Bacon on a burger is a very common thing, but doing it well is an accomplishment. This week on my bacon tour, I tried three different burgers from around town as well as an extra dish that was really something special. My coworker Steve Puskar drove around with me to pick up all of the food and we brought it back to the office to share. We visited Andy’s Pub, Steel 12, and the Thunder Road Burger Company.
The first burger was the Western Burger from Andy’s Pub at 3866 Peach Street . This burger was close to a half pound and was smothered in BBQ sauce. Topping off the burger were bacon and cheddar cheese. As I bit into the burger, I noticed that the meat itself was not only tender and juicy, but fantastically seasoned. The next layer of flavor that came to the forefront was the BBQ sauce. It was tangy with just a hint of sweetness and it added wonderful moisture to the burger. The flavor I tasted next was the bacon, which was cooked well and had some crispiness to it, though I definitely would have liked more. I felt as though the smokiness and saltiness of the bacon was fighting with the BBQ sauce to be the highlight of this burger, and I think that adding bacon or taking away some of the sauce would make it a true bacon smash hit.
The second bacon burger was from Steel 12 at 24 North Park Row. I have reviewed this burger before, but it deserves another look. The Double Teamer burger is a 1/3 pound Angus beef patty resting between two gooey, bacon grilled cheese sandwiches. A burger AND grilled cheese probably sounds like a lot to handle, but each individual element is handled in a way that creates a delicious, albeit sinful, indulgence. The meat of the burger itself is of such good quality that it doesn’t need more than a light hand with salt and pepper to highlight the flavor, and that’s exactly what it got. Up next, the bacon, which was crispy and salty, but the gooey melted cheese had the same effect on the bacon in this sandwich that the BBQ sauce had on the burger from Andy’s. Please don’t misunderstand this though, because the cheesy, bacon-y, messy goodness inside of each sandwich is a little piece of heaven, it could just use more bacon. I recommend asking for additional bacon on top of the burger to give it that extra punch of salty perfection.
My final burger was a brand new stop for me, as it is a fairly new eatery in town. The Thunder Road Burger Company can be found inside of Cougars at 1325 State St. I was so glad to see a place like this open in Erie, one that focuses primarily on one thing and doing that one thing really well.I knew this choice was a good one when I saw the insane selection of burgers that all sounded fantastic and actually made my mouth water. I’ll admit it was difficult to stick to the bacon-themed choices when there were options like the ahi tuna burger calling my name, but I regained composure and ordered the Stingray a.k.a. the Southern Bell burger. This huge, 1/2 pound steak burger featured high quality beef that had been very lightly seasoned and char-grilled to perfection. The burger is then topped with bacon, thick-cut ham, three cheeses, and an over easy egg. The bacon was salty, crispy and smoky, but had a hint of sweetness. The ham was juicy and paired perfectly with the velvety texture of the egg. I have no hesitation at all when I say that this burger is one of the best I have ever had, in Erie or elsewhere. Every layer of topping added fantastic flavor to the sandwich. I was worried that so many strongly flavored elements would be completely overpowering for my palate, but I really did taste and appreciate each individual element and what they did to make such a delicious and exciting burger as a whole. This really was a home run. Plus, on Mondays, burgers are just $5.00. They are open for lunch and dinner.
The extra something special we tried this week were some hot dogs from Lucky Louie’s Beer & Wieners. I had the BLT Dog and Steve had the Hog Dog. The BLT Dog is just what it sounds like. A split Smith’s hot dog is topped with fresh sliced lettuce and tomato, along with cooked-to-order, crispy, maple bacon. The small amount of mayo and the tomato added some moisture, but because the hot dog is cooked well to begin with, it elevated the whole dog to a new level. The bacon really was able to shine in this particular creation.Steve’s Hog Dog featured four slices of bacon, pepperoni, and cheddar cheese atop a split Smith’s dog. Every bit of this dish was awesome. The pepperoni added some spiciness to the sweet and salty bacon, while the cheese added a luxurious layer of creamy, smooth texture. Just talking about them makes me want another right now!
Thank you to all of the cooks and restaurants for the excellent bacon deliciousness this week. I’m excited to see (and taste) what next week’s continuation of the bacon tour brings. Don’t forget to send me suggestions of some of your favorite bacon dishes!
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food