(Written last week) - I got shut out here yesterday because they were sold out of contest burgers by 1:30pm. I thought that was quite odd, but it forced me to go elsewhere. (I went to Loka, which ended up being the very, very best burger in this competition so far.) I also tried to make a reservation for a friend and I for tomorrow afternoon, but Broken Hill was to be closed for renovations on that day. Not having much luck with this place. Strike 2! Today was gonna be my last try at it, 'cause after three strikes, it's time to move on. (Smash Burger Truck ran into that fate.)
I was glad to get in today, and based on the smell of the room, you could tell that they were busy slingin' burgers. I was psyched to see what was gonna arrive at my table.
The service was a bit slower than I had seen on my burger tour, so if you are going to go to Broken Hill, make sure you have a bit more time for it. Waiting definitely gets that good ol' anticipation revved up though, I'll say that for sure, so maybe that's a good thing.
When it was delivered to my table, I immediately named it the Leaning Tower of Burger. The difference though is that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is still standing, whereas with my burger, I barely got off two photos before it fell over. Not gonna say that is a plus, 'cause now I have to play construction guy.
The patty was far too small compared to the rest of what they loaded it with. Maybe if it was in a proper proportion, the patty could have acted more like an anchor to stop it from tipping over, but alas, no dice! No sense dwelling in "what if's" though. Down it went, so that was that.
Aside from the 'timberrrr moment,' the very first thing I locked onto were the two onion rings. They left me with this impression...
"Two onion rings = one too many!"
I guess if I were to pull something positive from it being served on such a slant, resulting in the immediate collapse, is that I was able to inspect some of the hidden layers. (Hint: Jalapenos!)
The bacon slabs were really thick. Too thick for bacon. You wouldn't think that was possible, but it sure felt like it. I loved the jalapenos hiding between the patty and the bacon, but the patty is lost in everything. It was way too small for the bun, and way too small in proportion to everything else. It was definitely out of balance in terms of structure, and therefore, very likely, its eatability too.
Well, let's see how it tastes...
It's pretty good. The patty is somewhat dry, and a little tough from being overcooked, and it was easy to tell right away that it was going to disappear far before the rest of everything else was done.
(...and for those who have been reading these little write-ups of mine have come to know, that is cardinal sin. When the patty is gone, the dish is over! I just can't get around that.)
Of course I liked the heat from the jalapenos. I also liked their sneak attack in the way they crept up from behind to sink in and lay the smackdown with their zing!
To try to get a solid bite, with a bit of everything, was impossible. I really had to squash down on the burger, while at the same time, try to wrangle in all the toppings that were trying to jump ship, just to get a shot at a complete bite. Needless to say, I wasn't successful in any attempt. That was a bit of a bummer because I wasn't able to get the full picture of all the ingredients working together to see how they played off of, and accented, each other, so there was a bit lost there.
The bacon slabs were good, but the thickness was a little too much. They were like clubs that you could whip someone's ass with. For my personal taste, and for eatability, I think slices half as thick, but double layered in the same overall amount would have been easier to eat, because they seemed more like fancy ham as opposed to pieces of bacon. It also would have delivered a more evenly distributed flavouring throughout the burger, all while adding that little bit more off-crunch as well from having four sides of cooked bacon instead of two with the fat middle per each slice.
I just watched Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid last night (with Bob Dylan), and a thing I like about Broken Hill is its western motif. It kind of transports you into those cowboy saloon days. (Minus the table flipping brawls with inevitable six-shooters being drawn and fired.) The tastes that the burger held placed me somewhat in that movie. Well, each time I have eaten there, I have been filled with that sense of being on the range, and rolling into the tiny town in the middle of nowhere tucked up against the mountain foothills. It definitely puts that image in mind, and so, just as with Sage Tapas, and the images of the first snowfall of the year, Broken Hill tapped into the theatrical imagery. That's one thing I really love about the potential of food, is the emotional connection it can draw to, and elicit from, one's life, so I enjoyed that when I found myself immersed in daydream within a cowboy movie.
The images were only fleeting though as the food has to be the one telling the story, and just as I had suspected, this was too heavy on the onion rings.
"Yup...two onion rings = one too many!"
The further I got into the burger, the more it fell apart, so I ended up having to eat lone pieces off the plate. That's typically the case, and always the danger when a burger is stacked to the roof...how well it eats. I never like seeing a burger piled so high, unless it is stacked with patties, and not just filler toppings. (Enter the rel-ish C.E.O. burger into the conversation...)
Since there was only a little piece left, with so much of the rest of everything else to go, I pulled out that last little bit of the patty to try on its own. The tough/dryness in the cook struck me again right away, but the more I chewed the more I got a strong sense of pepper. Not the jalapenos, but actual pepper...in the spicing in the burger itself. It was a tad strong when eaten on its own that way. After that, I took a couple more bites of the shrapnel on the plate, before I bailed on it.
Overall, I liked the burger, but it wasn't the easiest to eat. The patty was far too small in balance to the rest of it, and it was overcooked...somewhat tough. The onion rings didn't do it for me. It was too strong on those. The thickness of the bacon was a little much as well. I did like that tap into emotional imagery it painted with that picture of being in an old western saloon though...it was just missing the table flipping gun fight.
So, it was good, but only good. It had too many dings too it.
Not the winner...
That was reinforced later on throughout my day as well because it was the only one of all the burgers so far that gave me really terrible heartburn, and an acidic layer coating my whole throat from my mouth right to my stomach. It was that kind of razor swallowing feeling you get in those rare times when you mistakenly regurgitate the slightest bit of stomach acid into your mouth for whatever reason. It wasn't the jalapenos that were responsible for that either, as I have eaten truckloads of those in my life, and not had this happen. It's something else with this burger. It started simmering off around seven hours later, which means the burger left me in discomfort for 7+ hours.
I don't like when a meal of any kind leaves me feeling off.
I would love to try this burger again without the onion rings, and the bacon sliced half as thick, but layered with the same overall amount. That would draw me back in like the Death Star tractor beam, and it would no doubt do it repetitively.