I'm not sure any food can be truly, flawlessly perfect, but the much beloved Shack Burger at Shake Shack is certainly close in my book. That's why I felt a bit of trepidation upon hearing about the Smoke Shack ($6.25), a new addition to the Shack's rarely-changing menu.
The Smoke Shack is a classic Shack Burger, minus the lettuce and tomato, and with the addition of cherry pepper relish and Niman Ranch applewood-smoked bacon. The bacon is good, but the relish is the real story here: It adds a sweet, slightly hot tang to the burger that a pickle might, only this relish is much more delicious than mere pickles. Not to downplay this bacon; it's good, smokey and cooked to the perfect crispiness, even surviving its trip on the subway back to Serious Eats HQ without turning the least bit limp.
The Smoke Shack is a nice change of pace, but it won't be my new go-to order. I might be adding cherry pepper relish to my Shack Burgers from now on, though.