the burger: Swine Burger, all pork patty with provolone, bacon, romaine lettuce, tomato, red onion, bacon aioli on a fresh baked spent grain bun w/ fries
the bucks: $9.75
“Pork burgers just don’t work”
That was me 10 years ago. The burger revolution was popping and it was giving me an excuse to order low brow at high end restaurants. Things have changed in the 10 years since I made that bold claim, in the world of burgers and in my attitudes toward food. These days I allow for more second chances on disappointing first encounters. In the case of Noble Sandwich Company, it would be a pork burger that would be given a second chance. Was it fate, my “older and wiser outlook” on food, or just finding the right joint to pull off a pork burger that lead me to this porcine themed Bang for your Burger Buck adventure? Logic would suggest the last reason but for now, I’m gonna run with fate on this one . . .
It was written in the stars that the Swine Burger at Noble Sandwich Company would be the very first pork burger to break into the all beef club at Bang for your Burger Buck. On paper it makes sense that this farm to table breakfast and sandwich shop would somehow make a pork burger work. I’m 3 for 3 eating at Noble Sandwich Company, and yes it helps that they love heavy food as much as I do. My first meal there was a brunch gut buster of brisket and poached eggs, smothered in red eye gravy, resting on enough biscuit to extend my brunch into “linner“. And it would turn out the brisket was a safe choice because the ham and grits I tried next made me rethink every breakfast slice ‘o ham I have had up until that point. Using these findings as the basis for my beef tongue sandwich projections, well let’s just say I know where I am eating for my next birthday. The thing about a place like Noble is that they are there to raise the bar. And while $9.75 (with fries) demands lofty expectations in my book, any place that challenge one’s palate to a degree usually reserved for $50 and up dinners . . . that’s reason to reach for a $10 spot. And so is this.
So back to the whole pork burger thing. The reason why you don’t see them often is because pork burgers often don’t work. They tend to either be way too greasy or seasoned like a sausage and therefore too overwhelming in burger form. Years ago I dropped like $15 for a pork burger and made a commitment since to never go down the same road again. The restaurant was nice enough for me to believe that $15 for a non Kobe Beef burger would ultimately end in a “glad I tried it” type of experience. Instead it lead me to a “I just entered a bratwurst eating contest and came in last” type of experience. To long for a burger and be stuffed like a sausage, from sausage, is not a place you want to be. And yet, some 10 years later, I found myself going down a similar road. But in those previous visits, Noble showed promise in their cookery. And as one can plainly see above and below, these guys know how to build a better sandwich.
Let’s get right down to it: the Swine Burger is Bang for your Burger Buck because the sandwich alone is worth $10 in craftsmanship, and it comes with fries. More important to note is that I consider this burger to actually be a sandwich as its successes are based on principles of great sandwich making: a worthy protein, exemplary bread, fine condiment and topping composition and an overall balance of flavor, texture and belly slapping satisfaction. Meticulously sliced tomato and onion are signs of fine sandwich craftsmanship and it was comforting to just admire the sandwich before that first bite, knowing that the folks at Noble Sandwich Co have put some thought into how to deliver a pork burger that actually works. That produce is really just the cherry on the sundae. The artisanal bun was pure joy, as was the shameless addition of bacon aioli. One could only imagine the calorie count those two bring to the table, and if this was a Baconator we would just be slapping foreheads, but hey, what’s a buttery bun smeared with bacon mayo every now and then right? And then there is that provolone.
It’s important to recognize how integral the cheese is to the Swine Burger experience. It would be going too far to say that the provolone makes the Swine burger, doing so would be to diss the bun and the bacon aioli, but I certainly could not imagine the burger without it. The melt is just majestic and the creaminess helps assuage a possible overdose of porcine punch from the patty and the bacon sauce. Looking at that gooey cheese and the burnt edges of the bun make me realize that there is almost a grilled cheese quality to the Swine Burger execution. Yeah, this is a decadent affair but the powerful flavors are kept at bay. Kinda like everything in between the buns.
Crisped at the surface like a sausage patty you would erroneously assume it would taste like, the Swine Burger cross section is the visual representation of sandwich making in harmonious balance. The pork itself is rich but is not redolent of say sage or pepper like the typical pork sausage you would find at breakfast, and it ain’t greasy. Truth be told the pork shares the spotlight withe everything else on the burger. And that’s why I think of the Swine Burger as a sandwich versus a burger. But beyond the issue of nomenclature, what you have here is serious cooking in a unique burger form for under $10 . . . with fries. And that is Bang for your Pork Burger Buck.
But it is not enough to simply say that the Pork Burger is a total deal at Noble Sandwich Company. I mean it is, but more important is the total truth that folks at Noble possess the Midas Touch on all things edible. It was my trust in their skills that allowed me to go down that Pork Burger road for a second time. Telling peeps to try anything once is a given and kinda easy. But to find a place worthy of giving a certain food a section chance, well that’s a find and why Noble Sandwich Company is head to toe Bang for your Burger Buck.
Noble Sandwich Company
4805 Burnet Road
Austin, Texas 78756