And the winner is....
Slater's 50/50 (duh)
Let’s set the obvious reasons aside for the moment (bistro versus fast food) and look strictly at the patty. The addition of ground bacon to a burger introduces a new flavor profile as well as a different source of fat to the burger. Fat is an important part to a good, juicy burger. A lean burger is typically a dry burger so adding bacon to a leaner beef mix should, in theory, make the burger nice and juicy. And, lets be honest, everything is better with bacon!
I enjoy the occasional fast food burger. But, in your typical fast food burger, the patty isn’t the star. Without the cheese and sauces, fast food burger patties are quite dry and blah. Since becoming gluten free, I typically go for chicken sandwiches at fast food joints because they still have something going on in the absence of the bun. The one thing that the Bacon Insider had going for it, was that the burger tasted delicious even though it was VERY dry! The Bacon Insider has chunks of meaty bacon you can see in the patty which makes it salty and smoky but also results in a hockey puck. With the brioche bun and bacon mayo (and maybe the addition of some cheese) it might have been a pretty good burger. But something that kind of bothered me… the floral shape of the burger. It wasn’t a round patty. It was scalloped. It might be something gimmicky they’re going for, but it makes it seem that much more processed.
I am a medium to medium-rare burger girl. I don’t want it bleeding but I don’t want it grey. The problem with fast food burgers is that they HAVE to cook the hell out of every single one of their burgers due to too many salmonella scares. Bistros have a bit more control over their product and can, therefore, customize their preparation and is a major factor in why Slater’s 50/50 patty is so much better. The 50/50 burger is 50% beef, 50% bacon and cooked to perfection. It’s the kind of burger that causes juice to drip down your hands when you bite into it. It’s not obviously bacon-y but you know it’s better than just beef. The bacon adds a little something special and even though you can feel your arteries clogging with every bite, you keep going until there aren’t any left. Coupled with a maple bacon milk shake and fries, it’s an indulgence I am happy to have to have a couple of REALLY hard work-outs to make up for.
The moral of this story is, if you’re simply jonesing for a fast food burger, go ahead and order the Bacon Insider. It’s pretty good. But, if you’re jonesing for a phenomenal burger masterpiece, go to Slater’s 50/50. It’s the kind of burger you dream about. (Those of you who aren't in Southern California and can’t go to Slater’s… get yourself to Southern California already! You’re missing out!)
But, you know, I might be biased because Slater’s has gluten-free buns so I can get the whole experience... and I know the executive chef (Hi Brad!).