Ronald McDonald clicked his pen. It was the first sound that caught his attention, even though the third quarter numbers had been flying around the conference room for half an hour. A uni-ball Jetstream. Click. The muffled adult-Peanuts voices chorused into a wave of nonsense. Click. Outside the window he could see a hawk. Click. He swallowed, his Adam’s apple knocked against his tie knot. Click. Ronald darkened his previously doodled Stussy “S” on his notepad. Click. Ronald gave a tiny nod. Click.
So another McDonald’s burger finally has special sauce. The Bacon Clubhouse Burger sports a new bun, bacon, and caramelized onions on top of the special sauce. That seems like it should be a bigger deal that McDonald’s put their formerly exclusive Big Mac topping on another thing. Maybe it’s not because customers can ask for it literally any time as a condiment and put it on any sandwich. Or even things that aren’t sandwiches. Bring it home. Put it on some Brussels sprouts. Put it on your cat. Put it on as a facemask, Mrs. Doubtfire style (Hellooo!). Or maybe freeing the sauce is not a big deal because it’s flanked by so many other new components that work together to make a pretty damn good fast food burger. Teamwork, guys. But f’reals, on this Miami Heat of a burger the special sauce is LeBron*.
The bun. Oh, the bun. So soft, so buttery. It sets the tone for the entire sandwich and is probably the softest roll in recent fast food memory. The bun of a burger is like a mattress. You want to have a good one if you’re gonna spend most of your time sleeping on/eating it. Though if the bun is the bed, there’s one hell of a mating ritual going on inside. The special sauce lends a light tang, never overpowering.
The caramelized onions are sweet and deepen the flavor of the sauce, combining with the slice of creamy white cheddar to coat the burger in a very full taste. The pieces of bacon show up every once in a while too, crispy and adding a bit of a salt kick. The sweetness of the sauce-onion combo overshadows the potential smoke and sugar power of the bacon a bit, but the pig also serves as a good textural change of pace. The tomato is fine. The lettuce is fine. Sorry, you guys don’t get in on the mattress fun, but you can watch if you like.
The actual burger patty is tricky. McDonald’s is using their Quarter Pounder patty here, and as any frequent McDonald’s patron knows, sometimes the meat can be a crapshoot. I ate two Bacon Clubhouse Burgers for this review and the first time I was treated to a rubbery, dry disc that really highlighted a problem. With this burger, McDonald’s is setting itself up to compete with other “fancy” burgers, and while the toppings elevate the Bacon Clubhouse in taste, it left me desiring some decent beef. It was like putting lipstick on a pig. I guess that’s a bit confusing, considering there’s actual swine on this. It was like putting lipstick on Robin Williams (It was a run by fruiting!).
The second time I had the burger it was leagues better. The meat was moist and served as a nice base for the meal. The problem remained, though. The star was most definitely the melded combination of toppings and the bun and not the flimsy, thin protein. Nothing like some so-so cow to remind us we’re still eating McDonald’s. That being said, both times I was very impressed by the depth of flavors in the sandwich and I think that it might be the best burger on the menu in a long time, if not ever.
*LeBron James is special sauce. Erik Spoelstra is the bun. Dwyane Wade is bacon. Chris Bosh is caramelized onions. Shane Battier is white cheddar. Ray Allen is tomato. The beef is Mario Chalmers. Lettuce is Norris Cole.
(Nutrition Facts – 720 calories, 360 calories from fat, 40 grams of fat, 15 grams saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 1470 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, 39 grams of protein.)
Item: McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger
Purchased Price: $4.69
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Great flavors. Cheese, special sauce, onions combine to elevate burger to next level. Burger bun is so soft.
Cons: Burger patty is unimproved.