menu so we felt it was time to put the Smoke Pit back to the ultimate burger test. Were they able to serve up a burger that surpassed 2015’s admirable attempt?
Ol’ Dirty Burger
Let us begin by saying that any burger that pays homage to one of the Wu Tang Clan’s most famous founding fathers is OK in our books. Secondly, just take a look at the burger above. Have a really good look; effort has gone into making sure that burger looks appetizing and fills us with a sense of confidence that the chef cares about what is served up. As we know though, looks are not everything and it is what is on the inside the counts… in this case, the inside being a beef patty.
So let us talk about the beef. It really was the star of the show. The rich, wonderfully flavoursome beef managed to maintain its meaty moisture without ever becoming greasy. Alliteration aside, the lightly toasted bun was slight – meaning there was not too much bread to get through – allowing the patty take centre stage.
Hats off to the Smoke Pit for finding the perfect balance of toppings as well. Like a gent buying the biggest truck possible and riding around with a python in the passenger seat, we often see burgers trying to use an excess of toppings to overcompensate for the shortcomings of the beef. Fortunately, the Smoke Pit managed to find the perfect equilibrium. The combination of acidity from the tomato sauce and mild kick from the mustard paired perfectly with the succulent beef without making the bread sodden. Add the saltiness of the streaky bacon – cooked just enough not to be stringy – and the soft, melted American cheese and it is clear that the kitchen know their burgers. The masterpiece of the whole affair was the pickled onion, which injected a delicious tangy element that was refreshing and helped cut through the richness of the cheese and beef.
After last year’s burger, it is safe to say our expectations for the Smoke Pit were extraordinarily high. We are pleased to let you know gents that the Smoke Pit not only managed to meet these expectations, but positively exceed them. The burger will likely be running around in our minds for weeks to come. The Ol’ Dirty Burger was packed with all the guilty pleasures you would expect from a burger with that name but had an element of refinement with the use of high quality ingredients and the brilliant balance of flavours and textures.
Throwing in a portion of crispy, salty Sweet Potato Fries (£3.00) was a masterstroke and whilst food fatigue prevented us from finishing the Mac ‘n’ Cheese (£4.50), we felt no shame as we struggled to raise the fork to our mouths and have one more bite of the luxuriously hot and creamy macaroni.
Yes gents, our first five stars of 2016 is here! Unable to shake the memories of rich meat and the tangy pickled onions, it is hard to remember what other burgers we have had tasted like since the Ol’ Dirty Burger passed our lips. We suggest giving it a go; any self-respecting gent will leave thoroughly impressed and slightly in awe. Simply put, it is a special burger.