Highland Burger with Korean Pulled Pork at Smokehouse N1, Islington

17 Mar

LOCATION: Smokehouse N1, 63-69 Canonbury Road, N1 2DG [map]

PRICE: £15.

BREAD: Seeded burger bun.

FILLING: 5 year old Highland cow burger, pulled pork, lettuce, gochujang mayo.

PROS: Right, RIGHT! Listen up. Listen good and listen hard, because this is important. I do not give out full marks lightly. I hope you weren’t waiting for that bit at the end? Oh. Well anyway since you’re here I might as well tell you that this is one of the best burgers in London and you must go and eat it immediately. Usually I can’t stand pulled pork on a burger. CAN’T. STAND. IT. Then I remembered that’s because there is so much terrible pulled pork out there. You know, cotton wool mushy wush; squeaky flossed fibres. Then I remembered that this is cooked by one of the best BBQ chefs in London. The best, probably. Actually. Neil Rankin. As an aside from the sandwich, Smokehouse N1 is just a fabulous place to sit and eat, particularly if you get a space around the back by the kitchen, where the Big Green Eggs waft their ghostly gusts through the open door. It’s the best BBQ you’ve never been to.

So the burger is made from the chuck and carcass offcuts of 5 year old highland cow and the flavour is intense. It was described by my mate and I as ‘sick’ which is what people younger than us say instead of ‘top brass’ or ‘fookin ace’. It has me scooping at the fall out with my fingers. It’s rare as hell inside and, at the risk of sounding ‘a bit Rayner’ awakens something primal within me. I should probably say something here about needing a cardiologist.

The stuff that looks like cheese, isn’t. ‘What’s the cheese?’ Asks my friend. ‘It just looks like cheese so you think it is’. Huh. It’s mayonnaise and gochujang mixed together, which is just bafflingly tasty considering, well, it’s just mayonnaise and gochujang mixed together.

CONS: Nothing. Honestly nothing. I went on about this sandwich so much during the eating and the digesting that my friends started to blatantly ignore me. I never thought I could be excited about a burger ever again, considering, well, you know, the whole Burger Trend business but fuck my hat if this isn’t the absolute biz.

SCORE: 10/10

14 Responses to “Highland Burger with Korean Pulled Pork at Smokehouse N1, Islington”

  1. Gene March 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    Damn, if that doesn’t look excellent! I’m unfamiliar with highland cow, naturally, being from the States. How does it differ from other beef? I picturing it drinking a lot of single malt and tossing cabers with it’s horns, but something tells me that’s (unfortunately) not quite accurate.

  2. donald March 17, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    I’d forgotten quite how filthily good it looked when cut… the kagagoogoo mayo looks almost exactly like slappy American cheese

  3. Patrick March 18, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    This post made me do this http://media3.giphy.com/media/M7gtacN7aPNsc/giphy.gif

  4. Nick Staines March 19, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    I hate to be a killjoy (I don’t really), but surely you should have deducted at least one mark because IT’S A BURGER AND IT COST £15? Call me old-fashioned, but for that kind of money I want a happy finish from a paedophile in a clown costume.

  5. donald March 20, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Nick, you should’ve gone to Iceland. http://groceries.iceland.co.uk/stateside-diner-20-american-style-patties-994g/p/49263

    • Nick Staines March 20, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      I’ll be popping in right after I’ve had a pint and been to the bingo.

    • ash333 March 20, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Donald, Donald, Donald.. If you’re not buying the ones where Iceland have already injected cheese inside the burgers, well you’re just letting the best in life pass you by.

      I can’t find a picture of them. I suspect any evidence of their existence has been removed since Iceland did that TV documentary and want to distance themselves from any suggestion that your family might die if you feed them certain Iceland products.

  6. donald March 20, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    I’ve actually just spent the last half an hour looking for frozen cheese stuffed burgers…. I believe this is what is known as productivity.

  7. Frank Hopewell-Smith March 20, 2014 at 11:34 am #


    • MizThreefivesix August 30, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

      OMG just looking at that open can, I could smell the smell!

  8. Allan May 27, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Agreed. We asked the waitress what she thought of the burger, she says “you’ve never tasted anything like this before”…takes a lot of balls to say that in the midst of this London burger revolution. In a nutshell, we wet ourselves, it was incredible!

    Also, asked another waiter about gochujang sauce, apparently they also add mustard and cheese to it. Don’t forget that kimchee-esque tomato ketchup on the side.

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