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.

REVIEW: Burger King Four Cheese Whopper

Burger King Four Cheese Whopper

The Burger King Four Cheese Whopper could have been great. In fact, it should have been great.

Everybody knows that four is the best number. There are four blind mice, four good Indiana Jones movies and four continents on the planet. So when Burger King unveiled a Four Cheese Whopper, everybody in the country yelled “Four!” at the same time like we were playing golf for the fourth time that day. We needed this, BK. Imagine it: Buzzfeed lists of “Which of the Four Cheeses are you?” or umm, “Buzzfeed ranks the Four Cheese Whopper cheeses in order,” or “Buzzfeed remembers 2014, the year of the Four Cheese Whopper.” Buzzfeed is pretty 2013, but the Four Cheese Whopper could have swung this year for it.

However. You dropped the ball, Mr. King. You dropped the ball so hard. You dropped the ball harder than the Burger King Kid’s Club playing a game of pickup. Because at some point you’re going to have to pass the basketball to the nerd or the shaggy dog. Oh yeah, and there was that dude with a Virtual Boy strapped onto his face with a rubber band. What a dummy. Did Kid Vid invent Google Glass? Now I hate him even more.

Burger King, you dropped the ball harder than I wish I could drop Google Glass onto the ground. Let’s quote your own description of the Four Cheese Whopper. It says it has “melted American cheese, a creamy three cheese blend, cheddar sauce.” That sounds like five cheeses. And any idiot knows that five is better than four. Five is the best number, duh. There are five Golden Girls, five signs on the zodiac, and five sodas in a six-pack. You could have named it the Five Cheese Whopper and you completely missed the boat.

To be honest, though, you could have named it the One Cheese Whopper. Here’s the deal with this thing. There’s cheese on it. A lot of it. And it all tastes the same. It’s one note, and processed to hell. I could see the lady making it for me at the restaurant, and she stacked a few slices, then sprinkled some shavings, and then squirted a glop from a bottle. So much work, so many delivery systems, but it all ends up tasting exactly the same.

Burger King Four Cheese Whopper Side

It pretty much tastes like half a stack of Kraft Singles on top of a Whopper. And, yes, I know, that sounds awesome. But that’s because I’m a fatty obsessed with comic excess. It’s actually not awesome. To top it off, it’s that congealed cheese that’s barely melted so it has the texture of a frozen cheeseburger heated for 3/4 of the thawing time.

Burger King Four Cheese Whopper Topless

The cheese mutes any acidity in the burger toppings and also overthrows the charbroiled taste in the patty. King Burger also removed the pickles and the ketchup, which tips the entire fromage-agaggedon into cheese overdrive. There are onions, tomatoes and pieces of lettuce in there, but they resemble those people who die climbing Mount Everest and then freeze there like statues for future climbers to see, if instead of snow, cheese fell from the sky.

Burger King Four Cheese Whopper with Regular Whopper with Cheese

Regular Whopper with Cheese (left) Four Cheese Whopper (right)

The bun is a Whopper bun. It’s got sesame seeds. It also gets a little lost in the cheese mix. By comparison, the Whopper with cheese costs a few cents less and the ingredients all manage to find themselves onto the consumer’s palate, which, considering this is Your Majesty’s Burger Joint, may be considered a worse thing. Seems like this item would be labeled “for cheese-connoisseurs only,” but if this is the quality of cheese you like, you’re probably the kind of person who eats string cheese without stringing it: Do what you want, but that ain’t my style.

This burger appeals to about zero people. But you know what the silver lining is? Zero is by far the best number. Zero days of Christmas, the concept of pi starts with a zero, and there is a zero chance of this bit getting old.

(Nutrition Facts – 850 calories, 57 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 1160 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Four Cheese Whopper
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Basically a Whopper with more cheese. Still contains some Whopper qualities, if that’s your speed.
Cons: Cheese is overbearing, also not of greater quality, or even of differing quality than usual.

REVIEW: Burger King YUMBO Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich

Burger King YUMBO Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich

I don’t have a kid, but I’ve put some thought into his or her name. I’ve been thinking of names that are hard to make fun of, but that has been a difficult task.

Brandon…Brandumb.

Evelyn…Neverlyn.

Reginald…Reginard.

Catherine…Casserine.

Dick…Dick.

Geez, I’m a natural at this. I should’ve been a bully instead of being the target of bullies.

Burger King’s YUMBO Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich has a name that’s extremely easy to make fun of. YUCKBO. This sandwich is DUMBO. YUMNOOOO. And those names do a wonderful job of describing how I feel about the YUMBO.

The YUMBO is constructed using slices of black forest ham, two slices of American cheese, Burger King’s sad lettuce, and mayonnaise on the hoagie bun used with BK’s Original Chicken Sandwich. Before I tell you how mediocre this sandwich is, let’s take a quick trip back into time.

The YUMBO is not a new sandwich. It was originally introduced in 1968 and taken off the menu six years later. The original didn’t include lettuce, mayonnaise, or a hoagie bun. You can see what it looked like in this vintage Hungry Jack’s commercial. (Hungry Jack’s is what Burger King is called in Australia.)

Being that I wasn’t born when the original YUMBO was around, I have no idea what it tasted like. But I do know the present version is disappointing. First off, the ham in my sandwich was not hot. Well, to be exact, my entire sandwich was lukewarm, including the toasted bun. Because the cheese was slightly melted, it might’ve had a little warmth during the 30 second walk from Burger King to my car and the 60 seconds I took to take photos, but it had none when I put it into my mouth. Gooey melted cheese is one thing that makes a hot ham and cheese sandwich awesome, but mine was just room temperature.

I will admit my YUMBO appears somewhat appetizing with the salty ham looking like it was placed lovingly onto the bun, but it tastes like a ham sandwich I could make at home with some cheap Land O’Frost meat, half-eaten lettuce stolen from a bunny cage, a free Best Foods/Hellmann’s mayo packet from 7-Eleven, a hoagie bun, and not giving a damn.

Burger King YUMBO Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich Topless

After taking a few bites, I decided I wasn’t going to settle for a lukewarm sandwich and ended up microwaving it for 20 seconds when I got home. When the ham is hot and the cheesy is gooey and warm, it’s a noticeably better sandwich. Although if you decide to nuke it, get rid of the lettuce before you do so because heat makes BK lettuce worse than it already is. Actually, why is there lettuce? To be honest, I don’t even think lettuce wants to be in the sandwich because it kept falling out as I ate mine.

Burger King YUMBO Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich Top

The YUMBO Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich is part of the 2 for $5 menu, so if you don’t want to heed my warnings and try the ham sandwich, you can do so knowing you have a back up sandwich. It’s not YUCKBO when it’s warm, but I shouldn’t have to microwave my sandwich to make it decent. With the YUMBO being a limited time only product, it’ll eventually be taken off the menu again. And if it doesn’t show up again for decades, I won’t mind.

(Nutrition Facts – 490 calories, 24 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1770 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King YUMBO Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich
Purchased Price: $4.59*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: A better sandwich when ham is hot and cheese is gooey and warm. Microwave ovens. Backup sandwiches.
Cons: Ham was not hot. Entire sandwich was lukewarm. Subway makes a better ham sandwich. Look at what you made me type, Burger King! Not the sandwich from the bell-bottoms generation. BK’s bad lettuce. Stealing from bunny cages. Bullies.

*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.