Tag Archives: 1.5 burgers

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger and Bacon Queso Fries

Oh Wendy’s, you had me at queso.

I’m pretty sure most of my blood is queso at this point. If you make a cheese that comes in sauce form, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried it. (Herdez Queso Blanco currently reigns supreme to me.) Quotes from the offensively boring commercial for Wendy’s line of queso products include “everything’s better with queso” and “feed your queso obsession”. I felt like they were talking directly to me.

Is everything really better with queso, though?

I thank both the Spring Oreos and the Herdez queso for their sacrifice. And yes, I tried it. It was beyond gross. Why did I do that?

Bacon Queso Burger

I picked the burger over the chicken sandwich that’s available (with all the same toppings) because I felt the beef/queso combo would be more interesting. I’ve dunked chicken into cheese sauce numerous times, but usually my cow interacts with cheese in slice form.

Wendy’s describes their Bacon Queso Burger as “A quarter-pound of fresh, never frozen beef topped with warm and spicy poblano queso, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, fire-roasted salsa, red onions, and shredded cheddar cheese, all served on a toasted red jalapeno bun.”

I’ma get right down to it before I break down the various working parts: this burger was straight-up disappointing. I was hoping to just get real messy with some queso, but it was hardly there.

As you can see, there was more salsa than queso. It was had a little bit of heat, but the flavor was very bland. There was a hint of fire-roasted tomato, but other than that, it wasn’t something I would equate with actual salsa. It was more of a tomato mush.

I couldn’t taste any heat in the “red jalapeno” bun, although I could see little red flecks in it. It acted as little more than the usual deflated fast food bun, but the fact that it was toasted seemed to add a little extra touch to the burger that an untoasted bun wouldn’t; plus, that might have helped protect it from getting extra mushy from all the salsa.

One highlight: the bacon. I haven’t eaten at Wendy’s in quite a while, but one thing they seem to consistently get correct is their Applewood smoked bacon. It was thick, it was crunchy, and it was everything that fast food bacon usually isn’t. It’s just as good as if you made it at home in your cast iron skillet.

Also crunchy were the onions, being able to resist sogginess in their raw form. Their sharp bite seemed a bit unnecessary among all these other flavors, though.

And finally, on to the thing we’re really here for: the queso. The main star of the show. And the biggest problem.

First off, there were technically two types of queso on my Bacon Queso Burger. One of them was shredded cheddar cheese, except all I could detect were a few scant pieces on my burger. No worries though, because the star of the show is the queso sauce!

Except the queso sauce totally sucked.

First of all, I expected my burger to just be exploding with cheese sauce, much like with Jack in the Box’s Hella-Peño Burger. I don’t mind the mess; I welcome it. But the sauce was quite scant and the amount of salsa easily overshadowed it.

The biggest sin, however, is that this queso sauce had no queso flavor, and no poblano flavor to boot. Tasting it solo, there might have been a teensy bit of spiciness, but other than that, nothing. This burger had less cheese flavor than a regular cheeseburger, and it had TWO different cheeses on it.

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger made me sad. But I thought perhaps the next item I ordered would really let the queso shine…

Bacon Queso Fries

Wendy’s description: “Our natural-cut fries seasoned with sea salt and topped with warm and spicy poblano queso, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese.”

Okay, so no salsa mucking up the works now.

Which only reinforced how offensively bland this queso sauce was.

The bacon was still crispy and delicious (although a somewhat unwieldy fry topping) and Wendy’s fries are actually quite good and have that “natural potato” taste, so those were both good points. But it was, again, the highlight ingredient that was its downfall.

I will say that, on the surface, the fries looked short on toppings, but once I mixed it all together it coated all the fries quite nicely, and there was a lot of bacon to go around. Nothing irritates me more than cheesy fries or nachos that don’t get adequate coverage.

It took me a while to really pin it down, but Wendy’s queso is basically Bechamel sauce and xantham gum. Furthermore, Wendy’s promised me not just queso, but poblano queso, and while there seemed to be little bits of…things in the sauce, the flavor just wasn’t there.

You’ve besmirched the good name of queso, Wendy’s. I’d consider this a capital crime, but you do have really good bacon. And I can’t quit that chili. Just…work on your cheese sauce game, or just stay out of it.

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 “everything’s better with queso”s
  • Price: $4.89
  • Size: 1 burger
  • Purchased at: Wendy’s #00000621
  • Nutritional Quirk: On the Wendy’s website, the ingredients for Poblano Queso Cheese sauce just says “CONTAINS MILK”

Bacon Queso Fries

  • Score: 2 out of 5 “feed your queso obsession”s
  • Price: $2.49
  • Size: n/a
  • Purchased at: Wendy’s #00000621
  • Nutritional Quirk: At 510 calories, these fries are just 40 calories less than the burger. That seems wrong, somehow.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich PackageI remember trying the original Angry Whopper back in (what Wikipedia tells me was) 2008. This was before I had a website where I could share my views on fast food with the world, but that didn’t stop my husband and I from reviewing it with each other, and the general consensus was “unimpressed”.

We also pondered why the Whopper was angry, and was the whole burger angry? I declared that I would be disappointed if every ingredient wasn’t angry. I want my iceberg lettuce angry, dammit. This conversation went on for several minutes. We have fun.

Now, eight years later, Burger King is at it again with its Angriest Whopper Sandwich. I feel like we skipped a rung. Where was the Angrier Whopper? I also feel like they’ve marketed themselves into a corner. If this is the angriest a Whopper can possibly get, and it’s not spicy as hell, I guess we’ll all just have to give up and go home.

That wrapper is making a lot of assumptions about a.) the current status of my health and b.) how impressed I’m going to be with the Angriest Whopper. Also, what am I supposed to do, pin my sauce-stained wrapper to my shirt as a badge of pride? Show it to all my friends?

Oh, I know what I’m supposed to do: post it to Instagram, where nobody can care, and without looking you in your pride-filled eyes.

Here’s how Burger King describes the burger: “The Angriest WHOPPER® sandwich consists of savory flame-grilled beef, piled high with thick-cut bacon, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, angry onion petals, jalapeños, creamy mayonnaise and spicy angry sauce all layered between a red bun that has hot sauced baked in.”

That’s right, “hot sauced”. Apparently Burger King was so busy dyeing their buns a violent shade of red that they forgot to hire a copy editor.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich

Here we see the Angriest Whopper in all its unnatural glory. The angry onion petals and jalapeños are readily apparent, which is nice.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich Ingredients

Here we see Burger King’s notoriously shitty iceberg lettuce. I can actually see some green in there, which is a marked improvement from the usual BK sandwich. Also, good angry petal coverage, confusing tomato slice placement.

Of course, I had to try the bun on its own, to see if I could really taste any hot sauce(d). As it turns out, I actually could! It didn’t have a distinct hot sauce(d) flavor, but there was definitely some spice in there. Color me impressed. Also, color my poop red. More on that later.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich Halves

My Angriest Whopper got very angry when I cut it in half. Things were sliding out everywhere. There were casualties. However, this gave me the opportunity to try the angry onion petals by themselves, one of the few unique ingredients on this burger.

They did indeed taste spicy, but I couldn’t tell if that was the petals themselves or the fact that they were already covered in angry sauce. Predictably, they were also very soggy, which is disappointing since they could have added a nice crunch.

Which brings us to the other unique ingredient, the angry sauce. There certainly was a lot of it, and it was pretty spicy, but there were several things that bothered me about it. First of all, it was also sweet. And it was more of a glaze than a sauce – it had the consistency and appearance of sweet and sour sauce.

The sweetness in the sauce really bothered me. There’s no sweet in angry! There was a real opportunity to make a snot-inducing habanero sauce or something similar. I did get some sniffles, but that was about it.

As for the other ingredients: the bacon was crispy but not really necessary. The lettuce and mayo completely disappeared and were also unnecessary. The tomatoes were actually juicy and added a nice cooling factor. The jalapeños were your typical pickled variety and added to the heat.

And the cheese. The cheese! One pathetic slice of American?! Even the original Angry Whopper had pepper jack! American is a step down in angry level. It also added nothing of value to the burger.

Overall, Burger King’s Angriest Whopper Sandwich was a messy disappointment. There was too much crammed into the burger, the cheese was lame, and the fact that the sauce was sweet really did make me angry.

Was it spicy? Yes, the copious amounts of sauce and the jalapeños did make for a pretty high level of heat for a fast food burger. But the sauce pretty much dominated everything. And it was sweet. Did I mention that?

I wish I could have tasted if the angry onion petals were actually angry or not. I’d like to see them as a side dish menu option as an alternative to onion rings. I would definitely order those with a side of ranch.

It was hard to tell if the hot sauced bun added any heat to the burger, but that brings me to an important Public Service Announcement:

Burger King seems to have a propensity for adding food coloring to their menu items that make the end result at best interesting and at worst, alarming. Yes, I am talking about your poopies. The Halloween Burger turned people’s feces neon green, and the Red Velvet Oreo Shake sent some people running to their doctors, alarmed that they had a sudden case of “I am hemorrhaging blood out of my ass”.

Given that nature doesn’t make fire truck-red hamburger buns, I am expecting similar…results after having eaten the Angriest Whopper Sandwich. I’m not above resorting to poop humor in my reviews, but I’m including this in all seriousness in case someone eats this burger and then runs to the ER because they think they are dying. You are not dying. Your poops have just been dyed.

Unless you really are dying. I’m not a doctor. I’m just trying to help save some people some panic attacks and medical bills.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 red poopies
  • Price: $5.79
  • Size: 1 sandwich
  • Purchased at: Burger King #17145
  • Nutritional Quirk: 51 grams of regretted fat.

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheeseburger Crackers

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheeseburger Crackers PackageWho doesn’t love a good cheeseburger? Well, I guess the answer to that would be vegetarians. But still. With it being July 4th, and on a Saturday no less, you can bet that grills all over the country are going to get fired up and many cows shall be sacrificed to the barbecue gods.

Which means, of course, that it’s the perfect time to break out…Goldfish crackers?

Yes, that’s right, Pepperidge Farms has a new flavor of Goldfish, and it’s Cheeseburger. Showing my age here, but I seem to remember a time when Goldfish were just cheese. Maybe pretzel? Now they have an actual section in the cracker aisle, complete with sweet flavors and foil-lined FLAVOR BLASTED varieties.

As you can see by the picnic-themed package, while the flavor is technically Cheeseburger, there’s actually three different fish flavors involved: ketchup, cheddar and burger. Does this sound gross to you? Well, it’s probably supposed to. Goldfish Cheeseburger Crackers has “intentionally outrageous” written all over it.

Speaking of packaging, I can’t help but comment on the weirdness I found on the back of the bag:

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheeseburger Crackers Package Back

The caption above this picture reads, “They took a trip to Grandma’s house through hills and over dale, it’s always fun wherever they go. Now tell us your Goldfish tale.”

While that sounds innocent and all, I’m getting a real The Hills Have Eyes vibe from the picture. I feel like the convertible is filled with a group of carefree Goldfish teenagers on a summer road trip. The two in the front are probably a couple, feeling good after just engaging in some full-on out-of-wedlock canoodling just minutes earlier, while the three in the back passed a joint around.

Oh, sure, that Goldfish sitting on the porch in the background looks innocent, but when those teen fishies drive up to ask for directions, they’re going to be in a world of trouble. If you’ve never played Fallout 3 or seen Six String Samurai, let’s just say that the smiling, happy family living out in the sticks wants to have you for dinner, if you catch my drift.

Back to our less-doomed Goldfish. Well, not so much, considering I will be eating them. As I mentioned before, these seem to exist purely for their wtf value. But when you break it down, are they really that outrageous?

The cheddar ones are obviously just regular Goldfish.

Ketchup may seem weird, but only if you’re an American living outside of the Mid-Atlantic area – Herr’s, based in PA, makes Heinz Ketchup Potato Chips, which I was able to try thanks to MunchPak and actually found quite delicious (even though I don’t like actual ketchup). And if you live in Canada, you can probably find a bag of Lay’s Ketchup right next to the original flavor.

Burger is obviously the real yuck-factor flavor here. But is it really that far-fetched? Chicken in a Biskit has existed since 1964. Ritz has Bacon Crackers on store shelves, which I consider the spiritual successor to Nabisco’s tragically discontinued Bacon Thins. I could go on – Doritos has ventured into the world of meat-flavored chips several times.

The long-winded point I’m making here is that YOU DON’T SCARE ME, GOLDFISH! When I first picked them up, I had the knee-jerk hesitance anyone would have regarding Cheeseburger crackers, but now that I’ve broken it down, I feel a sense of relief.

Of course, I haven’t actually tried them yet.

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheeseburger Crackers

When you eat a Cheeseburger, you don’t lick the bun, peel the cheese slice off and then bite the burger separately, but I felt like I should try each one separately before putting the whole thing together.

The smell when I opened the bag was very much…cheeseburger. Cheap cheeseburger. McDouble cheeseburger. I’ve encountered this phenomenon before, with Doritos Cheeseburger chips. Which was honestly encouraging, as I didn’t throw up after eating those, so hey. Not throwing up is always a plus when doing a review.

All ideas of trying each flavor separately went out the window as soon as I carefully picked out my first cheese-flavored Goldfish. I should have expected this, because obviously the flavor dust of the three respective flavors is going to mingle as they wiggle around in the bag. So, despite trying all three flavors separately several times, they all tasted pretty much the same.

I was surprised that burger wasn’t the overwhelming flavor – instead, there was mostly a traditional Goldfish cheese taste, with hints of tomato and something vaguely beefy. Honestly, the smell was much more reminiscent of cheeseburger than the actual taste.

What was most notable was the weird, bitter aftertaste that followed each handful of Cheeseburger Goldfish. I have zero explanation as to why it was there, but it definitely was, and it detracted greatly from my bizarro cheeseburger cracker experience. This was the most disappointing part of Goldfish Cheeseburger Crackers, which sounds strange when you’re talking about little burger fish.

I looked to the ingredients list for possible explanations for the bitterness, but was met only with more questions. I assume “grill flavor from sunflower oil” was meant to create the burger flavor, but what does that even mean? Tomato paste” accounts for the ketchup taste, but what the hell are juice concentrates of watermelon and apple doing in there? What is going on?

Another odd tidbit – a while after I’d put the Cheeseburger Goldfish away, I suddenly felt like my breath smelled like a pound of raw onions. I mean, there’s both onion powder and onion juice concentrate (ew) listed, but I never really caught that as a dominant flavor while I was eating the crackers.

I guess my final takeaway from Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheeseburger Crackers is confusion. They smelled so promisingly cheeseburger-y, but they didn’t taste nearly as strong, and the bitter aftertaste ruined the experience. That part became even weirder than the idea that I was eating burger fish. And what’s with the onion breath? How does sunflower oil turn into grill flavor? Watermelon juice?

I think I’ll just leave you with that question.

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheeseburger Crackers

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 cannibalistic Goldfish
  • Price: $1.99
  • Size: 6.3 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Target
  • Nutritional Quirk: With so many weird ingredients, it’s hard to pick just one. I do wonder why they didn’t use beef bouillon for flavoring, however.

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread: All Original, Black Pepper and Red Chile & Garlic

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread All Original Black Pepper Red Chile & Garlic JarsI’m not one to back down from a food challenge. I’d like to think that’s readily apparent. So when I was given the opportunity to try Bacon Jams, I took a deep breath and did two things:

  1. I looked up The Bacon Jams to make sure this wasn’t some sort of fake product, which it obviously isn’t (although that would make for an interesting review, I guess)
  2. I found out that bacon jam is actually a real thing, and not just some hype invented by this company. In fact, in Austria it has its own much cooler and unassuming name, Verhackert.

I kind of want to call Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Verhackert for the rest of the review, because it just sounds so much better.

I’ll be straight – I try to be objective on all my reviews, but sometimes it’s difficult. This is one of those times. The idea of bacon jam does not give my taste buds any enthusiasm. I just keep thinking of bacon stuck in sweet, gelatinous goo, and it makes my stomach lurch a little.

While my stomach flips, my brain goes on yet another rant about bacon. I love bacon, I’m just so tired of Internet bacon hype. The Bacon Jams seem to be part of this hype.

And while my stomach flips and my brain rages, my heart ventures to ask the question: What if I actually like bacon jam?

I have to say, my heart (but not my arteries) softened a little after I read about The Bacon Jams’ humble beginnings. It was created by a group of home brewers, including a food scientist, and was funded by Kickstarter. After all that, now you can buy it from SkyMall!

Okay, SkyMall went bankrupt, but still.

Knowing that they take their product seriously – despite having a pig playing a guitar as your logo – and this isn’t just some Archie McPhee-style product made me a little less scared to try it.

All Original

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread All Original Jar

I will tell you I almost gave up my profession and changed my address when I opened the All Original jar and there was fat on top. That whole “less scared” thing kind of flew out the window.

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread All Original

I chose toast to spread my jam upon, as it seemed the most bland of the foods I could pick to let the real jam taste shine through.

Part of me wants to tell you that, after all this build-up, Bacon Jams was awful and I immediately vomited into my kitchen sink. But the truth is…it’s not that bad. I know that’s also not a gushing endorsement, but that was how I felt after my first taste of All Natural.

The first taste that comes through is bacon. Reassuring, right? And not Bacon Bits bacon. Not artificial bacon flavor with Liquid Smoke. Honest-to-goodness, cooked on the stove bacon.

Almost immediately after the bacon comes the sweetness. It’s not a cloying sweetness, however. I was immediately reminded of eating bacon after I’d accidentally gotten some syrup from my pancakes on it. Or, maybe you put syrup on your bacon on purpose.

That was it. Sweet, mapley bacon. Oh, and onions. The texture was chunky, but not like crispy bacon. I assume being suspended in jam inevitably softened the bacon itself. I attribute most of the chunkiness to the inclusion of the onions, which worked to make the texture more pleasant as I chewed, keeping it Bacon Jam and not Bacon Jelly, which somehow manages to sound worse.

Red Pepper & Garlic

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Red Chile & Garlic Jar

I found this flavor to be most intriguing, as red pepper and garlic aren’t flavors you commonly find associated with bacon.

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Red Chile & Garlic

This was the least bacon-y of the Jams. It’s hard to imagine a food where bacon is the main ingredient not tasting like bacon, but the flavor is definitely muted. Instead, the stand-out here is the onions and garlic. It’s like a sweet onion-garlic spread.

What of the red chile, you ask? I also ask. Because it wasn’t there. I could see it, but I just couldn’t taste the spicy bite of it. Perhaps the fat from the bacon neutralized the heat? All in all, it was the most subtle jam of the three, and the least bacon-y.

Black Pepper

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Black Pepper Jar

Black Pepper was my favorite of all the Bacon Jams, if I had to pick a favorite.

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread Black Pepper

If you enjoy thick-cut bacon coated with black pepper, this is the Jam for you. It was the most savory of the Jams, which is why I liked it the most. There was still some sweetness there, but that black pepper bite cut through it quite pleasantly. The ever-present onion also complimented the pepper nicely.

After ingesting three slices of The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread toast, my stomach felt a little funky, but I attribute that to the sweetness – which is also my biggest complaint about Bacon Jams. I get that many people like their bacon sweet, and that this is also a jam, but that part just wasn’t my cup of tea.

That said, Bacon Jams is actually a quality product, with goddamn real bacon – which it better have, for the price of $15 per 8 ounce jar. All Original will please maple bacon fans, while those who like a savory bacon (still with some sweetness) might prefer Black Pepper. As for Red Chile & Garlic, it just came off as kind of weak.

While I wouldn’t buy this for myself, I could definitely see others enjoying this on toast, or on top of a bagel schmear, or maybe even on a BLT or grilled cheese. As for The Bacon Jams, they have higher aspirations, whichi were showcased in a nice little recipe book that came with my jar. Some of them I find to be quite a stretch, like S’mores Bacon Jam (hurgh) and Swedish Meat Balls with Bacon Jam Sauce, which sounds like they just made a scary dish scarier.

So, I didn’t throw up, which was good, especially after opening up that first jar. But I didn’t fall in love, either, which is also good, because of how much this stuff costs. If you’ve got the money and love bacon, WHICH IF YOU ARE ON THE INTERNET RIGHT NOW READING THIS I AM SURE THAT YOU DO, then you might try giving it a shot, if just to experience a unique pork product.

[Disclaimer: I received this product for free from The Bacon Jams. This in no way colors the objectivity of my review, as is evidenced by the amount of time I reference vomiting.]

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread: All Original, Black Pepper and Red Chile & Garlic

  • Score (All Original): 2 out of 5 layers of fat
  • Score (Red Chile & Garlic): 1.5 out of 5 missing chiles
  • Score (Black Pepper): 3 out of 5 Swedish meatballs
  • Price: Free
  • Size: Three 8 oz. jars
  • Purchased at: Delivered for free
  • Nutritional Quirk: Contains real, actual bacon! Also contains only 2 grams of fat per tablespoon serving, which is way lower than I thought it would be.

Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn

Brach's S'mores Candy Corn BagFor reasons unbeknownst to me, new Halloween items started showing up unusually early this year. For example, The Impulsive Buy reviewed Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn back in August.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if there’s any holiday I like to stretch out, it’s Halloween. I’d rather see witches and ghouls in August than Santas and ornaments in October. Which, sadly, is a thing I do see.

Amazingly, this is my first Halloween review. Normally, I’d call this absolutely unacceptable, but I’ve been a little busy with personal life stuff. I guess the best way to kick things off is with candy corn, the most iconic of all Halloween treats.

Except for the fact that candy corn sucks, and this is S’mores-flavored candy corn.

If you’re going to buy a bag of candy corn, dare I say it’s probably going to be Brach’s. You’ve already established yourself as the go-to candy corn; there’s no need to branch out. Brach out? No.

But stop they have not, and so we have these. I guess it could have been worse; at least S’mores are a treat generally associated with the autumn season.

In case you had a sad childhood, let me quickly explain what S’mores are: fire-roasted or otherwise heated marshmallows and pieces of a chocolate candy bar sandwiched between two pieces of graham crackers. If you do it right, the marshmallow melts the chocolate, leaving you with a messy, delicious, sugar-filled treat.

As you can see, Brach’s went all-out with the packaging. A few autumn leaves and a picture of a S’mores sandwich. Boo. I say that both with Halloween sarcasm and as a reprimand to Brach’s for not trying harder.

Brach's S'mores Candy Corn
ooooOOOOoooo, spooky penta- yeah nevermind

Well, at least they tied the colors together as best they could – brown base for chocolate, white middle for marshmallow, and an orange tip which kinda-sorta represents the color of graham crackers.

Unfortunately, the brown coloring bleeds onto the white, resulting, oddly, in a pink hue. Perhaps that’s meant to represent the Pepto Bismol you’ll be drinking after eating too many actual S’mores.

So how does this candy corn stack up to tasting like an actual S’mores? (Is the singular of S’mores “S’more”? I don’t really care enough to look it up.)

The answer, both simply and accurately, is no. The base does taste like very artificial chocolate, but the similarities end there. The rest tastes like a candy corn. If I close my eyes and imagine real hard, I feel like I can taste a little graham cracker flavoring, but that might just be wishful thinking, like hoping to score that full-sized candy bar when you go out trick-or-treating.

What these candy corns really taste like are Indian Corn, which is found in Brach’s Autumn Mix.

It took me quite a while to even find a good example of these, because I have thought since I was a kid that these were called Witch’s Teeth. Google basically slapped me in the face and told me I was making up words. My childhood was a lie.

Mind-blowing revelations aside, Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn is basically Brach’s Indian Corn with the tip and middle colors reversed and a ghostly wisp of graham cracker flavor. Given, I think Tootsie Roll-ish candy corn is better than regular candy corn, but it’s not exactly a tremendous upgrade, and the fact of the matter is that they still taste very little like S’mores.

I guess I’ll give points to Brach’s for trying to put a new spin on an old classic, but now I’m taking away those points for basically re-branding their already-existing Indian Corn.

You know what, fuck you Internet, they’re Witch’s Teeth. I don’t care what you say.

Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 – you guessed it – Witch’s Teeth
  • Price: $2.69
  • Size: 19 oz bag
  • Purchased at: Target
  • Nutritional Quirks: Contains no corn.

Doritos Jacked Enchilada Supreme and Smoky Chipotle BBQ

Another Frito-Lay chip, another XXXtreme chip name. Ruffles became Ultimate; Doritos are now Jacked.

The word “jacked” does not immediately bring up positive connotations; when I think jacked, I think “jacked up”, like, “Oh man, you totally jacked up that guy’s face!”

Of course, now I’m old, so it’s more like, “Oh man, I totally jacked up my back while I was sleeping last night.”

Doritos seems to have a different definition of the word, however. According to the front of the bag, Jacked means “Bigger. Bolder. Thicker.”

Okay. Obviously not my first guess, but hey.

The back of the bags expounds. “It came without warning: a NEW, extreme snack sent to shock your taste buds with MIND-BLOWING flavor and a bigger, bolder, thicker CRUNCH than you’ve ever experienced before.”

The caps emphasis is all Doritos, because everyone knows caps lock means EXTREME. Or Jacked. Or maybe Doritos is just screaming at me, it’s hard to tell.

I like the idea that Doritos Jacked “came without warning”. It makes the chips sound like an old-school horror-movie monster. “It came without warning: SLIGHTLY LARGER AND THICKER TORTILLA CHIPS.” If I was your mom, I’d tell you not to eat Doritos Jacked in the dark before bedtime. You know how you get flavor dust nightmares, dear.

"Mommy, can I sleep in your bag tonight? I had that dream about those Jacked chips again."

As you can see, Jacked Doritos are indeed larger than regular Doritos, and they are also thicker. Plus side: there were almost no crushed chips in either of the bags I purchased. Negative: being larger, they are harder to shove mindlessly into your mouth. It took me at least two bites to get through each chip. Potential for double-dipping increases greatly.

Doritos Jacked comes in two flavors, Enchilada Supreme and Smoky Chipotle BBQ. Consider your mind blown all over the chip aisle of the convenience store.

Doritos Jacked Enchilada Supreme

I love enchiladas, but I had doubts about just how Supreme these Enchilada Doritos would be. According to the back of the bag, “Experience the RUSH of bold cheddar cheese & tangy salsa: then a WAVE of sizzling Mexican spices that’ll leave your taste buds BEGGING for more.”

That’s quite the promise of Flavor Country.

I wasn’t exactly sure what the “bolder” part of the Jacked equation was, but it seems to translate to “we left the chips in the flavor dust-sprayer an extra few minutes”, because these bitches be covered in powder. I’ve always appreciated finding those half-dozen Doritos in a bag that seem to have gotten an extra dust, and it seems like that’s the case with all the Jacked chips.

Unfortunately, I’ve been disappointed by Doritos and their promises of brain-spraying flavors before, and Enchilada Supreme was no exception. Again, I appreciated the heavy coating of powder, but the flavors here were nothing new. Imagine Spicy Nacho Doritos with just a hint of enchilada sauce, and that’s just about it. Does that count as a WAVE of sizzling Mexican spices? Not particularly.

Doritos Jacked Smoky Chipotle BBQ

I’d love to tell you how Doritos described these chips on the back of the bag, but we had a little…review malfunction in my household, resulting in the chips being eaten and the bag being thrown away before I had a chance to write down whatever ridiculous copy the Doritos marketing team came up with.

As an apology, I’ll use my powers of creativity and experience reading the backs of Doritos bags to make up my own description. “Your mouth parts will CRAVE this HIROSHIMA-LIKE EXPLOSION of barbecue and AUTHENTIC chipotle flavor that is so AMAZINGLY SMOKY you’ll think you just stepped into a Memphis jazz bar and someone threw a slow cooked brisket RIGHT INTO YOUR FACE. EXTREME BOLDNESS CRUNCH YOU LIKE A HURRICANE”

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Please do not mistake the accidental consumption and subsequent disposal of the bag as an overpowering eagerness to eat such delicious chips; I would describe the situation more as “these are here, and we are running out of room in the cupboard”.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, and for good reason. I’ve railed against the use of chipotle as a flavor description when there is no discernible chipotle flavor, and sadly, that remains true here. There is a little bit of smokiness, but the dominant taste is your typical barbecue chip flavoring with a definite sweet side.

Call it a personal preference, but I just don’t truck with BBQ-flavored tortilla chips. Something about the sweetness just doesn’t jive with the flavor of the tortilla chip itself. Like Enchilada Supreme, Smoky Chipotle BBQ Jacked chips are heavily coated with flavor dust, which works against the chip in this case, as it only emphasizes the sweet barbecue flavor.

The premise of Doritos Jacked chips is “Bigger. Bolder. Thicker.”, and I’d say they pretty much deliver on that tagline. They are bigger, but do you really need a bigger tortilla chip? They also do seem thicker, but not to the point of hurting your teeth, and this seems to prevent chip breakage, which I call a plus.

As for the claim of being bolder, if we’re taking that to mean more flavor powder, they do certainly deliver on that front, too. While this works for Enchilada Supreme, despite the lack of originality in flavor, it works against Smoky Chipotle BBQ, which is just too sweet and lacks any chipotle flavor.

Does the world need Doritos Jacked? Not really. I get enough crunch from regular Doritos, and I don’t really want a tortilla chip that is too big to fit in my mouth. While I am a fan of heavily-dusted chips, there’s nothing original about Enchilada Supreme, and I found Smoky Chipotle BBQ straight-up unappealing.

If the Doritos Jacked line comes out with more flavors, I’m give them a try, because I’m a sucker. But for now, I’m perfectly content with regular ol’ Doritos.

Doritos Jacked Enchilada Supreme

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 flavor dust nightmares
  • Price: $1.49
  • Size: 3 3/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Circle K #2821
  • Nutritional Quirks: Do tomato and garlic powders count as “sizzling Mexican spices”? Because that’s the closest I could find on the ingredients list.

Doritos Jacked Smoky Chipotle BBQ

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 briskets in your face at a Memphis jazz club
  • Price: $1.49
  • Size: 3 3/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Circle K #2821
  • Nutritional Quirks: No chipotle listed as an ingredient. Sigh.

Ruffles Ultimate Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch Chips, Smokehouse Bacon Dip and Beef N’ Cheese Dip

Snack food companies love to throw around words like “extreme” (or Xtreme, or XXXTREEEME), “intense”, “maximum”, and all manner of other adjectives that they want you to think makes their product seem like the craziest, most flavorful, most BLOWIN’ YOUR MIND food you’ve ever eaten.

And I fall for it every time.

Well, not exactly. I don’t expect said product to explode my head, blowing my brains all over my kitchen, or even just make me say, “Wow, that was intense.” But every time I see one of these adjectives on the shelves, I have to at least give it a glance. It is just my nature.

This time, it took a brief post on Facebook to catch my attention. Namely, a post from Ruffles proudly letting me know that their Ultimate Beef N’ Cheese Dip contained real beef brisket.

Such a matter-of-fact post, and yet, to my trained eye, I was instantly revolted and intrigued at the same time.

Soon afterward, I saw a commercial for Ruffles Ultimate that was 30 seconds of so much stupid that I had to take an inordinate amount of time pausing and rewinding it to break it down for all of you:

We open with three shlubs playing poker; balding shlub #4 walks in with his innocent-looking girlfriend (played by actress Emily Chang, whose IMDB credits include “Sexy Nurse” and “Flight Attendant”) and asks if they have room for her. She smiles, all “what are these cards and chips (get it? Poker chips in a chip commercial!) and Texas Hold ‘Em oh my goodness” and the shlubs are immediately roped in by her good looks and seeming gullibility.

She sits down; there’s a bag of Ruffles Ultimate Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch chips and a jar of Smokehouse Bacon Dip already in front of her chair, which begs the question: who was eating the chips and dip before she arrived? Did Dave just go to take a piss and was instantly usurped by the arrival of a female? Was it some sort of shrine to a dead friend and former poker buddy, who refused to play unless chips and dip were provided for him and him only? I guess we’ll never know.

She sits down and immediately says, “Mmmm, new Ruffles Ultimate,” which is a thing nobody in real life would ever actually say, and sticks a chip into the jar of dip, shoving it into her mouth with lightning speed, like she hasn’t eaten in days.

“Never seen ridges this deep,” she says, pile-driving another dip-loaded chip into her mouth. But wait! What has happened? Innocent girlfriend is suddenly wearing oversized sunglasses and a Bedazzled pair of headphones!

“ Is [sic] there chunks of bacon in this dip? Awesome!” The “awesome” is said in a reverent whisper I would reserve for, say, watching a live feed of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars while in a public library. As she says this, she makes an almost O-face and her sad-sack boyfriend sitting next to her leers. Once dressed modestly, she is now wearing a spaghetti-strapped tank top. One of the shlubs announces that he is “all in”, which I’m sure he wishes he was, in a different context.

“Bro, [unintelligible] me a cold one,” she says, now wearing a blinged-out necklace and a tight leather jacket over her tank top.

“I love you so much right now,” her boyfriend says, immediately getting up to do her bidding. It’s obvious he likes this dressed-for-the-club chick over the nice, sweet girl he walked in with, pre-Ruffles. This is sad but telling. My feminist hackles rise like the ridges of Ruffles Ultimate chips.

“Whatchoo got,” one of the guys off-camera says, in a desperate attempt to sound cool in front of the newly-sexified girlfriend while the boyfriend is in the kitchen, oblivious to one of his friends making what I assume is a double entendre.

“Ba-ZIIIIING,” she says, which is also something nobody has ever actually said, and throws her cards down. “Love boys night out,” she says, and takes, like, three chips from the pot. I take this to mean she has no idea how to play poker, and was just randomly throwing cards down and taking chips. Poker chips, not Ruffles chips.

This scene ends abruptly, leaving me to believe that the guys continue to let her win by just throwing down random cards and taking arbitrary amounts of chips from the pot, all in the hopes of having a quad-way with her as she shovels more and more Ruffles into her mouth.

“The new Ruffles Ultimate: snack like you mean it,” a voiceover says, trying his hardest to sound like the manliest man in the land. What does that phrase even mean? Have I ever snacked like I didn’t mean it? I’ve never taken anything with “sleep-eating” as a side effect, so I guess I wouldn’t know.

That sure was a hell of a lot of words to describe a commercial. Heck, you can just watch the damn thing here.

Now that I’m thoroughly disgusted with Ruffles’ advertising agency and myself, let’s get to the actual food. The word “disgusted” may or may not come up again.

Ruffles Ultimate Kickin’ Jalapeño Chips

What makes these chips “ultimate” is explained right on the front of the bag: “HARDERcore ridges for hardcore dips”.

While I’d love to go on a rant about the use of the non-word “hardercore”, there’s an even deeper issue here. Deeper than one stupid commercial. Deeper than hardercore ridges. It’s called manvertising, and Frito-Lay’s Snack Chat post makes it clear that that is what they’re going for:

“The chips rock ridges twice the size and depth of the ridges in original Ruffles Potato Chips and come in a variety of real food flavors sure to satisfy any guy gathering. The thick, deep ridges in the chips allow for guys to load up on hearty flavor with new hardcore dips…”

I’m trying desperately to stay on-topic, but I have to at least mention the ridiculousness of the phrase “real food flavors”. Have you ever seen a chip that was not “real food” flavored?

“Oh man, you gotta try these new PVC Pipe Pringles. Tastes just like plastic!”

“Check out these limited edition cotton-flavored Doritos!” (Never got past test marketing; potheads and those suffering from hangovers complained of cotton mouth.)

Okay, okay, I got it out of my system. Anyways, I don’t go around burning my bras, but stuff like this is so blatantly sexist that my feminist hackles can’t help but go up. I really don’t mind if products that are obviously intended for guys, like, say, Old Spice deodorant, are directly marketed to the male gender, but things like low-calorie soda or chips with bigger ridges can be enjoyed by both genders.

More on this later. Oh, that’s right. We’re not done yet.

Here’s some words about these stupid chips. As you can see, they do have deeper ridges, but they aren’t much thicker than regular Ruffles. Will deeper ridges alone allow for less chip breakage when dipping? We shall find out in a moment.

As for the flavor, I’m completely dismissing the “Kickin’” part because that’s just regular ol’ unnecessary adjective addition, which has become pedestrian in this day and age of snack food marketing. It’s like when you type the same word over and over again; after a while, it loses all meaning and your eyeballs just pass right over it. I don’t even care that Ruffle is doin’ the whole gerund-abbreviation thin’. It don’t mean nothin’.

The jalapeño flavor does have some actual heat to it, which is always appreciated in a product that claims to have some spice goin’ on. The ranch flavor was surprisingly strong, especially on the finishing end; it lingers more than the jalapeño flavor, but has an authentic ranch flavor that I enjoyed.

Oh, by the way, the back of the bag also says, “Your hunger’s about to get kicked in the tail by the hottest ranch this side of Carson City.”

If you don’t quite get the joke there, you’re obviously an out-of-touch woman, or a sissy man who has never been with a legal whore. Watch out; Ruffles will revoke your Man Card for such an offense.

Ruffles Ultimate Smokehouse Bacon Dip

The jar wants to make sure I know that there’s real bacon inside, which is not inherently bad, because, hey, bacon, but I’m a little disturbed at what this bacon is suspended in. The name of the dip is completely bacon-centric, but its creamy whiteness left me unsettled.

I decided to plow ahead without reading the ingredients on the jar and let my tongue decide what was going on. It’s not like I wasn’t going to eat it anyways, and ignorance is bliss, right?

I also decided to try to Smokehouse Bacon Dip with the Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch Chips, because that’s what Emily Chang did in the commercial, and I always follow the serving suggestions of snack food manufacturers.

Speaking of which, why not just have Emily Chang turn into a dude at the end of the Ruffles Ultimate commercial? Who wants a sexy chick interrupting your male-bonding poker game? After all, nothing says “completely heterosexual guy gathering” like getting something thick, white and creamy all over your hands with your best buds?

Damn these hackles! So distracting! Anyways, as you can see, Ruffles Ultimate chips immediately failed the “hardercore” test, breaking almost immediately after contact with the thick dip. Way to fail at the one thing you claimed you could accomplish, Ultimate chips. I just so happened to have a bag of regular Ruffles in my cupboard, so I thought a comparison might be in order…

Well, this is awkward...


As for the taste of the dip, it was…well, kind of bland, really. Kind of like a half-assed blend of ranch and sour cream flavors. Out of the three rather large chipfuls of Smokehouse Bacon Dip I ate, only one actually contained a chunk with texture that suggested I was eating a piece of bacon, and even then, it was limp and chewy.

The bacon flavor itself, despite the jar’s claim of real bacon, tasted more like Bacon Bits, and was more of an aftertaste. It’s sad when “bland white stuff” taste overwhelms “real bacon” taste. It even overwhelmed the bit of heat from the chips, somehow. I never knew bland could be so strong.

In hindsight, I’m glad I tried the dip before I read the ingredients. Some of the ingredients with sub-ingredients (have I used the word “ingredients” enough yet?) include “sour cream flavor”, “smoky bacon type flavor” and “butter type flavor”. I’ve never seen so many types. Especially without the grammatically appropriate hyphens.

Ruffles Ultimate Smokehouse Bacon Dip wasn’t gross, per se; it was just bland and disappointing. I wasn’t exactly expecting to be blown away with awesome bacon flavor, nor was I expecting to suddenly be wearing ridiculous bejeweled headphones. I was just expecting something beyond blah. I also was not expecting butter type flavor.

But Smokehouse Bacon Dip is joy in a jar compared to what was to come next…

Ruffles Ultimate Beef N’ Cheese Dip

And here we have the dip that started it all. There’s real beef inside, which I already knew from the Facebook post that told me it contained not just real beef, but real beef brisket.

No questions regarding meat content here; when I opened the lid, I was greeted with, well…that. Ominous lumps hiding just under the surface of a sea of processed cheese. I was already filled with trepidation.

The Ultimate chips fared better with this dip, as the cheese was less thick than the Smokehouse Bacon Dip.

However, the regular Ruffles fared just as well, so Ultimate still loses.

These were the first and last two bites of Beef N’ Cheese Dip I will ever experience. I wanted to stop at one, but I already had the second chip loaded up, and I thought the dip deserved at least two chances.

Let me explain further…

Ruffles Ultimate Beef N’ Cheese Dip is horrible. As the dip first entered my mouth, my taste buds were met with processed cheese flavor, which was not unexpected. However, it went beyond just processed, and ventured into, no, past the worst elementary-school-cafeteria nacho cheese you’ve ever tasted.

And then there was the beef. The chunks were visibly large, but also disturbingly soft. The more I chewed, the worse it got. It started out like a bad piece of meat from a can of Dinty Moore stew, but quickly turned into what I can only describe as “value” generic-brand dog food. I’ve never tasted dog food, but I’ve certainly smelled it, and the “beef brisket” chunks in this dip must be close to what you’d feed your dog if you hate it and want it to die. It is animal cruelty disguised as human chip dip.

Just when I thought it couldn’t be worse, the cheese goo from Hell and the dog food chunks somehow conspired to make the aftertaste even worse. Sometimes I go into food knowing that it’s going to be bad; I steel myself, but soldier on. This…this I was not expecting. The taste lingered in my mouth like a wretched food poisoning-induced vomit, which was appropriate, because I actually felt nauseous after eating it.

I was actually hungry before I had started this review; after the Beef N’ Cheese dip, I honestly had no desire to eat anything, instead dousing my mouth with a cold, bitter mug of coffee that had been hanging around for hours. I verbalized actual “ugh” and “bleeeeeh” sounds as I reeled around my house, which may sound overdramatic, but I was alone, and the sounds were genuine.

The taste refused to leave, like an animal had died inside the wall of my house, except the only exterminator that could eliminate this putrid flavor would be the cold, bony finger of Death himself.

Okay, that last part was a little overdramatic. But only a little.

Overall, my Ruffles Ultimate experience was far from ultimate. The flavor of the Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch Chips was okay but nothing original or fantastic, and the deeper, wider ridges were actually less effective in preventing chip breakage when up against a thick dip.

The Smokehouse Bacon Dip was hardly a bacon party in my mouth, and the dip itself, chock full of “type” flavors, had hardly any flavor at all. I don’t expect a whole lot out of a jarred, shelf-stable dip, but I expected more than a vaguely sour cream/ranchy base with some chewy bits of fake-tasting bacon.

Last and most definitely least, the Beef N’ Cheese dip was a horrorshow that makes me wish I had a time machine so I that I could go back and tell myself to never read Facebook again just so I had never known it existed. I just realized I never bothered to read the ingredients on the jar of this dip, and you know what? I’m not going to. I’ve already been traumatized enough. I don’t need any further confirmation that this dip is made from the Devil’s jizz and boiled chunks of old horse meat.

Oh, right, I actually forgot about my hackles for some minutes, there. Here’s a parting quote from Frito Lay North America’s Vice President of Marketing: “Guys live for larger-than-life moments that fuel legendary stories they share for years. Male bonding is a rite of passage for guys, and what better way to bond than by attending one of the most exciting parties on the planet. The Ruffles Ultimate line was created to fuel epic moments. It’s in moments like these, often over a bag of chips, where recounting the tale is almost as fun as being there the first time.”

These are some of the dumbest words about any food product I’ve ever seen in print. I could rip it apart for another good 500 words, but I already never want to see the words “Ruffles” and “Ultimate” in the same sentence ever again.

The “party” he’s referring to is some Maxim tie-in contest that has since expired. Consider that a blessing, although nothing makes a for some male bonding and a legendary story with an epic moment quite like a circle puke of fake cheese and dog chow all over a group of Maxim models. Hardercore.

Ruffles Ultimate Kickin’ Jalapeño Ranch Chips

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 hardercore chips more fragile than the bones of a post-menopausal woman with osteoporosis
  • Price: $4.29
  • Size: 8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirks: These are chips. Blessedly, they’re just chips.

Ruffles Ultimate Smokehouse Bacon Dip

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 BA-ZIIIINGs
  • Price: $4.49
  • Size: 15 oz. jar
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirks: Sour cream type flavor. Smoky bacon type flavor. Butter type flavor.

Ruffles Ultimate Beef N’ Cheese Dip

  • Score: 0 out of 5 circle vomits
  • Price: $4.49
  • Size: 15 oz. jar
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirks: Since I refuse to read the actual ingredients – Devil’s jizz and old horse meat.

Other reviews of Ruffles Ultimate products: Brand Eating, The Impulsive Buy, Fatguyfoodblog

Burger King Summer Menu: Sweet Potato Fries and Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

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

  • Score: 4 out of 5 foods The Thing can relate to
  • Price: $2.09
  • Size: Small
  • Purchased at: Burger King #17145
  • Nutritional Quirks: Nothing too crazy, but if anyone eats a ton of these and your skin turns orange, please let me know!

Burger King Summer Menu: Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 angry barbeque lovers
  • Price: $3.99
  • Size: 1 sandwich
  • Purchased at: Burger King #17145
  • Nutritional Quirks: BBQ sauce may actually just be BK’s dipping sauce. No confirmation on that.

Jack in the Box Bacon Shake

I’m sure we can all agree that this bacon thing has gotten out of control. Bacon has become an Internet meme, putting it right up there with cat breading. Don’t know what cat breading is? Look it up. You won’t thank me.

What does this have to do with absolutely goddamn anything? Jack in the Box has a new BLT Cheeseburger. That’s fucking boring. You know what other companies call that? A bacon cheeseburger with toppings. However, there’s more to this story. So much more.

Jack in the Box has made a special website encouraging you to marry bacon. I know some gay couples who might believe Jack has his priorities a little out of order, but we’ll leave that hot button topic alone.

Political portion of this post now over, let’s take a look at this website. First off, there’s a video of a man marrying a BLT Cheeseburger, ending with the line, “You may now eat the bride.” There are jokes here ranging from generically unsettling to just plain crass, so I’ll let you choose which way you want to go on that one.

There’s also a section of bacon-related .gifs called “Wedding Gifts” with the “t” crossed out (get it? GET IT?!) and a Tumblr site, both containing items either boring or disturbing, the latter being a .gif of a woman eating a piece of bacon and then presumably devouring the face of the man next to her like a praying mantis that has just copulated.

Impossibly, things get even more disturbing with the “Make a Bacon Baby!” feature. You get a pretty clear idea of what this entails with the picture on the website, which looks like a female version of the Elephant Man’s face if she’d also been in a terrible fire and then had her head stuck on the body of a baby.

As if this weren’t horrible enough, Jack gives you the opportunity to make your own Bacon Baby. I’ve written seven paragraphs without mentioning what I’m actually reviewing, but since the title of the post is a jerk and always gives it away, you already know that all of this is really about Jack in the Box’s Bacon Shake.

I’ve had a previous experience with a bacon-flavored beverage, namely Jones Bacon Soda. To this day, it ranks #1 on the list of most horrible things I’ve ingested for Junk Food Betty, and quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. And I have made some serious mistakes with expiration dates.

I knew right away who would be my Bacon Baby: Jones Bacon Soda Creepy Pig-Nose Girl.

Appropriately terrifying.

The Bacon Shake itself looked surprisingly innocent, a light pink color with whipped cream and a cherry on top. One could walk around with it and no one would know you’re holding a complete abomination. Not even any bacon sprinkles on top. Although now that I think about it, it does mimic the skin tone of a pig pretty accurately. Ugh.

It actually took a little sucking up to, well, suck it up. I stood in my kitchen, taking deep breaths, while flashbacks of the Jones Bacon Soda experience ran through my head like I was a Vietnam vet on the 4th of July. It occurred to me that I have food PTSD. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.

I finally got up the nerve and took the plunge. The first few sips through my straw were not unpleasant; the shake was thick and creamy, a little bit less sweet than your usual shake. As I got further in, however, the porcine flavor started to come through. It was like tasting a pork belly that had been smoked to preserve it on a olde tyme boat making a venture to the New World, but made more subtle, and then mixed with vanilla ice cream. A little smoky, a little bacon-y, but not overwhelming and not very salty.

I didn’t throw up, so that’s always a plus.

Honestly, the Bacon Shake was not the horrorshow I thought it would be. The smoky bacon flavor is subdued enough that it almost works with the vanilla flavor of the shake. Almost. The shake isn’t made with actual pig; Jack in the Box uses Torani Bacon Syrup to flavor it, which is scary in and of itself, because Torani syrups are the flavors you’ll often see behind the counter at your local coffee shop, which means…well, we can all see the terrible possibilities there.

The worst part of the Bacon Shake was that it had a lingering ham flavor that stuck in my mouth long after I’d finished dumping most of it down the drain. A lingering ham mixed with ice cream flavor. I did not appreciate it.

Jack in the Box’s Bacon Shake didn’t give me PTSD, but it did make me rinse my mouth out afterwards, and I can think of about 700 other flavors I’d like in a shake besides bacon. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, bacon does not belong in everything, and I can now put milkshakes in that category. At the very least, I can say that the smoky flavor was subtle enough that it wasn’t completely discordant with the ice cream. Hell, if you like the combination of smoky, sweet and hammy, you may even enjoy the Bacon Shake. You may also have a bad palate.

Jack in the Box Bacon Shake

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 Creepy Pig-Nose Girl Bacon Babies
  • Price: $2.79
  • Size: Regular (16 oz.) cup
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #161
  • Nutritional Quirks: Bacon syrup. It exists. Enough said.

The Impulsive Buy also reviewed the Bacon Shake, unfortunately for them.

Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito

So is this going to be a thing now? Fritos? Are Fritos the next pomegranate? Sonic has had their Frito Chili Cheese Wrap on the menu for as long as I have been going there, but then they upped the ante with their Sonic Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. Now Taco Bell has hopped on the Frito bandwagon with their new Beefy Crunch Burrito. I’ll let Taco Bell explain:

“Layers of seasoned ground beef, rice, warm nacho cheese sauce, reduced fat sour cream and Flamin’ Hot Fritos wrapped in a warm, flour tortilla.”

Classic Taco Bell move. The first four ingredients in this description should sound familiar because they’re in every other Taco Bell menu item, ever. But hey – Fritos! Flamin’ Hot Fritos, no less. Frito-Lay has Flaminized many of their products. I am quite fond of Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Limon, but they stain your fingers for a whole day, announcing your snacking habits to the world. I also once powered through a whole bag of Flamin’ Hot Funyuns, but in my defense, I was drunk.

So now we’ve got snack food inside fast food. I’m reminded once again of Sonic and their Ched R Pepper SuperSONIC Cheeseburger, which stuck jalapeño poppers inside a burger. I like where this is going. Funyuns replacing real onions on a McDonald’s burger. Jack in the Box Ultimate Jack Link Beef Jerky Grilled Cheese Sandwich. KFC chicken breaded with crushed Doritos Blazin’ Buffalo and Ranch. Burger King’s new Ranch Corn Nuts Bacon Cheeseburger.

Oh yeah. This is going all the right places.

Flamin’ Hot Fritos may make the Crunchy Beef Burrito Taco Bell’s most caliente menu item, which is sad because they have a whole Volcano menu devoted to items that are supposed to make your brain blow out the back of your head with the heat but instead just make you wish you had a can of Spicy Hot V8 on hand. It’s no good when you want a beverage to make your mouth burn instead of cool it off.

With pretty much nowhere to go but up in my mind, let’s see what this bitch can deliver.

Okay, so here’s the rub: The Beefy Crunch Burrito has the word “crunch” in its name. But anyone with half a brain would know that Fritos don’t stand a chance when they’re smothered in nacho cheese sauce and reduced fat sour cream.  “Kelley,” you could scream to me in the comments section, “you can’t fault the Fritos for being soggy when you drive all the way home to eat! Eat inside the Taco Bell! You’re being unfair to the Beefy Crunch Burrito when you complain that the Fritos were soggy!”

Yes, the Fritos were soggy. No, I didn’t eat it inside the restaurant. I drove through the drive-thru and took my food home, to eat and photograph in the privacy of my own domicile. Millions of people do that, every day. That’s why we eat fast food. That’s why the drive-thru was invented. Well, that and for people who eat in their cars, but that’s something I just don’t do. Eyes on the road! Hands at ten and two! Didn’t you learn anything in driver’s ed?

I believe fast food companies should prepare for these kinds of situations, and design menu items appropriately. What I’m trying to say here is, don’t blame me, blame Taco Bell. Don’t put something that’s supposed to be crunchy in with a bunch of stuff that will turn it to mush in ten seconds. It’s just going to end poorly.

Rant aside, there was another problem with the Beefy Crunch Burrito. I’ll accept snack foods in my fast food – I just raved about the possibilities a few paragraphs ago – but I’m not going to give them a free pass when it doesn’t work out. And the Beefy Crunch Burrito didn’t. All the regular players got along fine: seasoned beef shook hands with nacho cheese, sour cream said hi to the rice, and warm flour tortilla invited everyone in for a group hug. Then Flamin’ Hot Fritos invited itself over and everyone got uncomfortable. The pronounced and very recognizable corn chip flavor just seemed out of place with everything else, jarring my taste buds and overwhelming all the other flavors. The best word to describe it would be “discordant”. Corn chips just didn’t belong. It felt like I was eating a corn chip burrito with some other stuff thrown in.

As for the Flamin’ Hot portion, I’ll admit, they did give off a little heat. I think it was diluted from the nacho cheese and sour cream, because it wasn’t quite as hot as the Flamin Hot chips themselves. I wished it had been super hot; then maybe it would have drowned out the corn chip taste a bit.

Beefy Crunch Burrito really let me down. It’s not often that I outright dislike a Taco Bell product, but here we are. Points are docked for soggy Fritos, but that’s a design flaw. The real problem is that overpowering corn chip taste that drowns everything else out and really doesn’t belong. Taco Bell isn’t really marketing it as a “blow your brains out spicy” item, but even so, there was very little heat. The Beefy Crunch Burrito is a mess; that said, I still encourage fast food companies to start stuffing snacks into their menu items. Bring on the crazy!

(Update: I decided to bust this down to a score of 1.5 from 2 since it really wasn’t that close to average.)

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 lingering hugs by Flamin’ Hot Fritos
  • Price: $0.99
  • Size: 1 burrito
  • Purchased at: Taco Bell
  • Nutritional Quirks: Let’s put it this way: seasoned ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, rice, sour cream, flour tortilla, Flamin’ Hot Fritos.  One of these is not like the other!