” I lay there, and watched the God I had created die. At the end, when we were cold as the stone we had hewn his body from, when the lights were nearly all extinguished, we heard, in the silent distance, the man-pigs singing to one another. Then, as the last lights went out, and we lay together in the deep, they drifted away, and all was silent. Such a silence I have never known. And as the dust settled on my open eyes, and we lay together embraced forever, I heard, miles above us, the sounds of the city turning over in its sleep. A churchbell ringing out – and in that moment, the new century was born.” – Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
- Pulled pork
- Canadian peameal bacon
- Smoked Gouda cheese
- Pickled shallots with thyme
- Dry-aged Black Angus beef patty
- Sharp honey mustard
- Toasted Scottish bap bun
I promised you (and myself) that another Hong Kong trip was in the making, and this time I decided to try something drastically different from the less than stellar Blue Butcher, and I found it in the steely facade of the tiny, yet powerful The Butcher’s Club in Central. This establishment is the iron maiden of burgers (note: the so called “iron maiden” was never an actual torture device), and within its rusty iron-clad walls lie the grinder and griddle that churn some of Hong Kong’s best dry-aged goods. Staying true to HK’s limited space, the Butcher’s Club is tiny and perpetually packed, just like the lovely Kuma’s burger joints back home, and the theme is (of course) beer, burgers and bourbon, and you better believe it that they carry lots, and lots, and lots of good ole American Pabst Brewing Company Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) American Adjunct Lager (4.74% ABV) to chug and crush! The Butcher’s Club’s menu is deceptively small at a glance, but a quick scan of a QR code reviews a list of decadent and outrageous burgers, one of which is…. The Hogtown!
At 160HKD, the first thing I thought of when The Hogtown hit the tables was how small it was, but even I had to batten down the hatches when I took my first bite. One of the main selling points of the exotic Hogtown was that it was packed with stuff you just can’t really get in Asia – the mustard, the cheese, the pulled pork, the bun? Sure, you may be able to find them here and there, but together and with a high quality? Doubtful. Right off the bat, the Scottish bap bun was most definitely the softest, chewiest piece of bread I’ve ever had the delight to try – it just bowed down to the palate as it gives the patty a big, warm hug, like a doughy marshmallow. The top bun was toasted to give a gentle crunch, just enough to contrast with the bap’s Stay Puft consistency, AND It was just the right size for the burger’s ingredients resulting in a great construction. And the burger itself? A meat lover’s delight. Don’t you dare let the size fool you. With its three distinctive types of meat, the Hogtown is what you’d expect to come out of a place called the Butcher’s Club, after all, and it was served with lots of meat and almost no trifling vegetables. The peameal-style slice of Canadian bacon was generously thick and omnipresent in every bite, and the patty was small enough to disappear in the fray, melting alongside the smoked Gouda cheese, and the sharp honey mustard blended nicely with the sweetness of the pork meat galore. The pulled pork was the star of the show for me, and its stringy, slightly al dente firmness was a welcome change from other variations that depend mostly on the fatty bits and the sauce rather than the meat itself, which was just another way to showcase the skills of the guys in the kitchen. It was very juicy and sat nicely between savory and sweet without being too potent as to overshadow the bacon or the patty. The only vegetables the Hogdown had to offer were the pickled shallots with thyme, two of my favorite ingredients when I make pulled pork, were subtle enough and felt like a bacon jam with a kick. The entire thing was so filling that I didn’t need to eat until the next day, which is saying something. I paired that with a 20 HKD banknote to get a couple handfuls of the Butcher’s Club’s fantastic potato wedges thrice-cooked in duck fat.
What better place to have your fries cooked in duck fat that in, err… a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China? Fries were huge and nothing short of decadent, and I definitely recommend them, and I loved, loved, loved dipping them in the pulled pork’s sauce. And as for what I paired the Hogtown with? A Dr Pepper of course. My go to choice for pulled pork deliciousness. Yes, I could have grabbed a bourbon, but I’ll only be impressed when I see a burger which incorporates Hennessy cognac in the recipe. I mean, the stuff is all over the place in China, Hong Kong even has a road named after it, and it’s right next to the Butcher’s Club, so what’s the hold up, HK?
Overall, the Hogtown set the bar way high when it comes to burgers in China, and it’s not even JUST because it’s such a huge breath of fresh air when it comes to creativity. The Butcher’s Club boasts many more outrageous burgers on their Secret Menu, and my pal grabbed a Double Happiness burger, which was essentially an absolutely terrifying double bacon cheeseburger placed between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Butcher’s Club also does a monthly collab with other chefs from Hong Kong and all over the world which they call Burger Takeover, and it’s a great way to learn about other chefs, restaurants and styles of cooking. You can check out all of their Burger Takeover videos on YouTube, they are absolutely hilarious, possibly NSFW and filled with booze and cheer. I’ll be back.