REVIEW: Burger King Poutine á la Burger (Canada)

Burger King Poutine á la Burger (Canada) 1

I think a poutine might just be the most flexible junk food on the planet. You can top it with pretty much anything. Buffalo chicken? Sure. Hamburger? Why not! If you can dream it up, you can put it on a poutine.

Even still, Burger King’s Poutine á la Burger made me a bit wary. Not because it’s particularly weird, but because, honestly, Burger King isn’t my favourite fast food joint. And by “isn’t my favourite,” I mean it’s my least favourite. I actually used to like it a lot — but they’ve gone downhill quite precipitously over the last 15 years or so. It’s gotten to the point where, these days, a visit fills me with a kind of slow-burn horror that makes me very tempted to just turn around and walk out the door.

Even still, thanks to my childhood affection for the place, I occasionally find myself back there, hoping for the best.

The Poutine á la Burger is simple enough: it’s a regular poutine, topped with a chopped burger patty, mustard, ketchup, and pickles.

Nothing here was particularly good. I don’t think I need to tell you that Burger King’s fries aren’t that great, but I’ll do it anyway: Burger King’s fries aren’t that great. They’re standard mediocre battered fries, which pretty much taste the same wherever they’re served. I suspect that most fast food joints that serve them get them from the same supplier (it tastes that way, at least).

The curds weren’t much better. The main test of a good cheese curd is whether or not it has “squeak” – a subtle squeaking noise that a fresh curd makes when you bite into it. I tried one of the unmelted ones on top, and not only did it not squeak, it had a weirdly mushy, almost mealy texture that was unpleasant and quite unlike any curd I’ve had before.

The gravy was probably a bit more thick and gloppy than it should have been, and was otherwise run-of-the-mill bland canned gravy.

As for the chopped burger patty, it was standard Burger King, with that very distinctive flame-broiled flavour. It also had an unpleasantly gamy taste that generally comes from reheating meat one time too many.

The mustard, ketchup, and pickles were mustard, ketchup, and pickles. Even Burger King can’t mess that up.

I’ll bet you think you know where this review is going. Well, here comes the M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist.

Burger King Poutine á la Burger (Canada) 2

All the elements here ranged from passably mediocre to outright gross, so this should have been horrible, right? And in the first few mouthfuls, where I was paying attention to each individual element, it was horrible. But then something odd happened. I started enjoying it. It had all coalesced into something surprisingly tasty.

The curds, once melted by the gravy and the fries, lost their mealy texture. The fries, with their crispy battered coating, stood up well to the abundant gravy. The vinegary bite of the pickles and mustard added a much-needed punch of flavour to the bland gravy. And the gamy taste of the beef was drowned out by the sweetness of the ketchup and the poutine’s other flavours, leaving only a vague beefiness that gave the dish a bit more substance and oomph.

I’m a little bit baffled, honestly. All logic and common sense says that this poutine should have been offensively gross. Each individual component was sub-par, putting it kindly. And yet… and yet, it wasn’t gross. I enjoyed it. It’s as if all the bad canceled each other out and created something that was inexplicably good.

I can barely wrap my head around it. The poutine is objectively awful; I know this. And yet it was weirdly compelling, like a roadside accident that you just can’t stop staring at. About halfway through I told myself to stop eating it, that it was no good, that it was too much, that I’d feel sick. But I couldn’t. I didn’t stop until I had scraped the bottom of the bowl.

I wish I hadn’t eaten this, to be frank. Nothing about it made me feel good, physically or mentally.

Physically, well, that should be fairly obvious. If you pick this thing up, it has heft. I’d be shocked if it weighed less than a pound. Maybe even two. I made the mistake of eating it during my lunch break at work, and I returned to the office clutching my perilously full belly and wanting nothing more than to take a very long nap.

Mentally, it made me question everything about who I am, right down to my very core. Do I have bad taste? I didn’t think so before, but now I’m not so sure. Enjoying something that’s so clearly shoddy has upended everything I thought I knew about myself.

I really don’t know what else to say. I went to Burger King that day to review the Poutine á la Burger, only for it to review me. It peered deep into my soul and found me wanting. It knew who I was, who I am, who I will always be.

It knew everything.

(Nutrition Facts – 880 calories, 46 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1490 milligrams of sodium, 95 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, and 24 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Poutine á la Burger (Canada)
Purchased Price: $4.99 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: In spite of itself, it is surprisingly tasty. Look, I liked it, okay? Don’t make me say more.
Cons: Run-of-the-mill battered fries, mediocre gravy, gross curds, off-tasting beef. Realizing that you like this despite all that and therefore have terrible taste in food. Having your soul laid bare. Self doubt.

REVIEW: Burger King Mushroom & Swiss Big King

Burger King Mushroom & Swiss Big King

I thought what made Burger King’s Big King special was its middle bun AND the thousand island-style dressing. It turns out I’m as wrong as the guy who bids $75,000 for a Price is Right Showcase that consists of a year’s supply of sunscreen, two jet skis, a trip to Hilo, Hawaii, and a 2014 Kia Forte.

With the release of Burger King’s Mushroom & Swiss Big King, I learned the special sauce isn’t so special. I also learned the middle bun is the crown that make a Big King a Big King.

In case you can’t see everything in that blob of fast food ingredients above, the Mushroom & Swiss Big King features two beef patties, sautéed mushrooms, a slice of Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, a sesame seed bun, and the important middle bun.

Mine also ended up with a rogue slice of American cheese, but there’s no thousand island-style dressing. Of course, I’m pretty sure adding a sweet and tangy sauce to a mushroom and Swiss burger would’ve been gross.

And now that we know it’s the boring middle bun that makes a Big King a Big King and the thousand-island dressing isn’t there to stifle creativity, I expect Burger King to create many Big King variations in the future. Perhaps the Whopper has passed the variety burger baton to the Big King, so we’ll soon be seeing a Rodeo Big King, a Texas BBQ Big King, and a Western Big King.

Burger King Mushroom & Swiss Big King Topless

As you can see above, the burger is loaded with mushrooms. Okay, maybe you can’t see them all in that overzealous application of mayonnaise. But I assure you there were a lot of them because I could feel all the mushroom rubberiness in my mouth.

When I ate the Burger King Mushroom & Swiss Grillers back in the 2011, I complained about it having too much mushroom flavor. But with the Mushroom & Swiss Big King, I’m going to complain about it having too little mushroom flavor. Yes, there was some here and there, but with that many mushrooms, I expected almost every bite to taste like I was nibbling on Papa Smurf’s house.

I’m going to blame the mayo.

While the mayonnaise does a great job at preventing mushrooms from falling out of the burger and making the Swiss cheese slice feel more melted than it really is, it also does a good job at making this burger taste more like a mayonnaise and Swiss burger than a mushroom and Swiss burger. Having less mayo might’ve helped, but those sad, rubbery mushrooms didn’t have a lot of flavor to begin with.

Overall, the Burger King Mushroom & Swiss Big King is a mediocre burger and I think someone should take away its crown. It’s not horrible because the beef patties had a pleasant meatiness to them, and even with all that mayo, the sandwich wasn’t messy. But it tastes like a simple double cheeseburger that accidentally had a few mushrooms dropped onto it during the lunch rush.

(Nutrition Facts – 560 calories, 37 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 760 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, and 20 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Mushroom & Swiss Big King
Purchased Price: $4.39
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Lots of mushrooms. Mayo does a great job at preventing mushrooms from falling out. Decent beef patties with good flavor. Winning a Price is Right Showcase.
Cons: Lots of mushrooms don’t have lots of flavor. Mayo does a great job at preventing mushroom flavor from standing out. The middle bun being the reason why a Big King is a Big King. Going over when bidding on a Price is Right Showcase.

REVIEW: Burger King Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger

Burger King Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger

To some of you, what’s in the photo above looks disgusting, as if someone regurgitated a burger. I can see that. There’s no doubt it’s the burger equivalent of a disheveled drunk laying on the sidewalk after a long night of debauchery.

The melted American cheese is like the pools of one own’s filth a passed out drunk would lie in. The golden onion rings peeking out from under the long hoagie sesame seed bun are like the accidentally exposed nipple or genitals. The BBQ sauce is the dried blood on the disheveled drunk, who will not know how it got there, why there’s so much of it, and whose blood it is.

The previous paragraph probably made your opinion of the Burger King Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger even lower, but, to me, what’s in the photo is extremely sexy and I’m getting wet staring at it. Because I’m drooling and I have slightly overactive saliva glands. Ask my pillow and anyone I’ve yelled at.

Burger King Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger Closeup

The melted cheese makes the sandwich appear as if it has a built-in fondue machine. The golden brown onion rings scream crispy. The dark BBQ sauce is like black lingerie, hidden underneath the bun. There isn’t a lot of it, but there’s enough of it to tantalize me. Then there’s the two round beef patties topped with all the other ingredients.

Everything brings back memories of throwing loose change on the counter to pay for the inexpensive, tasty, but now discontinued Rodeo Cheeseburger. Yes, if you’re familiar with Burger King menus of yore, you’d know this is a stretched-out Rodeo Cheeseburger.

Obviously, with pretty much the same ingredients as a Rodeo Cheeseburger, the Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger tastes as wonderful as the beloved little burger. The onion rings have a slight crunch and just enough onion flavor to cut through the BBQ sauce, which has a wonderful sweet and spicy flavor and is, in my opinion, the best tasting BBQ sauce among the big burger chains. The combination of beef patties, cheese, onion rings, and BBQ sauce hit my taste buds with so many different flavors — salty, sweet, spicy, oniony, and greasy. It’s definitely a better tasting use for Burger King’s hoagie bun than their Original Chicken Sandwich.

While the Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger is tasty, its price is an issue. Like with stretched-out limos, there’s a premium for this stretched-out Rodeo Cheeseburger. My fellow future Lipitor taker, Ryan over at Grub Grade, noted in his review that one can get two Rodeo Burgers, plus pay extra for cheese, for a total that’s significantly cheaper than this limited time only burger. However, if you’re super hungry or have friends, Burger King recently added the sandwich to their 2 for $5 deal.

Let’s be honest, Burger King’s “new” Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger isn’t new. The combination of ingredients is old. Heck, the “Extra Long” name is old (it’s been used by Burger King in other countries) and using BK’s hoagie bun for a cheeseburger in the U.S. is also old (see BK’s Bullseye BBQ Burger). But my taste buds sure do like reminiscing with it.

Burger King Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger Wrapper

(Nutrition Facts – 590 calories, 28 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1080 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger
Purchased Price: $6.79 (value meal)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like my beloved Burger King Rodeo Cheeseburger. It looks sexy (to me). Onion rings have a nice crunch and have enough flavor to cut through BBQ sauce. So many flavors coming together. Burger King’s BBQ sauce, which, I think, is the best of the big burger chains. Available with Burger King’s 2 for $5 deal.
Cons: Not really a “new” product. Pricey if you purchased one, would be cheaper to buy two Rodeo Burgers with cheese. Could’ve used a bit more BBQ sauce. To some it might look like a disheveled drunk.

REVIEW: Burger King Chicken Big King

Burger King Chicken Big King

It’s difficult to stop staring at the middle bun of Burger King’s Chicken Big King because it’s comically thick. I stared at this new sandwich’s buns for so long that if it was a human being, I’d be called into a Human Resources Department and told I’m making the Chicken Big King feel very uncomfortable.

Speaking of uncomfortable, it feels weird not being able to sing, “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun,” while eating a sandwich that comes with a middle bun and a special sauce. I tried singing alternate lyrics to accommodate the Chicken Big King, but singing, “Two molded crispy chicken patties, sweet thousand island style dressing, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun,” just didn’t sound right in my head. However, that ingredients list also makes a decent chicken sandwich.

Let’s start with the component I noticed right after monstrous middle bun that makes the Chicken Big King look like a Duplo tower. The sweet thousand island style dressing? No. The lettuce.

One thing I don’t like about the McDonald’s Big Mac is the shredded lettuce which easily falls out of the sandwich. Have you ever found a piece of McDonald’s shredded lettuce in your shirt pocket? I have. But that won’t happen with the iceberg lettuce leaves on a Chicken Big King.

Yes, the pale leaves make the sandwich look a little depressing and provide nothing positive to the sandwich in terms of taste and texture, but at least I won’t find any hiding on or in my clothes on laundry day.

Burger King Chicken Big King Half

The Chicken Big King doesn’t come with the long chicken patties found on a Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich or their Tendercrisp chicken. Instead it uses the same patties found in BK’s Classic Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which I didn’t know existed five minutes ago. I thought BK’s Original Chicken Sandwich WAS their classic crispy chicken sandwich.

Anyhoo, the crispy chicken patty’s breading lacks the spices the McChicken’s patty has, but it is noticeably crisper. They aren’t horrible patties, but I wish they had more flavor than what’s offered in school cafeterias.

Now let’s talk about the sweet thousand island style dressing, onions, and pickles. The dressing was applied to all three buns, but they were stingy amounts. Apparently, Fast Food Santa Claus made my sandwich and I’ve been naughty. The lack of dressing made it hard for the most important ingredient to shine and most of the time it tasted like I was eating a plain chicken sandwich. The pickles provided a nice sourness that went well with the sweet and tangy dressing (when there was enough to taste it), but the rings of onions didn’t offer any flavor.

Again, Burger King’s Chicken Big King is a decent sandwich and if my sandwich had more sauce, I probably would’ve enjoyed it more. So if you’ve decided you want to try it, make sure you avoid being on Fast Food Santa’s naughty list for things like staring at buns for too long.

(Nutrition Facts – 660 calories, 37 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 1600 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar, 23 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Chicken Big King
Purchased Price: $4.39
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: More flavor than BK’s Original Chicken Sandwich. The sweet and tangy thousand island style dressing when there’s a generous amount. Pickles have a nice sourness and crunch. Chicken patties have a good crispiness. Iceberg lettuce not shredded.
Cons: Getting a stingy amount of sauce in my sandwich. Chicken patties need a bit more flavor and they make the McChicken patties seems better than they really are. Onions lack flavor. It has iceberg lettuce. Getting on Fast Food Santa’s naughty list because of excessive staring at buns.

QUICK REVIEW: Burger King Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Burger King Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Purchased Price: $5.69*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Same size as Burger King’s Original Chicken Sandwich. Tastes fine and pretty much tastes like Burger King’s Original Chicken Sandwich with a teeny wittle spiciness. If you’re gradually trying to get used to spicy foods by taking baby steps, this would make a great first step. Can be purchased with the 2 for $5 Burger King promotion, which is probably the only time when it’s worth it.
Cons: Spicy specialists, heat heads, and burn bums will be disappointed with the level of heat the sandwich has. Cayenne and black pepper do not make a spicy chicken. Ugh…The promotional pics show green leafy lettuce, but we get pale iceberg lettuce. Should’ve used a spicy sauce instead of cooling mayo (they’ve got the Angry Whopper’s Angry sauce, so why not use it?). Way overpriced at $5.69. Overpriced at $4.69. Slightly overpriced at $3.99.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

Burger King Spicy Chicken Sandwich Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 640 calories, 38 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 1310 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, 23 grams of protein.