Location: 843 Kipling Avenue, Toronto
I wasn’t even planning on a burger review. I went to the newly opened Big Butcher Barbeque — knowing nothing about it aside from the name — with visions of pulled pork and brisket dancing in my head. A name like that screams southern-style BBQ, but nope — the menu reads like an expanded version of Royal Meats around the corner, with eastern European fare like chevaps and plyeska, along with burgers, breakfast, and sandwiches.
Okay fine: plans change, and I’m obviously always down for a burger, so I rolled with the punches.
It’s in a location formerly occupied by a Gourmet Burger Co., and they didn’t change much. I definitely got some pretty strong deja-vu in there. Like before, it’s laid out so that you order, sit down, and wait for your food.
The burger is the first item on the menu, and it comes topped only with arugula by default. You can choose from a list of complimentary and premium toppings (complimentary being the old standbys, and premium being stuff like tzatziki, guacamole, and bacon); I went with tomato, pickles, and mayo (though the pickles were MIA).
The grilled burger was cooked to well done, though it did retain some juiciness. I don’t know if “juicy” is the first word I’d use to describe this burger, but neither is “dry,” so there you go.
It definitely has some kind of seasoning mixed into the patty, but it’s nothing too strong; at least some beefy flavour is retained, which is always a good thing. However, whatever they’ve mixed into the beef has given the patty a distinctly sausagey texture, which is not such a good thing.
The patty also has some smokiness from the grill, and all in all has a decent, if somewhat muddled flavour.
I do, however, need to mention that about halfway into eating the burger, I crunched down on something rock hard. Shocked, I spit out the offending bit to discover a bone about the size of a small toothpaste cap. In all my years of burger eating, this was a first. Small bits of cartilage and whatnot, sure, but a bone? And one that large? Yikes. I’m a little baffled as to how that thing made its way through the meat grinder. I’m not going to lie: it was a bit horrifying.
The bun wasn’t the best. They boast that they bake it in-house, and I really think they should probably leave it to the pros. It was exceptionally crusty and either a bit overbaked, or a bit stale; it was quite dry. It wasn’t the worst bun that I’ve ever had, but it was definitely misguided.
As for the fries, they were thinly cut and way overcooked. I think every ounce of moisture had been sucked out. They were so crunchy that they struck me as some kind of cross between fries and chips. They weren’t horrible, but I’m pretty sure they no longer qualify as fries when they’re that crunchy.