Pitmaster Hugh Mangum has quietly introduced a smoked meatloaf burger at all locations of Mighty Quinn's Barbecue, except the Brooklyn stall at Smorgasburg. Mangum tells Eater that while he loves burgers, it is not practical to serve them in a barbecue restaurant because of the different cooking methods — low and slow versus high and fast. So he came up with a meatloaf patty comprised of all-natural beef and pork with a mirepoix that also includes garlic and herbs. He smokes the meatloaf for an hour and a half in the same pits that turn out some of the city's best barbecue. This is long enough to cook the patty through but also create a dense bark on the exterior that gives the patty some serious crunch. There is even a smoke ring — the pink hued line that forms between bark and meat during smoking — one of the hallmarks great barbecue. Despite being cooked all the way through, the patty remains moist and succulent due to the fat percentage.
It is served on a freshly baked sesame spangled bun with bread and butter pickled Poblano peppers, lettuce, and "MQ special sauce," which contains mustard seeds, mayo and Mighty Quinn's "Texalina" style barbecue sauce. House-made buttermilk brined onion rings and pickled carrots accompany the sandwich, which sells for $10. The burger was originally conceived for the NYC Wine & Food Festival where it proved to be a hit, which inspired Mangum to add it to his menu.
The sandwich is available right now, but it might not be around indefinitely. Mangum is toying with the idea of adding a rotating list of specials, beyond his set menu of brisket, ribs, and pulled pork. This started a few years back when he was serving pork cheeks as a seasonal special during the spring. Mangum, one of the few pitmasters who is also a trained chef with a fine dining background, wants to move beyond serving the standard barbecue cannon and move the craft of smoke forward.