There are some burgers you would happily tell your mother about. These burgers are made from good quality beef, involve plenty of fresh ingredients, and usually have an alluring name and some sort of discernible ethos behind them.
Then there are the burgers you'd rather keep secret. These are the ones your mother warned about—the burgers that exist on the fringes of society and serve no other purpose but instant gratification.
In Glasgow, Scotland, one such burger has been quietly raising the city's cholesterol for years. Available only from a few after-hours burger vans (I got mine from a van on Sauchiehall Street), and best tackled after at least six beers, the Scooby Snack (£3.50, about $5.70) is binge food par excellence. Fried egg, flat sausage, bacon, cheese, potato scone, and a burger patty are crammed into a floury roll then slashed with cheap, sweet ketchup the color and consistency of fake blood.
The burger patty itself is nothing to get excited about. There's no pink inside it, it isn't char-grilled, and it most definitely hasn't been hand-formed. Rather, it's a functional piece of pressed meat that has been slapped around the hotplate long enough to become edible.
It's what's going on around the patty that really gets your heart thumping. Roughly the same dimensions as four square beer mats stacked on top of each other, the flat sausage acts like a second, pork-based patty. Made from a mixture of beef and pork, flat sausage has a much coarser texture than regular sausage, allowing it to trap fat between the fibers and making it exceptionally juicy and tasty.
The potato scone, or "tattie scone" as the locals call it, acts in a similar way. Tattie scones are made by mixing mashed potato and plain flour into dough, rolling it out into small circles, then frying the discs off in a hot griddle to make dense pancake-like "scones" about half a centimeter thick. On the Scooby Snack, this acts as a super absorbent, savory sponge that takes on the flavor of everything around it.
The other toppings are notable mostly in their capacity to load extra fat on an already saturated bun: the bacon is thick cut and salty, the sunny-side up egg is oily, and the slice of processed cheese is gooey and coagulated.
The result is a burger that looks, feels, and tastes like it should be illegal. The flavors, perhaps as a result of sharing the same hotplate, intermingle and fuse to become one dominant and overriding sensation of meat and grease. This is a taste better experienced than described, but suffice to say it is one you can feel all the way down to your heart.
The Scooby Snack is not for the meek. It's a grease overload designed to satisfy only the most ravenous and indiscriminate hunger. But what else would you be looking for at 2 a.m. on a dark Glasgow night?