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.
About the author: Ben Fishner is currently planning his next meal. In addition to contributing to Serious Eats and working at SEHQ on various technical projects, he blogs at Ben Cooks Everything. Follow him on Twitter at @fozziebayer, won't you?