Donut Burger, The Smoke Haus - Birmingham, UK

Ahh, American barbecue joints. They're a dime a dozen over here now it would seem. Fortunately for me, I am a sucker for them as the portions are often large, the food is fried goodness and I'm always getting a burger! 'The Smoke Haus' sits at the heart of Brindley Place overlooking the canals and fits the American barbecue joint template to a tee.

The interior can be closely described as the offspring of a Hard Rock Cafe that made love to a TGI Friday's that made love to a graffiti artist (uhhh, three-way?). With scattered pop culture photography/memorabilia and graffiti across the walls, the restaurant has cool vibes for sure. Let's look at the menu.

Ribs, monstrous sandwiches, steaks, hot-dogs, mixed grills and burgers. Basically ... MEAT. The menu featured seven burgers with a variety of toppings including macaroni, pulled pork and roquito peppers, as well as chicken and doughnut options. Seeking a little sweetness for my lunch, I went down the doughnut route, opting for the aptly named 'Donut Burger': 8oz patty, swiss cheese, smoked streaky bacon and sweet sauce between two sweet glazed doughnuts.

Mm! The doughnut burger is a beautiful thing. Visually, this was a stunner; the top doughnut drizzled in 'sweet sauce' with bacon atop the cheese atop the patty and more 'sweet sauce' oozing out of the bottom doughnut. Okay, let's dance.

My usual reservation with doughnut burgers is eating two doughnuts at once (top and bottom buns), resulting in a sickly sweet overload. Surprisingly, these doughnuts were not actually too sweet aiding the overall taste and not plummeting the burger in to a Willy Wonka fest. However, they were unfortunately not as fresh as I'd have liked, lacking the light and airy nature you get from, let's say, a Krispy Kreme. On-top of this, the bread ratio was also a touch too high.

The cheese was thinly layered and too mild to stand out. As the patty was reasonably sized, paired with the two doughnuts, a thicker layer of cheese would have benefitted in driving more flavour.

The 'sweet sauce' was indeed sweet. Who'd have thought? I would pinpoint it as some kind of maple syrup, which worked well, especially with the bacon. Although it would be difficult to add another sauce to this burger without ruining the overall synergy, I still felt like it lacked that something more. Perhaps that thicker layer of cheese would have combated this.

The bacon was a perfect addition for sure. It was crispy and flavoursome, standing out amidst the sweetness. The patty, however, was not quite as magical. Despite some light seasoning that pulled through to the tastebuds, the cook-time of well-done zapped a lot of the juices out of the meat.

Luther burgers are very difficult to master. Whilst the 'Donut Burger' at 'The Smoke Haus' was enjoyable, it did not quite tick all of the boxes. Although it was refreshing to not be overloaded with sweetness, the overall flavour felt like it was missing that something more. On-top of this, the patty was somewhat dry and the cheese somewhat lacking. I will be heading back to 'The Smoke Haus' for sure, though I will likely sample some of the other burgers on the menu and cure my sweet-tooth with their awesome dessert selection instead.

Patty Master Musings:

  • We sat at the front windows directly overlooking Brindley Place. Beautiful spot to sit and people watch.
  • My partner had a huge hot dog. No innuendo. It was delicious... she said.
  • Did I Dip It? I did not, though I am not sure what I would have dipped it in to anyway.

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