September 17th, 2014 3:00 PM
What: The Three Little Pigs Burger
House ground pork seasoned, seared and topped with bacon jam, thick cut bacon, cheese sauce and "Sri-Rancha" sauce… served on a potato bun.
Where: Scratch Kitchen & Lounge, 7445 W. Madison St., Forest Park
How: We all know bacon has long had a home atop a burger. But what about a burger made of pork? That was the logical next step for Chef-Owner Patrick O'Brien. "I wanted to get all the pig I could get into one sandwich." Hence, the name.
Why: Ever debated getting a burger because you just weren't sure if you could trust it to turn out juicy? Get nervous when the server doesn't ask how you'd like your patty cooked? I definitely have. With Scratch's Three Little Pigs Burger, nothing has been left to chance. It's their second most popular item on the menu for a reason. The foundation is a burger made from ground pork shoulder that's been seasoned with a secret mixture that had my taste buds smiling. Just the patty on the fresh, fluffy potato bun would make a satisfying, juicy sandwich. But the goodness continues with a creamy homemade "Sri-Rancha" sauce, a combination of Sriracha chilli sauce and Ranch dressing that I was surprised to find quite mild. The spice kicks in with the cheese sauce, made from scratch and also used for their Mac & Cheese. This burger is bursting with flavors and marrying perfectly with that is the unsmoked, thick-cut bacon. Scratch has decided to poach then dry-roast pork belly to make their bacon instead of smoking it so as to not overpower all of the other thoughtful elements in the burger. However the pièce de résistance, in my opinion, is the heavenly creation that is their bacon jam. The process of making it takes five hours, but it is all worth it. Pork belly is poached in bourbon for three hours, then chilled and blended, but not before adding maple syrup, jalapenos and three kinds of onions. "We really wanted to make it an indulgence burger," O'Brien said. Let me tell you, they succeeded.
Online Exclusive: Doesn't that bacon jam sound extraordinary? That's why I order it on the Mac & Cheese, along with fresh cilantro! Try it, and tell them you want the Alicia special. Maybe they'll put it on the menu! The combination of sweet, smokey and spicy is refreshed with the vibrant herb taste of the cilantro. A perfect match, in my opinion!
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What's your favorite local dish made with bacon or pork belly?
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