Pig Pen Delicacy – MacDaddy Burger
Pig Pen Delicacy
2222 Michelson Dr · Irvine, CA 92612
Anaheim Packing House. Santa Ana 4th Street Market. Tustin Union Market at the District. Trade Food Hall in Irvine.
The model of a mall food court combined with hip, trendy eats all in hipster heaven can be found at these Orange County culinary hubs. Each eatery within these places are tight-spaced stalls, boasting limited menus fitting for food trucks. Pig Pen Delicacy, once a staple at the Downtown Santa Ana locale, joins the lineup at the recently opened Irvine Trade Food Hall.
Bringing a new take on classic comfort food, the menu at Pig Pen Delicacy is littered with pork. Whether it’s the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, fries topped with pork belly, or bacon jam slathered on a burger, Pig Pen Delicacy showcases the favorite parts of the pig. The MacDaddy Burger, first thing on the menu and their priciest item, is a collaboration of two American classics – macaroni and cheese and a cheeseburger – featuring candied bacon, a slice of American cheese, a spread of BBQ sauce, and a third pound beef patty all sandwiched between their signature fried Mac’N Cheese Buns.
As expected from a joint called Pig Pen, the oven-baked candied bacon is the best part. Covered in brown sugar and spices, the thick cut pieces deliver blissful meatiness and subtle sweet notes. It pairs well with the barbecue sauce, which leans toward the sweet spectrum.
The MacDaddy part– Pig Pen’s own mac n’ cheese buns – are breaded with finely seasoned breadcrumbs and browned very well. Layers are thick, comparable in size to the meat patty in the center. First bite into the MacDaddy yields exceptional crunch from the fried top and bottom, followed by the squishiness of the elbows and cheese. Then the juicy burger comes into play, along with the thick-cut pork strips. Barbecue sauce slathered atop the burger and cheese slice rounds things out. Flavors dawdle with the savory and salty. Subtle sweetness comes out in spurts, supplied by the bacon and barbecue.
One glaring problem is grasping the creation; the ‘buns’ are not as firm as conventional bread. As you hold the ends, pressing into the oily cheesy patties creates an indentation into each side. Consuming this burger necessitates a gentle grasp, otherwise the whole thing will crumble apart. You might even consider eating everything separately – deep fried macaroni and cheese patties with bacon and ground beef.
Mac and cheese is naturally fatty, with all the dairy oils dripping off leaving a puddle on the box floor. Add in the beef patty and it’s a substantially moist concoction.
Clearly, the MacDaddy is a heavy meal for a hefty 11.95. The idea of a mac n’ cheese burger is inventive and executed as imagined, but the burger needs some tinkering. Maybe introducing some heat into the mix would enliven things up for your taste buds. There is also a need for fresh components, whether from some greens or even diced grilled onions. With few exceptions, it is really hard to dish out anything above ten dollars for a sandwich, especially a burger. Candied bacon already goes for a buck ninety five. But macaroni and cheese and a burger patty shouldn’t amount to more than a Hamilton. In essence the MacDaddy Burger is a gourmet, constructed, cheeseburger macaroni Hamburger Helper .