The Meat Shack, Southside

“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us”; a phrase much loved by classic Western movies and American rock band Sparks alike.

Luckily for The Meat Shack, it’s one that doesn’t apply to burger joints. In a move which will inevitably draw comparisons with Original Patty Men, Meat Shack have gone from stalwarts of the Birmingham street food scene to setting up shop in the city centre.

But let’s make like proud parents and halt the comparisons. Even though you’ll inevitably have a favourite (in my family it’s obviously me), you should still have room in your heart for both. We desperately need more good burger places in Birmingham, and The Meat Shack has just upped our total by one.

The burgers, then. The Dutch Piggy is a beast of a burger, packed with both Dutch and American cheese (perhaps to honour their shared liberal views towards marijuana consumption – who knows?), streaky bacon, iceberg red onion, pickle, ketchup and chipayo. The patty is excellent – a densely packed hunk of quality beef which, although less pink than I prefer, is full of juice and flavour. It more than lives up to The Meat Shack’s “filthy dripping goodness” slogan, and combined with the toppings offers a perfect balance of flavour and texture. It’s essentially a pimped-up bacon cheeseburger, and a damn good one at that.

The Hell Shack is a burger for those braver than I, topped with green chilli relish and Holy F**k hot sauce. It gets a good review from my partner-in-crime but I prefer to retain my tastebuds, so don’t try it.

We desperately want to try the fried pickles but they are out for the day, so we opt for onion rings and chipayo fries. The onion rings are exceptionally good but at £3 a little steep for the quantity; after all, they are just bits of onion and batter. The fries are nice enough, but overall offer further evidence to my boyfriend’s theory that when the burgers are exceptional you should just sack off the fries and order two burgers.

Sides aside, the burgers are the headline act here and they are brilliant. The Meat Shack have honed their craft throughout their formative street food years in the city; they are now using that experience to bring something very special to Southside. Go, eat, support.

Find The Meat Shack at their new permanent home on 17 Thorp Street, Birmingham, B5 4AT.

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Original Patty Men, Digbeth

Credit to Original Patty Men for the photo. I forgot to take any photos because I was so hungover and the food was so delicious.

On Sunday afternoon my hangover was in full swing and there was nothing in the fridge. Original Patty Men was calling my name.

I’m ashamed to say this was my first visit to Original Patty Men. It’s been on my ‘list’ forever and I’ve had countless recommendations but have somehow never made it there. But now I’ve been. And it was amazing. And I want to go again and again and again.

Sadly it was a bit cold to sit outside (goodbye summer…) but I loved the laid back industrial-y vibe inside. The menu is short and sweet with 3 burgers plus specials. Details of the specials & other burger porn can usually be found on their Twitter (@originalpattym).

We went for both the specials; I had the ‘Alabama Slammer’ and he had ‘There will be Blood’.

The ‘Alabama Slammer’ (pictured) was a fried chicken burger available with either a white mayo-based sauce or a chilli sauce made with Pip’s Hot Sauce & butter. It’s basically a McChicken sandwich on steroids. Like, as in, the ‘Alabama Slammer’ is an Olympic gold medalist and the McChicken Sandwich is your dad going for a jog round the park. Because they use chicken thigh, the fried chicken is juicy and delicious and full of flavour. It’s smothered in delicious sauce and served in a Peel & Stone bun. It literally couldn’t get any better. OPM, can you please put this on the menu full time?!

‘There will be Blood’ was black pudding, sauerkraut, pickles, mustard mayo and rigatello cheese. According to him it was “gooey and glorious, the cheese was really melty and it was fucking tasty”.

We also ordered a side of the ODB fries which come piled high with OPM spice mix, jalapeño slaw, sriracha mayo, crispy onions and spring onions. These tasted amazing but I would have added more heat to the jalapeño slaw. I would also have added more sriracha mayo. Because sriracha mayo is delicious.

Original Patty Men may not be Michelin-starred but it is rated THIRD BEST RESTAURANT IN BIRMINGHAM on Trip Advisor (that most reliable of sources) and has 5 stars on Yelp. Clearly no one needs me to tell them how amazing it is but, for the record, it’s amazing.

Original Patty Men is located at 9 Shaw’s Passage, B5 5JG WEBSITE