The only place you’ll find the burger listed at Lakewood Smokehouse, at least for now, is the chalkboard quietly propped up outside.
I spotted it in the wild, like a camouflaged hunter, as I drove by on Abrams: Lakewood Smokehouse, sister restaurant to Frisco’s 3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House (which was mostly blessed by BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn), is in the soft launch phase of a $10 cheeseburger and fries meal.
Just after the lunch hour, the Olympics are running and a group of Dallas police officers are eating at a long table when I arrive. I sit near the bar, order the chalkboard burger — all it says on the sign is “cheeseburger and fries” — medium rare with American cheese (Swiss and cheddar are also options), and I’m physically longing for a cold beer thanks to the barbecue flavor that’s hanging in the air.
Barbecue joint burgers can be a little tricky, so I’m not sure what I’m about to get. Most of the burgers I’ve had at barbecue spots are smoked, which means they end up tasting like dry, over-spiced sausage. Some taste like sad baked meatballs. My burger at Lakewood Smokehouse comes hugged by the unmistakable wilted yellow of a Kraft single. Speaking of, how is American cheese not a crayon color?
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A deep and rich smoke flavor engulfs the first bite. It’s cooked medium rare, just on the cusp of medium. There’s thick, still crispy bacon on top of the patty. Red onions, lettuce and tomato rest underneath, accepting meat juices into their open LTO arms. A man in a Lakewood Smokehouse shirt comes around to ask how my lunch is going. After a few questions, I learn it’s co-owner Mike Mullen. He shakes my hand, excited at the prospect of nailing a smoke ring on a cheeseburger. I find myself taking bites, addicted to the bacon and smoke of the patty, as he’s talking to me.
This might be the first burger I’ve had in months that made me wish I hadn’t ordered American cheese. Swiss or cheddar, a saltier or sharper cheese, would have stood up to the smoke with more zeal. The lettuce, tomato and onion could have used a thinner cut too, maybe a toss in some seasoning or vinegar. I hammer some of their barbecue sauce on the burger, and things get tangy and great. The fries are marvelous — salty and fresh and crispy. Eat a lot of these fries. You'll want them.
The patty is smoked then finished on the grill, Mullen says. They’ve been working on it at their Frisco 3 Stacks location, and he nods confidently when I ask if it’ll make its way to the menu. It should — it’s a welcome smoked cheeseburger to a city with too few great ones. For now, don’t look for it on the menu. Just ask, and you shall receive.
Lakewood Smokehouse, 1901 Abrams Road