The Indy Burger Guy visited the Stacked Pickle in West Carmel on Friday, January 27, 2017. Read his previous reviews of the following Stacked Pickle burgers: The Big Pickle, The Hangover, and The Donald.
Due to the glut of burgers I had at the end of last year and within the first two days of this one, I’ve not had much of a need to go out to try new burgers, having no dearth of blog posts to fall back on. Realizing that I was only within a couple weeks of running out of original content to post here (“…the horror…”), I decided it was time to bite the bullet and grab a new burger. And where better to go then my old standby, Stacked Pickle?
I’ve mentioned before my wife’s enjoyment of Stacked Pickle – particularly their Cajun Steak Wrap – which means that the West Carmel Stacked Pickle, with its proximity to both home and work, is a go-to spot for us. Recently, I’ve even stopped getting burgers and worked my way around some other items on their menu (and even a burger or two that I opted not to review), but tonight was the night I reviewed a new burger.
So, I decided on the Beam, which seemed to me a bit like a suped-up ‘Western’ burger. (For those not ‘in the know,’ a classic Western burger comes with cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, bacon, and an onion ring, not unlike the ingredients on the Teddy Bear Burger at Teddy’s Burger Joint.) Beam is Stacked Pickle’s answer to a traditional Western burger with two key differences – Jim Beam bourbon in the barbecue sauce and pulled pork on the burger. Also, it’s worth mentioning that, instead of the onion ring, Stacked Pickle opts for onion straws… but more on that later.
The first thing that I need to say is that this burger is MESSY! When it arrived at the table, I could barely see the beef for all the sundry toppings on display and, once the bun was atop the burger, it proved difficult to fit into my (admittedly large) mouth. And, once I did, I had a run-off issue – sauce, onion straws, and bits of veggies were prone to falling off. My hands were covered in the sweet bourbon-honey barbecue sauce by the time all was said and done. So, yeah… eatability was definitely a factor here!
The bun, however, held up surprisingly well. Rather than the kaiser-style bun that I’ve had on every other burger I’ve eaten at Stacked Pickle, Beam was served on a pretzel bun and that made a serious difference! While the bun did absorb a good deal of the juice from the burger, it maintained its structure throughout eating and was completely uncompromised from start to finish. I generally am not a fan of pretzel buns because they can feel overly doughy and tough – but this one was quite tasty, dense enough to stand up to the juicy burger, but soft enough to provide a comfortable eating experience.
The flavors melded fairly well. There was a really nice balance between the salty, smoky bacon, the sweet of the bourbon barbecue sauces, and the tangy onion straws. There’s a tendency with this much going on in a burger for flavors to overwhelm or cancel each other out, but that doesn’t happen here, which is really nice. There was a lot going on with texture as well – crispy, crunchy, melty, saucy… it was all there and all really spot on. I also enjoyed the use of onion straws over the traditional onion ring, though, I will say, I think there were way too many of them on this burger.
My biggest beef with Stacked Pickle burgers, though, is with their beef. Their menus state – rather boldly, I might add – that their ‘steakburgers’ are made from “fresh – never frozen” beef and… I’m not sure. Every time I order a burger at Stacked Pickle, I feel like they always come out slightly overcooked and suspiciously uniform. I’m not saying that the menu is a lie, but I have my doubts as to the overall freshness of the beef being used.
Still, all things considered, Beam is by no means a bad burger. It’s a fairly unique take on a classic burger type and has enough good points – bun! flavors! – to warrant your giving it a try.
FINAL RANKING: 7.0/10
various locations around Central Indiana
Cost Range: $$ ($7-$12)