We Tried Shake Shack’s Summer BBQ Menu — Here’s What To Order And What To Skip

It’s summer babe (yes, I babe’d you let’s move on), the season of beach days, pool days, and just general chilling. A time when you should be outside, soaking up the sunshine (so long as it isn’t too hot), and eating good food. And nothing tastes as good in the summer months as some good backyard BBQ burgers.

But not everyone has a yard or skill on the grill. And for those people, we’d like to point you in the direction of Shake Shack’s new Summer BBQ menu.

No, the burgers aren’t flame-grilled but a high-quality smash burger doused in BBQ sauce sounds just as good, especially if you don’t have to make it yourself. The new menu consists of two different burgers, one made with a classic BBQ sauce and fried onions, another with Carolina-style BBQ with fried pickles, and a new take on the Shack’s fries and cheese fries.

Both look delicious, and it’s Shake Shack so there is a high chance that at the very least the burgers will still be good (we rated Shake Shack’s beef patties as the best in all of fast food), but fast food is expensive, so if you’re not interested in taking any chances, we’ll take the hit and do it for you.

We tried Shake Shack’s Summer BBQ menu, here is what to order and what to skip.

Smoky Classic BBQ Burger

Dane Rivera

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

I’m leading with the best of what I tasted here. It’s a bit strange that Shake Shack didn’t already have a good BBQ burger on the menu, so the Smoky Classic is a much-appreciated inclusion to the current burger roster.

The build consists of a delicious beef patty, American cheese, bacon, pickles, and thin fried onions on a bun slathered with smoky BBQ sauce. The bacon and fried onions combination gives this burger a nice crunch and a smoky and umami punch that helps elevate the sumptuous beef notes.

The BBQ adds a sweet factor that makes this burger come across as incredibly complex and flavorful, every bite is a journey of flavors. Something about the build here makes this burger come across as extremely substantial and decadent, despite being a single-burger. Of course, you can get a double so if you have a big meat craving, go for it!

The Bottom Line:

If you love BBQ-sauced burgers, you’re going to love this one. It might just be the best BBQ burger in fast food currently. (we’ll have to rank ‘em and check).

Carolina BBQ Burger

Dane Rivera

I’m a bit less sold on the Carolina BBQ. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, but it tastes a bit less essential despite the better build. The burger features a beef patty topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon, fried pickles, and Carolina-style BBQ sauce, which if you’re not familiar, is basically swaps the smoky and sweet elements of traditional BBQ sauce for something much tangier with a hint of spice.

There is a small sense of spiciness to this burger but it’s very faint, and mostly expresses itself between bites on the aftertaste. The major tasting note here is tang — there is a sharp mustard tang to this burger which pairs very nicely with the briny fried pickles.

This is a great burger, but it’s just not quite as satisfying as the smoky sweet masterpiece that is the Smoky Classic.

The Bottom Line:

An interesting build with a distinct tangy, earthy flavor and a hint of spice. It’s good, but not for everyone. You kind of have to be into the Carolina-style BBQ flavor to really love this, but if you’re unfamiliar, this would be a great entry point.

BBQ Fries/BBQ Cheese Fries

Dane Rivera

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

I am no fan of Shake Shack fries, that’s been well-documented here at Uproxx. So anytime Shake Shack does anything to its fries, it’s an improvement. What makes the BBQ fries unique is the dusting of smoky BBQ seasoning. It makes the fries have this sweet and smoky component (with a hint of vinegar) that improves the otherwise neutral flavor of the stock fries.

Dane Rivera

The cheese fries are an even sharper improvement thanks to the thick layer of cheese sauce with the BBQ seasoning on top of the cheese. It tastes best when you give this dish a bit of a mix so the seasoning and cheese sauce become more incorporated.

It’s good, in the sense that we’re dealing with fries that are covered in cheese, so, you know, it’s kind of hard to f*ck that up. Ultimately, I feel like these fries are inessential. I hate to end a glowing food review on a down note, but it is what it is.

The Bottom Line:

If you love Shake Shack’s fries, you’ll probably love this sweet and smoky version. If you’re not sold on those crinkle-cut fries though, these aren’t going to win you over.

Find your nearest Shake Shack here.