The Distinguished Gourmand: The ‘Merica Burger @ Slater’s 50/50
Only a refined palate such as mine can transition from dining on escargot and chirashi to ordering the ‘Merica burger at Slater’s 50/50 in a span of 48 hours. It takes real foodie dedication to complete such an arduous gastronomical task. Also I start marathon training next Wednesday so I need to get all this food into my system now before my diet changes over to protein shakes, leafy greens and carbs for the next few months. It’s like they always say: put on five pounds right before you start training yourself for a tough physical contest. At least I think I heard someone say that once. It was probably on The Simpsons fifteen years ago.
Slater’s 50/50 has been doing fantastic things for burger nuts down in Anaheim (and more recently in San Diego and Huntington Beach) for a few years now. They originally received attention for their brilliant innovation that combined 50% ground beef with 50% ground bacon to create a pork lover’s burger dream. More recently the small chain has been making headlines with the introduction of their most recent (July 2012) “Burger of The Month,” which is a real doozy.
It’s called the ‘Merica Burger. The commercial description reads as follows: “100% ground bacon plus thick cut bacon, a sunny side up egg, our new “bacon island” dressing all topped with bacon cheddar cheese.” Yeah, you read that right. Bacon on top of bacon with an egg and then two more bacon components. Bacon overkill? Coronary heart disease time bomb? The devil in disguise sent to expose our greed and bourgeois behavior a la Woland in “The Master And Margarita”?
I had to find out for myself.
The lunch crowd at the bar on a Thursday appeared to be made up of local businessmen and a steady trickle of regulars. I ordered a pint of Goose Island Matilda, which I was very happy to see on tap way out here in California. You don’t see enough Goose Island out here, which is a shame because it is one of my favorite domestic craft breweries. Bourbon County Stout is still one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted.
I also ordered the Burger Of The Month, with a side of fries. The fries were completely unnecessary, but I feel weird ordering a burger without fries. It’s like…a pizza without extra carbs on the side, or a steak without a potato, or a hooker without cocaine.
It arrived, a massing hulk of burger, and I set about determining my plan of attack. First I had to cut the thing in two to get a better glimpse of what was inside. Much to my disappointment, the “sunny side up” egg was fried, which meant there was no runny, gooey egg to mop up with the bun and patty. That turned out to be the fatal flaw of the ‘Merica burger. For all the fat content of the bacon island dressing and bacon cheddar cheese, there wasn’t enough moisture present to compensate for the dryness of the bacon patty and the thick cut bacon. With a traditional burger, of course, you cook the beef to a nice medium rare and the result is (hopefully) enough fatty juice to keep the beef moist and flavorful. When you’re cooking with bacon and only bacon, you have to cook the patty through well (we don’t want Trichinosis!), and the result is a very, very dry patty. To make matters worse, the bun is hefty and bready. With no beef juice to moisten it, it becomes just another chewy element with which to compete.
As for the taste…you’re basically eating a glorified breakfast sandwich. which is fine by me but it’s not technically a hamburger. For what it was — bacon atop bacon with a bunch of other bacon components and a fried egg — it was good. As I stated earlier, my opinion was definitely colored by the fried egg. All the pictures I’ve seen on Facebook, Instagram, and various food blogs have shown nice runny eggs. If that had been the case with my order, I’m sure my review would read differently.
The ‘Merica Burger is available at Slater’s 50/50 until the end of the month, so if you’re morbidly fascinated by these pictures or the idea of eating an absurdly porcine-flavored burger, you’ll want to head out to one of their locations before August rolls around. The good news is, I’ve heard a rumor that Slater’s just signed leases at a few more locations in Southern California (Pasadena included) so hopefully I won’t have to drive to Anaheim once my training is over and I can once again guiltlessly construct my own burger topped with fried pickle chips, chili, holiday stuffing, and Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce.
So, in conclusion: ‘Merica. Fuck-“meh”?
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