The Sriracha Burger
Slater’s 50/50, Southern California
Southern California is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions; Old Testament, real wrath of God-type stuff: bottled fire and brimstone filling up garages! Sriracha cookbooks, pricey Sriracha Festivals, Sriracha ice cream sandwiches, Sriracha-chugging challenges, Sriracha candy canes, Sriracha sprinklers, Sriracha vodka, a $5 movie on Vimeo, a two-day rectal ring-of-fire – mass hysteria. The hot sauce end of days (affectionately referred to as Srirachapocalypse) rode in on the fire-snorting horsemen of the city of Irwindale (who had Huy Fong Foods’ shiny new factory temporarily shut down after residents complained of burning eyes and throats, rains of frogs and deaths of their first-born); shortly afterwards, the California Department of Health ordered production halted for a month while they try to determine the detrimental health effects of marketing a product with uncooked ingredients. The ensuing panic has led to a hoarding second only to the final days of foie gras in California or the eBay Twinkies buying frenzy that occurred after Hostess announced their demise.
Although Sriracha is a popular hot sauce in Thailand, it is best known in the U.S from the Huy Fong Foods variety with the big red cock on the label (although “cock sauce” sounds like it’s poised for a sword fight with Guy Fieri’s “donkey sauce”). Sriracha is a staple of most Asian restaurants, prominently displayed on the table next to a small bowl of superior chili paste. While The Big Red Cock has a burn like battery acid, it wimps out at about half the Scoville units as a jalapeno. The incendiary debauchery that has reared its spicy little head is probably best exemplified by the introduction of Slater’s 50/50 infamous Sriracha Burger. While their ample burgers are crammed with caveman flavor from the use of half 80/20 lean ground chuck and half ground bacon, the meat for the Sriracha burger is infused with the popular “rooster sauce” and dressed with its garlic and chili sibling. Apply a generous mortar of Sriracha mayo, a rib cage of crunchy honey-candied bacon, mushrooms sautéed in Sriracha and pepper jack cheese, and this becomes the devil’s burger – when you cut into the stack, that blood-red color doesn’t signify that the meat is undercooked, it is the warning sign of an impending chemical burn.
Where most capsaicin-spiked dishes have an insidious fire that sneaks up on the taste buds after the first bite is swallowed, the Sriracha Burger brings the heat at the moment it touches the tongue. The dish is served with a pickle spear that you can use to gouge your eyes out and mask the pain and a couple of spiteful little packets of Sriracha that mock and humiliate from their bed on the plate in the shadow of Satan. While the Sriracha Burger packs a fiery punch of flavor, you may want to watch your sweating, red-faced dining partners mount the challenge while you opt for something a little more normal – except you are in the den of iniquity that has redefined excess (literally) and features outrageous gastronomic creations as part of their regular menu.
If you prefer your insanity as if it came out of a lunchbox on school bus to hell, you may wish to experience the ultimate throw-back comfort food – the Peanut Butter and Jellousy. Take your basic Slater’s beef patty, cross it with thick, chewy bacon and then slather it with gobs of peanut butter and strawberry jam – think of it as a cross between a beef satay with peanut sauce and a Monte Cristo. The joint is lousy with bacon – if you want a signature milkshake to douse the eternal flames of Sriracha, consider the Maple Bacon, a thick concoction made with real maple and bacon (it’s a drink that you’ll sip and chew simultaneously). To tame that hunka hunka burning love, you could summon The King with the Graceland, a blend of chocolate syrup, bananas and peanut butter that takes care of business in a flash. If you don’t see anything on the menu that satiates your desires, you can pretty much build anything to eat or drink from a pick list of ingredients that includes anchovies; SPAM; Slater’s garlic, cheese and artichoke dip; peanut butter; horseradish – there’s no limit to what they’ll let you do to yourself in comestible or beverage format.
While Slater’s appear to be riding the train to Sriracha and Gomorrah as far as it will go, once can be assured that their cheerful gastronomic insanity will continue long after the last drop of rooster sauce potentially hits the plate; as to whether or not the Srirachapocalypse signals the end of the beloved hot sauce, we’ll just have to wait for a Revelation..
With apologies to Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
NOTE: The cost for the food was provided by Slater’s 50/50. The content provided in this article was not influenced whatsoever by the organizer of the event.