Tag Archives: test market

McDonald’s Chorizo Burrito

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito

[Please enjoy this guest review from Robert – Not Bob, a valued sometimes-contributor to Junk Food Betty who had the privilege (or curse – read on to determine) of being in a test area for this new product. Thanks, Robert!]

In the five (!) years since Junk Food Betty first graced the information superhighway (Congrats, by the way), I’ve almost certainly read more about, and spared more thought for, fast food than I probably had in all my previous years combined. That’s a bit of a mixed blessing, obviously, but it has amused me, and on occasion, I’ve even learned a few things.

One of the things I’ve learned is that the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area is a seething hotbed of fast food test-marketing. For that reason, I find myself, once again, submitting a guest review, this time for McDonald’s Chorizo Breakfast Burritos. Well, that and the fact that your JFB host isn’t one to eat an egg, regardless of how it’s gussied up.

For those not in the know, there are actually two very dissimilar food items called “Chorizo”. One is a hard, cured European sausage, made from pork and Spanish paprika. The other is a fresh Mexican sausage made of God only knows what.

Chorizo con Huevos, which is Mexican chorizo and eggs, is a breakfast staple of taquerías, and is commonly rolled into burritos or breakfast tacos. However, it’s long been conspicuously absent from the fast food breakfast lineup. Even nominally “Mexican” fast food chains like Taco Bell, not one to shy away from mystery meat, has kept it out of their breakfast burrito offerings. I’m guessing that this is because chorizo tends to be spicy, and not spicy in a way that’s anything like the pickled jalapeño flavor that pretty much forms the basis of the typical fast food consumer’s idea of “spicy”. It has a pretty unique taste and texture, and is not very similar at all to familiar breakfast meats like bacon or ham.

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Don't Mess with Breakfast

A quick look at the sign advertising the chorizo burritos also confirms that whoever designed it has little familiarity with chorizo. In the burritos pictured you can clearly see chunks of yellow egg and chunks of something red, which is presumably pretending to be the chorizo. As anyone that’s had it can attest, that’s not the way chorizo and eggs look. When you cook chorizo and eggs together, they basically become one homogenous mass. Perhaps that’s another factor that’s kept it off most breakfast menus. When Americans look at their meat and eggs, they want to see identifiable meat chunks, rather than a pile of eggs that just look like someone got confused with the dye at Easter.

Let’s take a look inside the real burritos.

McDonald's Chorizo Burritos

As I had two burritos to work with, I cross-sectioned one, and unrolled about the other.

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Halved

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Open

As you can see, these bear little resemblance to what was pictured, but we all know that that’s the norm with fast food advertising. Anyway, there’s not much to look at here. Chorizo and egg mix, a few red and green pepper bits and a flour tortilla. The strong odor of chorizo seemed pretty promising and, once tasted, I had to admit, these weren’t bad at all. The tortillas themselves left a bit to be desired – the ones you get at taquerías tend to be more flavorful and are typically pan fried before use – but the chorizo y huevos inside tasted exactly like it should. And, for two for $3, seems like a pretty decent breakfast deal.

McDonald's Hot and Mild Picante Sauce Packets

Along with the burritos I received 4 packets of McDonald’s Picante Sauce, two mild and two “hot”. Do not be tempted to put these on your chorizo burritos. Place them in the nearest trash receptacle. I tasted the “hot” and it was thoroughly vile. Putting ketchup on your chorizo burrito would be unforgivable, but would still be a better choice than McDonald’s Picante Sauce. If you do want to put some sauce on your chorizo burritos, that bottle of Tapatío in your file cabinet drawer or those old packets of Taco Bell “Fire Sauce” in your glove box are both much better options.

I do know of at least two taquerías in the path of my morning commute that offer chorizo and egg burritos that are about the same size, and are slightly better, and are slightly cheaper, so I probably wouldn’t make McDonald’s version a regular purchase. However, if I found myself in a taquerías-free zone (yes, even in Texas that can happen) and wanted a breakfast fix, I could definitely see getting them again.

McDonald’s Chorizo Burrito

  • Score: 4 out of 5 pork salivary glands
  • Price: $3.00
  • Size: 2 burritos
  • Purchased at:McDonald’s #35172

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger[Editor’s Note: Please enjoy this special review by guest writer Robert – Not Bob. The Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger is currently only available at test market locations in Texas, and he just so happens to live in one of those areas, so he graciously provided JFB with a sneak peek!]

What’s the most Texas thing you can think of? Ok, besides a dead armadillo propped up clutching a Lone Star Beer…. It’s barbeque brisket, right? Maybe…. It’s not even our official state dish, an honor reserved for chili, but BBQ is pretty high up on the Texas scale of things.

Fast food places certainly seem to think so. Every couple of years one will trot out a limited edition “Texas” burger, which invariably has BBQ sauce on it, perhaps some jalapeños, maybe they’ll throw an onion ring into it. I will admit that the Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger is the first time I’ve seen a fast food place actually put BBQ brisket and a hamburger patty in the same bun.

Don’t look for information on this particular burger online – there’s almost none to be had. It appears to be either a Texas exclusive or a test-market offering, and apparently in some areas, they’re printing an edible local college sports team logo on the bun, which just seems stupid. Anyway, since the JFB staff is a long, long way from Texas, I bravely volunteered to try it out for them.

Now an admission. I’ve never eaten AT a Sonic. Oh, I’ve had food from Sonic before, but I’ve always eschewed the whole carhop thing and gone through the drive-through. Generally speaking, if I’m eating in my car, I’m in a big, big hurry, so that means grab something and go. If I’m going to be somewhere long enough to sit and eat, then I’m damn sure going to go in and use up some of their air-conditioning while I do it.

Also, for a place that wants to force you to use your car as a restaurant booth, Sonic sure has historically sold a lot of potential lap-stainers. From the Frito-pie wrap to the Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney, their menu always seems to be laden with stuff you would not want to eat in your car. Or perhaps, not want to eat unless you were wearing one of those ponchos they give you when you see the Blue Man Group.

I’ve often wondered if Sonic isn’t partnered somehow with some company that specializes in cleaning stains out of upholstery and clothes. Considering that my target burger was topped with chopped BBQ brisket, I was expecting a bit of a mess, but I thought I’d give the whole Sonic experience a shot this time, and pulled into the drive-in stall.

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger Texas Drive-In View
Editor’s Note: Visit Beautiful Texas!

The first thing I noticed when I was ordering my Brisket Cheeseburger was a sign that said “Try it with jalapeños!” So that is how I ordered it. I know you’re not supposed to modify a review burger, but hey, the suggestion was right there on the menu, so that should be allowed.

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger Menu

Instead of a cute carhop girl on roller skates, I was served by the squeaky-voiced, pimply teenager from the Simpsons. I still have no idea if you’re supposed to tip them or not, and he started running back to the building so fast I had to holler after him to come back and handed him a dollar. He gave me a look like I was crazy but accepted it and ran off as I made ready to turn my truck’s dashboard into a dining room table.

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger Dashboard

At first glance it didn’t look anywhere near as messy as I’d expected. Also, thankfully, instead of a stupid college team imprinted bun, it sported a handsome onion roll.

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger

Under the hood it had a nice-sized pile of chopped BBQ brisket sitting on top of a sticky-looking slice of American cheese. Surprisingly, the brisket was not soaked in BBQ sauce.

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger Brisket

Flipped over, you see the grievously overdone hamburger patty, the obligatory tiny diced onions, some pickles and pickled jalapeño slices, and under them, a healthy dollop of BBQ sauce.

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger Open

Cross-sectioned, you can see that the patty to chopped brisket ratio is about the same.

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger Inside

And how did it taste? Well, the quality of the chopped BBQ brisket was actually not too bad. Not as good as you’d get at a real Texas BBQ joint, of course, but much better than I expected. It had the consistency and texture of actual chopped BBQ brisket and a decent smoky flavor.

The decision to separate the sauce from chopped brisket was a solid one, because you tasted more of the brisket that way, and it helped make the hamburger patty taste more like an extension of the BBQ and hide the fact that it was seriously overcooked. In fact, the hamburger patty really did little other than protect the chopped brisket from the sauce.

Adding jalapeños was also the right choice, since they helped mask the flavor of the pickles. Sliced red onions would have been a better addition than the diced white ones, which seemed to have zero flavor. The gooey American cheese dragged the overall quality down. They should have gone with cheddar instead. People ordering this with the stupid college team logo are also missing out, because the onion roll was one of the burger’s better features.

Would I order it again? Not likely. I live in Texas, so I know where to get a real BBQ sammich.

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger Bailey's Bar-B-Que

Sonic Texas Brisket Cheeseburger

  • Score: 3 out of 5 dead, beer-swilling armadillos
  • Price: $4.49, plus an additional dollar used to surprise a teenager
  • Size: 1 sandwich
  • Purchased at: Sonic, Burleson #3, Texas
  • Nutritional Quirks: Hamburger patty-shaped BBQ sauce force field