A rancher’s gloves clapping together, bats exploding from the Congress Avenue bridge, Tommy Lee Jones giving me a wink and a shoulder squeeze (on horseback), a Rangers game in July with that one guy hitting the snare drum — this is the movie-style montage that ran through my head when I took a bite of the Smoke’s EB&D Loaded Up and Truckin' Burger. Its flavor profile: a cowboy hugging you firmly and saying, “It’s OK. Everything’s OK.”
On a weekday that's as bright and clear as a bell, I'm sitting at Smoke’s bar by myself, facing chalk art of a pig that is oddly pleased after being stuffed under the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The burger, probably named after a Jerry Reed song or a Clint Eastwood movie, towers over the table, a sandwich nearly as big as the cow that it came from.
The burger’s construction: bacon, thick as a book, drapes over the cheddar-topped burger, and a single frittered egg balances atop top bun. This is a $15 burger that turns heads. Matthew McConaughey should accompany this burger. He could sit down right next to you and ask, “How’s it taste?” as you take a bite. “Mmmmphary good!” you’d sputter in response.
Slicing it down the center reveals a wild cross-section of chopped lettuce, long-cut bacon and pink grilled beef, the frittered egg like a Cyclops eye on this beefy giant. It’s packed with fantastically woody and smoky flavor from an open fire. The beef, if a touch over medium rare, tastes like Texas sunshine and a grill that’s hot enough to create a mirage.
Bacon is thick but has crispy edges, much like the farm egg. You’d do well to add a couple of Smoke’s iconic pickles, and even better to avoid any condiments. Keep the focus on the open fire and grill flavor. Sharp cheddar adds a bite, and the bun is decadently butter-grilled.
There’s no good reason not to try the burger at Smoke, especially if you live in Texas.
Smoke, 901 Fort Worth Ave.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.