Perhaps that’s not the best way to start out a review, but it’s how I feel right now, after having attempted to do the bare minimum research on the product about which I will be talking. If I’m lucky, after ten minutes the home page for Sonic Drive-In’s website will load. If I’m unlucky, I get a server error page. I’m unlucky more than I’m lucky. C’mon, people, you’re a national fast food chain. Make a fucking website that works, for Christ’s sake.
Nerd rage aside, I was finally able to struggle through the steaming, fetid bog of Sonic’s site to find the information I needed. First, I wanted to write a statement along the lines of “I never saw a Sonic before I moved to Arizona; apparently, my home turf of Orange County thought itself too good to allow them.” I figured I’d fact check that last part before dozens of angry, well-tanned OC residents left outraged comments. It turns out that while my former comment remains true, there was a Sonic within two miles of the house I spent the first 22 years of my life living in. Apparently, I’m just a clueless, unobservant fuck.
That aside, I’ve now lived within THREE miles of a Sonic for the last six years of my life, and the only thing I’ve ever ordered from there was a SuperSONIC Breakfast Burrito (the only breakfast burrito I’ve ever found that could support itself as a decent food item when you order it without eggs) and a blue Powerade Slush. Both are great for hangovers, by the way. I’m sure the flavor of the slush is not actually “blue”, but really, you all know what I mean. Nobody actually identifies sports drinks by flavor. Yellow, blue, purple, orange. These are your choices.
All this blathering about NOT going to Sonic has a vague purpose, in that I’ve never actually had a Sonic burger. Until NOW. Sonic recently released a limited edition burger called the Ched R Pepper SuperSONIC Cheeseburger. I’d seen the commercial for them a few times and gave it a dismissive wave of the hand, figuring Sonic thinks they’ve reinvented the wheel by adding a little more cheese and maybe some jalapeños to whatever regular goddamn burger they’ve got on the menu. But then I saw the commercial again one day and something caught my eye, so much so that I had to rewind my DVR and pause it at this moment:
Holy shit, they put jalapeño poppers on a burger! More specifically, “Ched R Peppers”, which I didn’t even know were on Sonic’s menu, since they’re not listed on the website. First of all, what a fucking terrible name. Ched R Peppers? Really? Not even gonna, you know, maybe throw an apostrophe in there? Fuck Ched R Peppers. I reserve the right to call them poppers throughout the rest of this review.
Furthermore, on their official YouTube video of the commercial, they call it a “Cheddar Pepper Burger” several times. Even Sonic itself is embarrassed.
I was repulsed and intrigued at the same time. On the one hand, putting random snack food inside a burger is ridiculous. On the other hand, putting random snack food inside a burger is awesome, and I love ridiculous. So, I knew I had to try one.
First of all, the burger is MASSIVE. It’s also probably the messiest burger I’ve ever eaten, due, in part, to the bottom bun falling apart in my hands. Poor bottom bun, it just couldn’t handle the responsibility of two giant patties, AND a ridiculous amount of cheese, AND two Ched R Peppers. It was doomed from the start. Actually, I think the real problem there is that they put all the lettuce, tomatoes, dressing, and everything else underneath the meat and poppers. There’s probably a reason they’re usually on top.
Epic battle with sliding toppings and chipotle mayo-covered hands aside, I quite liked the burger. The meat was superior to McDonald’s but probably wouldn’t hold up to In-N-Out’s standards. I’d give it a medium on the scale of rat meat patties to hand-grilled burgers at a barbeque. The cheese, well, the cheese was plentiful. Between the two thick slices on the burger and the cheese inside the poppers, ooey gooey goodness was everywhere. The chipotle mayo added a muted flavor and was pretty abundant, which was nice, except I think I licked more of it off of my hands than I actually ate inside the burger, once again due to the bottom bun rolling a crit fail. Bottom bun is Black Leaf.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the poppers played with the burger. The deep-fried breading on the poppers gave it a nice crunch, sort of like the way onion rings would, except on most burgers I’ve had with rings, the rings are so soggy that they deliver no crunch at all. Maybe that’s why the condiments were all on the bottom of this burger. Keeping the poppers dry preserved that crunch. So, both a good call and a bad call on Sonic’s part. You can’t win them all.
Actually, I just realized that there’s a burger on top already protecting the poppers, so putting the condiments on top wouldn’t have made a difference. It makes no sense. Ched R Peppers.
The jalapeños add their delicious flavor and a little bit of heat, but not as much as if you’d put a bunch of jalapeño slices on the burger. This could be because the fat in the cheese binds to the capsaicin molecules in the pepper, thus reducing their potency. SCIENCE!
Or it could be because Sonic buys milder jalapeños, because all fast food chains think Americans can’t handle actual spicy food. Whatever.
Sonic wins points for the Ched R Pepper SuperSONIC Cheeseburger being insa- uh, creative, but loses points for being poorly constructed, resulting in a burger you should never, ever eat in your car, on your way to an important interview. Then again, if you’re eating a cheeseburger on your way to an interview, you’re probably applying at Sonic Drive-In, so have at. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the poppers played with the burger, and I also liked how plentiful and complimentary the chipotle mayo was. The meat and the abundant cheese were also satisfying. Putting jalapeño poppers on a burger may seem ridiculous, but consider that they’ve been doing it in New Jersey for about 40 years, so maybe it isn’t so crazy, after all. As a matter of fact, I’d like other fast food chains to start stepping up their game and stuffing their burgers full of various kinds of bar food. It’d keep me in business for months!
- Score: 3.5 out of 5 Fat Kokos (Don’t know what that means? You’re the jerk who doesn’t click the links!)
- Price: $4.69
- Size: 1 burger (418 grams)
- Purchased at: Sonic #3517
- Nutritional Quirks: 1,899 milligrams of sodium. Suck it, Double Down!