I kicked off my reviews of Burger King’s Summer Menu with the Bacon Sundae, defying tradition and having my dessert first. Burger King says I can have it my way, and I’m doing it, dammit.
Next up, we have our side dish and main course – namely, Sweet Potato Fries and the Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich.
Burger King Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes seem to be the most recent trend making the rounds at major fast food restaurants. I’m sure they’ve been available regionally, somewhere, in some places I’m too lazy to look up, but recently they’ve been introduced on a nationwide level on the big chains’ menus. Sonic has Sweet Potato Tots, Wendy’s recently introduced their own Sweet Potato Fries, And Chick-fil-A had Sweet Potato Waffle Fries, although that seemed to be a limited edition item.
Not to be outdone, Burger King now has their own Sweet Potato Fries.
Burger King describes these fries as “sweet and savory alternative to our French fries, served hot and freshly prepared, they are the perfect combination of salty and sweet. Enjoy the crispy outside and the tender sweetness on the inside.”
I’ve never actually had sweet potato fries before, so this was a completely new experience for me. I am not used to my fries being an even brighter orange than The Thing. Foods like carrots and oranges obviously share a similar hue, but if I’m going to Burger King, I’m not there to improve my eyesight or ward off scurvy. I’m there to improve my chances of getting Type II diabetes.
The fries had a nice texture; they were crunchy without being hard, and were, as advertised, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They also seemed longer than regular fries, with very few short fries in the box. I hate when half my order of fries turn out to be an inch long. Fries are made for dipping, and short fries make that messy and difficult.
Speaking of dipping, I ate my Sweet Potato Fries straight, because I was unsure what would be the appropriate dip for them. Again, as promised, they were both sweet and savory, but seemed to lean more towards the sweet side.
Unfortunately, my fries seemed to be undersalted. With more salt, I feel like the sweet and savory balance would have been more even, which would have led to a more enjoyable sweet potato fry experience. They were also lukewarm at best, despite my local Burger King being less than a five minute drive away from my home. I can’t hold that against the fries, though; that can often be attributed to the vagaries of different restaurant locations.
Burger King’s Sweet Potato Fries were a new experience for me, and I was happy to have tried them. I’m not a big fan of sweet and savory together, but even with the salt level not being up to my taste, I did eat the whole order. As fries go, the texture was pretty much ideal – just the right crispiness on the outside, with tender innards. There was an almost negligible number of soggy, overcooked, or short fries, which is a rare thing in my fast food experience.
If you’re into sweet and savory, Burger King’s Sweet Potato Fries will be right up your alley. Get ‘em while you can, though; Burger King’s Summer Menu obviously will only last…well, through the summer, I’m assuming. If you don’t understand the concept of seasons, then I can’t help you.
Burger King Mephis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
I’ve never been to Memphis, or the South, or to any place that’s really known for their barbecue prowess. However, between the Food Network and the Travel Channel, I’ve probably seen about 15 different shows about barbeque. I’ve also had some really great pulled pork from local BBQ joints. I’m not claiming that either of these things makes me an expert by any means, but I’m pretty confident that I can tell the difference between good barbecue and crappy barbeque.
Let the indignant comments from residents of true barbecue cities commence!
And yes, I do plan to spell bar-b-que in all of the different and yet “officially” acceptable ways throughout this review. I like to keep it fresh.
Burger King’s official description of their BBQ sandwich: “The Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich combines tender pulled pork with the hickory-smoked and sweet flavor of Memphis BBQ Sauce, topped with sliced onions, and a sweet southern sauce, all on a warm, toasted artisan-style bun.”
Hm. Both “Memphis BBQ sauce and “sweet southern sauce”? I’m not even sure what the latter means, but we’ll see how these two play together.
Speaking of the sauces, we’ll start with those first. As you can see, there was some…runoff from my sandwich. Despite looking somewhat unappealing, this did give me the chance to taste the sauces separately. I found the sweet southern sauce to be tangy and, indeed, a little sweet, but the flavor wasn’t overpowering. I’d like to think this was engineered, as one wouldn’t want the southern sauce to overwhelm one of the key components of any bbq sandwich, which is, of course, the barbecue sauce.
Unfortunately, the Q sauce is a letdown. It basically tastes like the barbeque sauce you would dip your chicken nuggets into. Into which you would dip your nuggets. I want to say it’s a little bit richer, but that may just be my mouth trying not to think Burger King would disgrace the good name of barbecue by just dumping little dipping tubs of sauce onto their Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
BK appears to use their regular sesame seed hamburger buns for the Memphis sandwich, which was a poor choice. Due to the inherent flimsiness of fast food buns and the plethora of sauce, my pulled pork sandwich was soggy as hell right from the start, and continued to disintegrate drastically as I ate it. Barbecue is supposed to be messy, but I expect more than a sad bun that disappears into mushy nothingness when I’m eating a pulled pork sandwich.
Let’s get to the meat of things, HAHAHAHA okay. The pork exceeded my expectations, but my expectations were admittedly low to begin with. Parts of the meat were thinly shredded and tender, which was enjoyable, but there were also punctuations of large, dry chunks, which were disappointing. Each bite was a crapshoot on what quality of pork I would get. The onions added a little crunch, which was nice, but didn’t really add any flavor to the sandwich.
A fast food restaurant taking on “real” bar-b-que and having the balls to call it the Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich is already setting itself up for failure, or, at the very least, intense scrutiny. Unfortunately for Burger King, their execution was pretty much what was expected. Sub-par sauce, a soggy bun, flavorless onions, and inconsistent meat texture. The one good thing I can say is that the pulled pork surprised me in that there were actual hints of tender shredded meat hidden under all that sauce that almost made me believe I was eating actual barbecue.
My advice to fast food restaurants is this: do not mess with something as iconic as barbecue. It’s too risky. Stick to coming out with outrageous shit, like sticking a milkshake inside a hamburger or something. That way, nobody can ever fault you for being inauthentic or sub-par, because nobody knows what the fuck you’re doing in the first place.
Burger King Summer Menu: Sweet Potato Fries
Burger King Summer Menu: Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich