REVIEW: Burger King Doritos Loaded

Burger King Doritos Loaded

Burger King might be in trouble.

They seem like they’re pulling out all the stops lately, bringing back the King (great move), Chicken Fries (decent move, absolutely terrible marketing) and now trying to branch off into that weird menu item market Taco Bell lives in. I’m not sure what they’re hoping to gain by offering a product that has been sold at 7-Eleven locations for some time, but I’m definitely sensing an air of desperation.

This may be a controversial statement, but I don’t really like Doritos Locos Tacos. Don’t get me wrong, I was first in line to order them and I thought the idea was brilliant, but the execution? Ehhhhhh. After the first bite, I barely even noticed any Doritos flavor. The new Burger King Doritos Loaded are no different.

Doritos Loaded – which is a really stupid name – smelled awesome. The drive home was tense, because their aroma filled my car almost instantly. I was pretty hungry and toyed with the idea of just busting them out right there, but chose to avoid Doritos fingers for a couple more minutes. Still, I was pumped to throw these babies down by the time I got home. Oh what a naïve fool I was.

Burger King Doritos Loaded 2

Doritos Loaded look cool and have a little heft to them, about the same weight as a chicken nugget. They have a nice salty, crispy outer shell, but it’s also a bit dry. If I stopped eating them after one bite, my review score would have been a lot higher.

They make a really good first impression. I could taste the nacho cheese Doritos flavor, but it’s immediately masked by the cheese filling. After that, I never really tasted nacho cheese Doritos again.

Burger King Doritos Loaded 3

The cheese inside is gross! I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what kind of cheese. I naturally thought nacho at first, then maybe American? After some Googling that took way too much time, I learned it has a combination of American, cheddar and Romano. I never would have been able to tell you that myself. The cheese was just indiscriminate, bland, and gooey. The decision to use that mix was my biggest problem with the Doritos Loaded.

They would have been so much better if the center was a bit solidified with a cheese like mozzarella. I considered letting them sit around and cool off a little before eating more, but agita was kicking in. And, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to eat more.

I absolutely hate wasting food, but I threw away two of the four Doritos Loaded. I would have given them away, but I was alone. I didn’t even have someone to make hand uprights for me so I could attempt to flick one of these across the room paper football-style.

I’m so lonely. All I want is for someone to finish my gross food and make finger field goals for me. Is that too much to ask?

But I digress.

I think the idea of crusting snacks in Doritos crumbs is a great one. I’ve often said Frito-Lay could make a killing selling Doritos dust in the spice aisle. I’d definitely put that on a chicken breast. In fact, Burger King should strike while the iron is hot, and offer chicken nuggets crusted in Doritos crumbs. There’s zero chance that wouldn’t be a hit. It would certainly crush the Doritos Loaded.

Can someone pass this along to the King? Doritos crusted nuggets! And get Darius Rucker to sing in the commercial like the good old days. And no more unlawful marriages between chickens and French fries.

Doritos Loaded were a novel idea, but the execution was awful. Not to mention, for $2.99 there are about 100 better fast food values out there.

I don’t know, I guess this is worth a shot for Burger King. I don’t necessarily think these will pair well with a burger, so 7-Eleven seems like a better place to buy them. With all that said, I hope they release a Cool Ranch version. But if they do, they better make them with mozzarella.

(Nutrition Facts – 360 calories, 24 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,080 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 4 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein..)

Item: Burger King Doritos Loaded
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 4 bites
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Smelled great. Nice crispy exterior. Cool packaging/shape. Hootie’s “Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch” jingle. The King is back!
Cons: Dry. Almost no Doritos flavor. Terrible cheese filling. Chicken Fries commercials. No one to play paper football with.

REVIEW: Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich

Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich

I’m more interested in the nutrition facts for Burger King’s Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich than the actual sandwich.

You may think because it’s fast food the nutrition numbers are high enough to cause consumers to leave angry comments on Burger King’s Facebook page. But they’re not. I’m not saying they’re healthy numbers, just low for fast food.

The new sandwich has 370 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. To give you an idea of how unusual these numbers are, a few years ago, Burger King had a Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich that had 470 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. That’s twice the fat, almost twice the saturated fat, and 100 more calories than this new pulled pork sandwich.

Here’s another comparison. A regular Burger King hamburger has 230 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat. It has less calories and a little more fat. But the serving size between the two are great. The hamburger is 100 grams, while the Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich is 192 grams. Again, I’m not saying it’s healthy, it’s just unusual. Besides, the sandwich does have a fast food normal 1,290 milligrams of sodium.

The Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich comes with pulled pork in a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce, onions, and pickles on Burger King’s toasted hoagie bun.

If you’re familiar with Burger King’s previous pulled pork offerings, you might be wondering if their pulled pork still looks like clumped up wet cat hair. Oh, it does. That’s why there isn’t a photo of the sandwich split in half. If you want to see that horror, go click this “clumped up wet cat hair” link.

Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich 2

The amount of pulled pork on my sandwich was pathetic. That layer of pulled pork looks like Mr. Stingypants placed it on there. It’s disappointing compared to the mound of meat the Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich offered. Because there wasn’t a lot of meat, there also wasn’t a lot of sauce, which I guess is good if you don’t want to use more than one napkin. But extra sauce would’ve helped hide the bites of the pulled pork that were dried out.

The sweet and smoky barbecue sauce is mostly sweet and is, sadly, not the better tasting Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce used with their other sandwiches, like their great Rodeo Burger. Because there wasn’t a lot of meat and sauce, they had to battle the bun for flavor supremacy in this sandwich. Yes, the bun.

Oh, you’d think the pickles and onions would help with flavor, but they don’t. They added a slight crunch, but they didn’t add any contrast to the pulled pork. Instead whatever flavor they had, which wasn’t much, got lost among the pulled pork and bun. If it weren’t for their texture, I think most folks wouldn’t realize they were there.

I did not spit out any bites from my Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich. or throw away any fraction of the sandwich, but it’s hard for me to believe that this sandwich will leave most peoples’ taste buds satisfied. It’s not the worst menu item I’ve had from Burger King. That honor goes to the Yumbo Sadwich…I mean, Sandwich. But I don’t think it’s even interesting enough to get it with Burger King’s 2 for $5 deal.

(Nutrition Facts – 370 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 1290 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, 23 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Some nutrition facts are unusually low for a fast food sandwich. I did not spit it out. Since there’s not a lot of sauce, it’s a clean sandwich to eat.
Cons: Thin layer of pulled pork. Pulled pork still looks like clumped up wet cat hair. Doesn’t use the Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce used in Burger King’s other sandwiches. Last year’s Yumbo. Onions and pickles don’t help. Having to battle the bun for flavor supremacy.

REVIEW: Burger King Grilled Dogs (Classic and Chili Cheese)

Burger King Grilled Dogs 1

As far as I’m concerned there needs to be a law about the proper way to prepare a hot dog. None of this boiling or deep-frying nonsense, and unless you’re under the age of eight you should never even contemplate sticking that Oscar Meyer wiener in a microwave.

No, hot dogs were created for the grill. Whether beef or pork, skinless or natural casing, hardwood smoked or cheese stuffed; the only way I want to eat a tubular shaped piece of processed meat is hot off a grill.

Unfortunately I live far too distant from the world’s greatest char-grilled hot dog chain to get a regular taste of char-grilled dogs, and my own lack of hardware leaves me pathetically incapable of replicating the smokey, meaty, crackling taste and texture of one.

Thankfully—and I seriously never thought I’d say this—Burger King has come to the rescue in my little corner of suburbia. Currently testing in Maryland, Burger King’s Grilled Dogs were offered in two varieties at the location I stopped by — Classic and Chili Cheese.

Because I’m a complete glutton for punishment (actually just because I really like hot dogs and was really freaking hungry) I also decided to stop by my local Sonic to get their versions of the hot dogs to compare. Now, I realize Sonic may not exactly make any specialty magazine’s list of the greatest hot dog destinations in the country, but for a chain they do a solid dog which is both beefy and affordable. If Burger King wants to be the top dog when it comes to fast food hot dogs, then the chain is going to have to dethrone Sonic first. And yes, I did just drop two absolutely forced puns in the same sentence.

Burger King Grilled Dog Classic

First up is the Classic Dog. It comes with the assortment of ketchup, mustard, sweet relish, and chopped onions. The Burger King dog comes neatly dressed, a little heavy on the chopped onions, but thankfully not drowned in ketchup and mustard. Actually, when it comes to the toppings there is very good balance, so much so that none of the toppings overpower the others, and more importantly don’t overpower the hot dog itself.

Burger King Grilled Dog Grill Marks

The dog, which has grill marks and a split texture, has excellent snap for a fast food dog, with more blackening than Sonic’s All-American dog. The flavor is moderately smokey and definitely beefy, although to be honest it’s not as beefy as Sonic’s dog. I liked it…a lot. But it felt small and not quite substantial enough. The bun was a bit stale, but it did have a decent buttery-sweet flavor. The meat to bun ratio felt right; I tasted a combination of sharp and sweet toppings, the bun, and most importantly the meaty depth of the hot dog.

BK Left, Sonic right hot Dogs

Burger King (Left), Sonic (Right)

I probably favor Sonic’s dog a little more, mostly because theirs has beefier taste and the bun had a really enjoyable, pillowy quality that I happen to be a sucker for. But I’m splitting hairs here, because Burger King clearly wins for the hot dog’s texture.

Burger King Grilled Dogs Chili Cheese

The Burger King Chili Cheese Dog is definitely for you if you’re the kind person who doesn’t mind getting more chili cheese flavor than beef flavor in your dog. Here the toppings do somewhat obscure the grilled taste and the beefy dog, although it’s a tasty hot dog in its own right. Burger King actually does a nice job at presenting the perennial slobberfest, at least compared to Sonic, which just sort of steams a gooey hunk of processed cheddar over the hot dog. Here the extra support of the stiffer bun gives Burger King an edge.

Burger King Grilled Dogs Chili Cheese 2

The chili flavor is par for the course; a thick tomato paste and bean mixture fortified with beef fat, it has strong accents of garlic and cumin beneath a layer of nicely melted three cheeses. It’s the kind of stuff you’ll find out of a can, although a can that’s been doctored up by some B-List Food Network star like Sandra Lee who specializes in making you think it’s semi-homemade. I especially liked the three cheese blend, which had a milky flavor. I thought Burger King’s Chili Cheese dog was a winner over Sonic despite costing 39 cents more, if only because it’s much more presentable and a bit more complex in its use of the three cheeses.

Burger King Grilled Dogs 2

Burger King’s new Grilled Dogs aren’t exactly hot dog royalty, but they’re very good for a fast food restaurant and definitely captured that char-grilled taste and texture that comes with putting a wiener on an open flame. While they seem to lack some of the inherent beefiness that Sonic’s hot dogs have, their smokey taste and crisp texture are big step above the spinning wieners on heating trays at convenience stores, and definitely an approved substitute if your iconic hot dog dive isn’t on your daily commute.

(Nutrition Facts – Unavailable.)

Item: Burger King Grilled Dogs
Purchased Price: $1.99 (Classic)
Purchased Price: $2.39 (Chili Cheese)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Classic)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chili Cheese)
Pros: Solid char-grilled taste and snappy texture. Beefy and meaty flavor of a premium hot dog. Well constructed with toppings evenly distributed, with none overpowering the others. Cheese has a nice milky note that plays well with the earthy flavors of the chili.
Cons: Not as beefy tasting as Sonic’s hot dogs. Small and not quite satisfying when compared to specialty hot dog restaurants. Slightly stale bun. Sandra Lee chili sauce.

REVIEW: Burger King Red Velvet Oreo Shake

Burger King Red Velvet Shake

Red.

It’s the color of love.

It’s also the color of anger.

So I guess it’s fitting I loved the idea of Burger King’s new Red Velvet Oreo Shake, but I’m angry it didn’t have much of that cream cheese flavor that most of us know and love…or are completely sick of seeing after the blitz of red velvet-flavored candy, cookies, and ice cream during the Valentine’s season.

Burger King describes their Red Velvet Oreo Shake as a cream cheese and chocolate flavored shake with Oreo cookie crumbles. But what they didn’t mention is how increDYEble their shake is. It looks like a regular Burger King Oreo Shake with enough red food coloring to make the Kool-Aid Man say, “Whoa! Whoa! Why don’t you tone the red down a bit!”

The color of the shake makes it look like a Cherry ICEE, which is something Burger King also offers and it has the same clothing staining and tongue reddening ability as the Red Velvet Oreo Shake. But the red does make it look a bit romantic. Too bad Burger King missed out on it getting lost among the deluge of red velvet-flavored products during January and February.

According to the picture on Burger King’s website and a number of photos on Twitter, the shake is supposed to come with whipped cream topped with Oreo crumbles. Mine did not. But there were a lot of Oreo crumbs floating in the Red Velvet Sea in my cup.

Burger King Red Velvet Shake Closeup

I haven’t had a regular Burger King Oreo Shake in a very long time, so I don’t remember if the Oreo crumbles have always been small. The Oreo Shake at Jack in the Box has well-sized chunks that I can crunch with my molars, but the Oreo crumbles in this Burger King shake seem to be more like Oreo dust.

Oh, in case you were wondering, they do not use Red Velvet Oreo Cookies. But that definitely would’ve been a nice touch.

The Red Velvet Oreo Shake tastes like a regular Oreo Shake. The chocolate flavoring enhances the Oreo crumbs, but, as I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to notice the cream cheese flavor. Perhaps Burger King should’ve put as much cream cheese flavoring as they did red food coloring, because if the cream cheese popped more, this would’ve been a sugary winner.

Overall, Burger King’s Red Velvet Oreo Shake gets two out of the three things right when it comes to imitating Red Velvet Cake. A little bit of chocolate flavor…check. Lots of red food coloring…triple check. Tangy cream cheese flavor…not really.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 oz. – 630 calories, 17 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 520 milligrams of sodium, 108 grams of carbohydrates, 90 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Red Velvet Oreo Shake
Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: Medium (16 oz.)
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: It tastes like a regular Oreo Shake. Looks pretty. Chocolate flavoring enhances Oreo crumbles.
Cons: It tastes like a regular Oreo Shake. Cream cheese flavor doesn’t stand out. Clothes staining. Oreo crumbles are small compared with other fast food Oreo shakes. Not a thick milkshake.

REVIEW: Burger King Pepperoni Bacon Whopper (Canada)

Burger King Pepperoni Bacon Whopper (Canada)

If nothing else, I’ll say this about the Burger King location I visited: they’re super efficient.

I visited around noon, and they were quite busy. After I ordered, I walked about three steps to the left, to the area where they bring the food. There was a burger sitting on a tray. Since I had literally just finished ordering my burger seconds ago, it didn’t even occur to me that it was mine.

There was a smiling man standing behind the counter. We locked eyes. Why was this guy staring at me? Didn’t he have anything better to do? Was my fly down? The man pointed to the tray and told me it was mine. I don’t know if the words just didn’t compute, or if he wasn’t speaking loudly enough, but I asked him to repeat it. He did.

This still made no sense to me. Even if the burger was pre-made, how did he get it from under the heat lamp and over to my tray so quickly? There was maybe two seconds between me finishing up my order and walking over to where he was standing. So I clarified: “No, I ordered the Pepperoni Bacon Whopper.” His smile didn’t quite fade, but it wavered. He was clearly starting to lose his patience. “Yes sir, that’s yours.”

My eyes narrowed. I thanked the guy — more a question than a statement — then picked up the tray and took it to a table.

I unwrapped the burger, half expecting to find a regular Whopper. Glancing at the sad-looking burger in front of me, flattened and misshapen, I initially thought I was right. But what’s this? Is that a piece of bacon poking out from the bun? I took a peek inside, and yep, there was the pepperoni.

You’re probably wondering, “Why are you dwelling on this? It’s a fast food place; of course the food came fast.” Fair enough. Maybe you had to be there, but it was a startling display of efficiency. I honestly wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or horrified.

Anyway: the burger. The Pepperoni Bacon Whopper is, as the title implies, a Whopper with pepperoni and bacon on it. It’s also got a couple of slices of American cheese, because, yeah, why not?

My conundrum as to whether or not to be impressed or horrified was quickly answered after I took my first bite: horrified. Because not only was this burger not hot, it wasn’t even warm -– it was room temperature. I don’t know exactly how long it was sitting out, but I’m going to say a while.

I will charitably call it lukewarm, but in reality, it was leaning more towards cold. I considered asking them to make me a new one, but by the time this thought occurred to me, I was already two or three bites in, and the idea of losing my progress and starting over from scratch with a brand new burger was too much for me to handle. I earned those bites; no one was going to take them from me.

The patty itself was easily the burger’s worst offender. It was unpleasantly bitter, with that distinctively acrid, stayed-on-the-grill-for-a-couple-of-minutes-too-long flavor that characterizes pretty much any hamburger you get from Burger King these days.

It was also insanely dry. And I don’t just mean dry in that fairly typical way that characterizes most fast food burgers. No, this wasn’t that. This was capital-D Dry. I’ve had a pretty ridiculous amount of hamburgers in my lifetime, and this was probably one of the driest ones I’ve ever had.

Burger King Pepperoni Bacon Whopper (Canada) 2

It was tough, with a pebbly texture and a slightly gamy, vaguely off flavour that peeked through whenever you weren’t tasting the charred bitterness. It’s a flavour that announces in no uncertain terms that this is shoddy beef that has doubtless been sitting in a drawer for a disturbingly long period of time.

The pepperoni was pretty good, at least. It was standard-issue pepperoni, with that very familiar flavour that you’ve no doubt tasted on hundreds of pizza slices over your lifetime. On a better burger it would have been a bit overwhelming, but here I was very happy for the flavour of the patty to be overwhelmed; my arms were wide open. It wasn’t overwhelming enough, in fact. The taste of that patty still managed to muscle its way through and go straight for my gag reflex.

The thin slices of bacon, however, never had a chance. I knew they were there because I saw them, but I couldn’t taste them. At all.

The cheese, though it added some creaminess, also got lost among the burger’s more assertive flavours.

The other toppings (the standard Whopper veggies, ketchup, and mayo) were fine. The tomato slices weren’t mealy and the lettuce had some vague crunchiness, so I’m going to call that a win. The bun was a little bit clammy, but otherwise okay.

As a parting gift, the burger left an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste that lingered for most of the afternoon.

So no, sorry Burger King — you continue to be the Andy Dick of fast food chains. You were okay in the ’90s, but no one wants you around any more. The sad thing is, putting pepperoni on a burger is a decent enough idea, but to quote Switch from the Matrix: not like this. Not like this.

(Nutrition Facts – 860 calories, 56 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 2.5 grams of trans fat, 145 milligrams of cholesterol, 1590 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, and 40 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Pepperoni Bacon Whopper (Canada)
Purchased Price: $5.99 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: A burger that’s ready mere seconds after ordering it, as if by wizardry. Tasty pepperoni. Fresh condiments.
Cons: Apparently even a wizard cannot conjure up a burger and make it taste hot and fresh. Bitter, over-charred, absurdly dry burger patty. Pointless bacon. Terrible aftertaste.