Meat and Shake were at the forefront of the gourmet burger revolution, which hit the Capital a few years ago, with their innovative approach to halal gourmet burgers. Since then the halal culinary landscape has developed significantly, with the gourmet burger market fast becoming saturated. Meat and Shake, ever the innovators, have ventured South and have entered into the Southern Barbecue territory, making the transformation from bonafide burgers to an evolving Smokehouse, thus further broadening the halal culinary horizon for halal food adventurers.
Their Ealing and flagship Watford branch serve a Southern Barbecue menu, taking inspiration from the U.S., to bring a truly authentic Southern Barbecue experience to this side of the pond. Gone are the days when you’re watching “Man vs. Food” and yearning for wood smoked meat, braised beef brisket or all that tempting stuff halal consumers had been missing out on. All of that is now a reality at Meat and Shake.
Our invitation to Meat and Shake started with a platter consisting of a variety of smoked starters: Smoked Beef Brisket, Hot Link Sausages and half Chicken with a side of Corn Bread and Pit Beans.
The Smoked Brisket was dry rubbed and then cooked and smoked slowly in a hickory and apple wood combination, a typical Texas barbecue style for smoking meat, and as such the emphasis was on the meat and the flavour infused from the generation of smoke from the hickory and apple wood combination. Sure enough the meat was tender with smokey and woody undertones coming through, with a small proportion of fat, further enhancing the flavour of the meat.
The Hot Link Sausages made from beef and lamb were smoking hot! Subtely spicy with a perfect balance of smokiness and chargrill. We would go as far as saying these were one of the best smoked sausages we have tasted to date.
The Corn Bread had a cakier like taste and texture to it; somewhat sweet and dense bringing sheer joy to the stomach.
Once you have tried the Pit Beans, you’ll not only look at beans in a whole new light but you’ll also forget normal beans ever existed. The Pit Beans were flavoured in BBQ sauce and topped with pulled beef, smoked brisket, beef dripping, burnt-ends and bone marrow. A bean lover and carnivore’s delight.
The Smoked Chicken was beautifully moist on the inside with the addition of sugar to achieve a deliciously caramelised sticky and sweet skin. Something as simple as chicken breast can easily be overcooked in a matter of seconds and nothing is less palatable than dry chicken breast. The cooking method included brinning the chicken to achieve a moist and juicier piece of chicken breast, and in our opinion a smart method in minimising accidental overcooking.
The ‘Jacobs Ladder’ which was slow cooked braised cola BBQ beef ribs taster. Cooked low and slow, absorbing moisture from the braising process, the meat was deliciously tender with a deep meaty flavour and generously slathered in BBQ sauce in true Southern Barbecue style.
The Hanger Steak Churrasco style was marinated for 48hrs and served with chimichurri in true Argentinian style.
The outer layer of the skin was perfectly chargrilled, adding additional depth of flavour on top of the natural umami taste of the beef, and was actually the most enjoyable part of the steak. The meaty taste of the beef is the main emphasis, thus the chimicchurri sauce was subtle in flavour. Despite the steak being cooked to a perfect medium rare, we did find the meat to be somewhat tough and chewy.
The showstopper was without a doubt the monthly special Pit Burger. Consisting of a double beef patty, smoked beef brisket, pulled beef rib, caramelised turkey bacon and hot link sausage, and if that wasn’t enough, it was topped with an onion ring and oozing American cheese. This was a union of all the seriously good ‘bad’ stuff and none of the actual ‘good’ stuff a.k.a salad. Fellow patrons will be watching and salivating over your burger but only the bravest of carnivores will attempt to eat it. If you are a vegetarian, simply starring at it may send you into a temporary state of unconciousness. The synaesthetic experience you yearn for in a burger of this calibre was certainly present; the patty was meaty and juicy, the pulled beef was delicously moist, the brisket was tender, the sausages and turkey bacon added smokiness, the cheese helped lubricate each component together and the onion ring added a much needed crunchy texture against all that meat. In true Southern Barbecue style, expect overtly bold flavours, with various techniques delivering multiple taste dimensions. It is not a burger for the faint-hearted, in fact, you have to be a hardcore, serial carnivore to truly appreciate the beast of a burger that this is.
The Stinky Fries topped with blue cheese were sure enough stinky. You have to be a lover of blue cheese to really enjoy these, otherwise, we would recommend you order one of the other choices.
The crisy coating on the onion rings was of the right thickness, not too thick or too crunchy. However, we did find it could do with a bit more seasoning. Nonetheless, the black seeds added a unique flavour dimension to the humble onion rings.
For drinks we ordered the Cherry Mocktail, Toffee and Butterscotch Milkshake and Ferrero Roche Milkshake. The Cherry Mocktail was refreshing and great as a palatte clenser but was not anything thrilling
We enjoyed both milkshakes, the flavours for each were present, and the thickness of the milkshake was of the right consistency. However, as with the Mocktail, it didn’t quite blow us away in terms of flavour.
Meat and Shake’s new Smokehouse menu is all about bringing authentic Southern Barbecue classics to the mainstream halal market, a niche in the halal market that has not been tapped into fully, until now. The techniques used focus on enhancing the taste of the meat further, adding a new dimension of taste. Once again, Meat and Shake have thought outside the box to continue providing an innovative halal dining experience. Follow their smoking hot Halal Food Journey and see where it takes you.
Disclaimer: We were invited to review.