REVIEW: Wendy’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Wendy's BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

There are several places I never want to find pulled pork, including a high school cafeteria, the bathroom, and inside an open wound. Fortunately, Wendy’s has nothing to do with these three things.

Similar to Denny’s fascination with bacon, Wendy’s has a newfound obsession with pulled pork. This autumn season, Wendy’s fast food restaurants will be offering a limited-time only menu including BBQ Pulled Pork Cheese Fries, a BBQ Pulled Pork Cheeseburger, and a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wendy’s introduced a pulled pork Frosty before the month ends. Wait a second…

Oh, Wendy. You sassy, redheaded minx.

Before I continue my review, I must confess: pulled pork has always confused me. Yes, it’s delicious, but I’ve never understood which part of the pig must be pulled in order to procure said barbecued meat. Behind the ears? No. Under the stomach? Nope. Between the legs? Good lord, no!

Still pondering the anatomy of hogs, I found myself inside a local Wendy’s restaurant. With five dollars in my pocket and the hunger-pangs in full effect, I decided it was high-time to try the new BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, which features hickory-smoked pulled pork meat, a layer of coleslaw, and a toasted brioche bun. Each sandwich is finished with one of three sauces: smoky, spicy, or sweet.

The sandwich arrives in a red, cardboard box decorated with Wendy’s smiling mug. Opening this package reveals the pulled pork sandwich in all its glory, topped with a grease-soaked bun that glistens in the sunlight.

The pulled pork itself is smoky and meaty. A praiseworthy approximation of barbecue flavor, it lacks the dry, chewy qualities I’ve noticed of low-quality pulled pork. Sure, Wendy’s pulled pork might not be as succulent and flavorful as pulled pork from the finest Southern barbecue joints, but it certainly holds its own.

The pork flavor is enhanced by the sweet sauce, which has a pleasant tang reminiscent of the sauce found on both the McRib and Burger King BBQ Rib Sandwich. The amount of sauce on my pulled pork sandwich was just right; the meat was not supersaturated with sauce, but I was still able to taste the barbecue sauce flavor. The only drawback was that the sweet sauce seemed a bit lukewarm when compared to the meat. I suspect the sauce wasn’t heated before the sandwich was assembled. As I continued to eat, the residual heat from the pulled pork slightly improved the sauce’s temperature, but the first few bites were subpar.

Wendy's BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich 2

In comparison to both the pulled pork and sauce, the coleslaw is a letdown. Its flavor is subdued and one-note, hardly noticeable in a mouthful of smoky pork. Its main contribution to the sandwich is textural, adding a light crunch to each bite. Even so, it fails to seem as crisp as the freshest of coleslaws.

My sandwich’s contents occasionally spilled out mid-bite, but this cannot be seen as a flaw — pulled pork is an inherently messy food. Luckily, the cardboard box conveniently doubles as a tray. You will receive full protection from falling meats, just in case you decide to eat the pulled pork sandwich while in the nude, all alone in your empty apartment on a Friday night.

I finished my Wendy’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich feeling fulfilled. Though the coleslaw topping lacked bite, the sandwich’s balance of smoky pork and tangy sauce was deeply gratifying. For a fast food take on a Southern classic, Wendy’s pulled it off. The BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich rivals other barbecue sandwiches I’ve tasted at a competitive price.

As a disclaimer, I want to assure the reader that neither I, nor The Impulsive Buy, endorse the pulling of pigs. Furthermore, we have never engaged in any form of hog-yanking activity. Please be kind to our animal friends, no matter how tasty.

(Nutrition Facts – 410 calories, 120 calories from fat, 14 grams of total fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1230 milligrams of sodium, 360 milligrams of potassium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 17 gram of sugar, and 24 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Smoky pulled pork flavor. Tangy sauce. Perfect amount of sauce. Eating in the nude?
Cons: Lukewarm sauce. Coleslaw flavor is one-note. Ethical dilemmas of pulling pigs.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche

Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche

Dad: “That’s-a Gouda sandwich.”

Son: “Stop it, Dad.”

Dad: “Nice size, too. Serving size is not poultry.”

Son: “…”

Dad: “Ahem. Not poultry”

Son: “It is poultry. It’s a chicken sandwich.”

Dad: “Like paltry.”

Son: “Oh. I see. … Stop it, Dad.”

Dad: “Sheesh. Sorry to brioche the subject.”

Son: “I am going to die.”

Dad: “C’mon you got the onions to withstand a conversation with your old man. Certainly this sandwich does. Well, did. They’re all chopped up now. Makes me want to shed a tear.”

Son: “Oh my god.”

Dad: “And they got a healthy dose of greens in this thing. That’s good for my digestion, for my trip to d’john later. Let me be over here. Looking at me with an a-hole-y face.”

Son: “Are you having a stroke?”

Dad: “No. Dijon. Aioli. It has Dijon aioli. A-hole like asshole.”

Son: “Dad, you aren’t saying anything about the food. You want to talk about the sandwich, go ahead. Please. By all means. But puns are not a form of communication. I’m not eating with you so you can trot out stupid, tired dad jokes. If you want to talk about the sandwich, at least tie an opinion onto something instead of unloading on me the lowest form of humor imaginable. We aren’t connecting.”

A pause.

Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche Topless

Dad: “Okay. Well, the Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche is pretty good. Pretty good. Full stop. The chicken is breaded fine—nobody will mistaken it for Chick-Fil-A or anything, but it seems to be a lighter batter than the dollar menu items. It’s a good canvas for what goes on above it.

The cheese and the caramelized onion sauce play extremely well together. The sweet onion flavor is very reminiscent of fig, and the eponymous Gouda lands a few bites of earthy flavor in the sandwich. It’s not super stinky like expensive cheese, but somehow they’ve stolen a little bit of that Gouda power, and a mouthful here and there is filled with that wannabe classic cheese-and-fig pairing. It’s very fancy for fast food fare. Fancy for fast food fare. Try saying that—”

Son: “Dad.”

Dad: “Sorry. Adulting up the proceedings even more is the bitter greens mix, which is actually bitter and again contrasts fairly well against the onion sauce. The chopped red onions give off tiny flares of acidity. The Dijon aioli cools things off, but in the face of all the other flavors going on, its rounded profile is lost a bit in the shuffle.

Bringing it home is the brioche. It’s soft enough but not soft enough to be noteworthy. It’s more like a piece of bread dressed up in a brioche Halloween costume.

It’s a pretty expensive sandwich. The entire deal is very balanced taste-wise and, like I said before, it’s substantial. But it clocks in at over five bucks. Not sure if it’s worth it since we’re at Wendy’s right now but I wanted to have lunch with my son and have a nice time, so to me it’s a bargain.”

A pause.

Son: “Thanks, Dad. Sorry about saying your jokes were stupid before.”

Dad: “It’s okay. I get it that sometimes j’can’t-stand-kitsch.”

Son: “What?”

Dad: “J’can’t-stand-kitsch. Chick-en-sand-wich?”

Son: “Ugh, I thought we were over this.”

Dad: “We are.”

Dad disappears in a puff of smoke. Son is sitting alone at a restaurant eating a sandwich. It was an imagined conversation the entire time. The son looks at his meal and pauses. He sighs, continues to eat.

Dad walks up to the table.

Dad: “Sorry, the bathroom took a while. There was a line.”

Son smiles. The conversation was imaginary but his dad is still around.

Dad: “Also, I got stuck.”

Son shakes his head and chuckles.

Son: “Oh, Dad.”

Freeze frame like at the end of an 80’s sitcom. Pull out to reveal it’s a photo in an album. Son is in old man makeup looking through photos.

Son (voice over): “And that was the last time I saw him before he left.”

Shot remains on the son. Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle plays in entirety, except instead of the line “You know we’ll have a good time then” it’s replaced with “You know we’ll have a Gouda time then.”

(Nutrition Facts – 600 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1550 milligrams of sodium, 460 milligrams of potassium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 32 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche
Purchased Price: $5.19
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Onion sauce and cheese are nice together. Bitter greens are bitter. Sophisticated flavors for the fast food world.
Cons: Pricey. Bread could’ve been softer. Chicken breading is fine but not spectacular.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe

Wendy's Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe

When it comes to burgers, Wendy’s can be rather unorthodox. We’ve seen pretzels for buns, burgers topped with foie gras, even “renegade” burgers named after dinosaurs. With their latest twist on the hamburger, Wendy’s hopes to bring down the house. The steak house.

For a limited time only, Wendy’s restaurants will feature the Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe. In addition to having way too many syllables in its name, the burger consists of a beef hamburger patty flavored with steakhouse seasoning and a garlic aioli, topped with tomato, lettuce, red onion, and American cheese. As part of Wendy’s Right Price Right Right Size value menu, you have little to lose when trying the Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe. I guess you could say the *steaks* are low. (See what I did there?)

In appearance, the Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe I ordered from my local Wendy’s closely resembled a typical Wendy’s cheeseburger. A quick bun-scan revealed the garlic aioli and steakhouse seasoning applied to the underside of the hamburger buns.

Each bite offers the same beefy flavor as a regular Wendy’s hamburger, only kicked up a notch through the addition of steakhouse seasoning, which possesses a strong black pepper flavor and just a hint of heat. If my tastebuds are correct, there’s also a bit of cayenne and paprika in there.

Wendy's Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe Topless 2

The burger is flavored with Montreal steakhouse seasoning. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm whether or not the Wendy’s seasoning accurately resembles Montreal seasoning in flavor, as I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting the largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec. That said, I imagine it tastes somewhat like hockey, maple syrup, and poutine.

The peppery steakhouse seasoning meshes well with the flavor of the beef hamburger patty, adding some variety to the more mundane flavor of a value menu cheeseburger. Its only flaw is that it can seem too powdery at times, as the peppery flavor really sticks in the back of your throat. For this reason, I strongly recommend pairing it with a beverage.

Wendy's Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe Topless 1

The dominant flavor in each bite of the burger is the steakhouse seasoning. As a result, the garlic aioli applied to the underside of the buns seems to fall flat — its light, buttery garlic flavor seemed nearly undetectable against the burger’s strong peppery notes. Similarly, the lettuce, tomato, and onions contributed almost nothing to the flavor, merely adding a light crunch to the texture of every bite.

Wendy’s new Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe is tasty, but not breathtakingly delicious. It’s nothing to write home about. (Unless you’re a person who really likes to send letters to your parents about hamburgers. Then by all means, write home!) Though the steakhouse seasoning does enhance the flavor profile of a run-of-the-mill value menu burger, I can only recommend purchasing it the next time you find yourself in need of an inexpensive lunch. It’s a welcome addition to the Wendy’s menu solely because of its low price.

If peppery hamburgers excite you, be sure to try the new Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe while it’s still available. If you miss it, you might just regret your mistake. Misteak? Ah, forget it. I’m done with steak puns. (Or should I say, well-done with steak-puns?)

(Nutrition Facts – 390 calories, 24 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 4 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 8 grams of monounsaturated fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 780 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein. .)

Item: Wendy’s Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe
Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Strong peppery flavor. Inexpensive. Houses literally made of steak.
Cons: Garlic aioli nearly undetectable. Steak seasoning seems powdery at times. An abundance of steak puns.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad

Wendy's Asian Cashew Chicken Salad

Ah, the fast food salad. Perfect for those on a diet and in a hurry and who aren’t very picky and are already at the restaurant with a group and don’t mind dropping some decent change on some lean meat and a handful of greens.

If you fall into that flower-like Venn diagram of compromise, it means you’ve probably made some questionable decisions in your life to get to this place (Or you’re just a mom with kids… which means you’ve definitely made some questionable decisions. Bam! Pow! Splat!). Anyway, Wendy’s wants your sad money, so they rolled out this new thing, the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad.

It’s topped with chicken, edamame, red bell peppers, cucumbers, cashews and *takes deep breath* Marzetti Simply Dressed Light Spicy Asian Chili Vinaigrette dressing *ends deep breath*. Woo whee. That dressing name is so long it looks like a Panic! at the Disco song title, or a Jaden Smith tweet. Plus, it comes in packets and you put it on yourself (Cardio for the day!). It has a light peanut-y balsamic flavor and an escalating spice that initially lets the rest of the ingredients breathe a bit.

The chicken is pretty good—standard grilled fast food chicken, salty and warm. The red bell peppers taste like red bell peppers. Cucumbers are cucumbers. The edamame has burnt spots, because it’s “fire roasted” but there is no roast flavor in them and they kind of sit there helping out a little bit, attempting to round out the taste. The various lettuce mix is fine, crunchy and cold. The pieces of cashew come in their own baggy, as to not get soggy.

Here is where things get difficult. A salad with so many “heavy” items as this one has the problem of construction. You dump your own dressing. You dump your own cashews. There are never enough cashews. Sometimes Wendy’s might slip you two packets of dressing. Sometimes one. Your mileage may vary. What if you put all the dressing in one corner of the salad? You’re screwed.

It’s tough to collect a bit of slippery soybean, lettuce, cashew and bell pepper in one bite on a plastic fork. When that happens, it’s a good salad. But that mostly does not happen. It would be a different story if all the ingredients were individually bright (they’re not), and if the dressing pulled all the components together into a unified front (it doesn’t). The dressing progressively gets spicier and the subtle peanut flavoring gets overpowered at a point, losing any semblance of depth. With all the fork dancing around the plate scooping up the toppings to make perfect bites, the second half of the meal is straight up spicy lettuce.

The Asian Cashew Chicken Salad is actually very low in calories, but also costs a pretty penny. You must be shelling out for that diet. Weird, some of the fattest people I know are Asian (E. Honda, Sammo Hung, Totoro). All in all, it’s not bad, but it’s not great either. But when the planets align and Hanukkah lands on Thanksgiving again, and we are put in a position of purchasing a fast food salad, it’s a solidly okay bet.

So this might be the best it gets as far as fast food salads go, Moms With Kids. Then one day your kids will be at Wendy’s 3000 ordering a Western Cashew Chicken Salad. (Ingredients are the same but Future China now owns the planet.) But maybe it doesn’t have to be this way. Break the cycle. Go with a Baconator and a side of chili next time. Enjoy your life. Love yourself.

(Nutrition Facts – Full Size – 380 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 970 milligrams of sodium, 1130 milligrams of potassium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, 6 grams of fiber, and 36 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad
Purchased Price: $6.29
Size: Full size (half size available)
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Chicken is decent. When all components are in one bite, tastes pretty good.
Cons: Hard to get even distribution with ingredients. Back half of meal is just spice in mouth. Pretty expensive.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich

There is not much you can buy for a dollar. Maybe four pieces of Now & Later candies from my neighborhood convenience store that sells the coveted synthetic cannabis K2 and the weird miniature glass domes with a suspended tiny rose. What the hell do you with those anyway?

You could buy a few back issues of the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters dumped in the yellowed back issue bin from the depressing comic book shop I used to frequent. Parsonovich, you never got your due and I’m still waiting for that autograph on my personal copy of issue number two I sent you.

I bought a few of those “like-porcelain” Chinese soup spoons for my upcoming dinner party and those were a buck each. You know the kind, those enamel-shined white ones that turn yellow after it has been through your dishwasher once.

The point is, there’s nothing much you can buy for a dollar that is worth it.

Wendy’s, however, wants to rectify that with its new Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich. I normally go for a burger but sometimes you just want something different, like a breaded chicken sandwich.

Gracefully, Wendy’s presented a sandwich that doesn’t emphasize you’ve only spent a paltry dollar nor will the taste remind you that you’re cash-poor (Who isn’t? My funds are all tied up in liquid assets, homies). Sure it’s a small sandwich, but it’s roughly four-inch diameter hides a good hammering of flavoblast (not a word).

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich Topless

The yellowish-orange mayonnaise-based chipotle sauce is tangy, earthy, and packs some heat. I know some of you smart asses are going to be all “Heat? I eat molten lava and even that sheeeeeeyit ain’t hot, Brosky!”

Look, it’s got heat for a GODDAMNED fast food sandwich, let alone a ONE DOLLAR GODDAMNED fast food sandwich. I’ll say it’s weaker than Tabasco, but stronger than your order of “American hot” Szechuan beef. You know those cooks back that are laughing at you, right?

The heat lingers a bit, which is always welcome. I was surprised the chipotle sauce went well with those sucky, ubiquitous, and rubbery pickled jalapeño peppers. I discard those immediately whenever they’re scattered on my dish at a Tex-Mex restaurant. However, those green pieces of bouncy crap works in this sandwich!

It’s clever because the acid from the pickled Jallapopos (also not a word) carries the heat and cuts through the creaminess of the chipotle dressing. It’s similar to a spicy tartar sauce, so a big ups for this brilliant twist.

The white pepper jack cheese made an impression as big as the announcement for another Resident Evil movie sequel (enough already!!!). I found the cheese to be useless because it didn’t enhance or add depth to the sandwich. Frankly, the spicy character of the pepper jack was muted. It was simply flavorless, characterless, and sad like my stupid goldfish.

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich Halves

But the breaded chicken was awesome. It reminded me of those school cafeteria chicken patties that were well seasoned and not greasy. I still dream of those things and have been unable to find a comparable version.

The crunch from the chicken was very nice and the chipotle sauce complemented it very well. The chicken was also moist and juicy. It also had a robust, slightly roasted taste that paired well with the chipotle sauce.

I was really amazed because when I hear a fast food burger or sandwich costs a dollar, my excitement hovers around the “let’s look at your vacation photos” level. By the way, if you’re one of those offenders, know that no one enjoys looking at your toes in the sand or that you’re holding a seashell in one hand and a fruity drink in the other. Nobody.

The Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich delivered on both adjectives in its name. Even though I griped about the cheese, it’s still a minor quibble because overall, this chicken sandwich was fantasticachillionaire (definitely not a word).

(Nutrition Facts – 420 calories, 210 calories from fat, 23 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 9 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 6 grams of monounsaturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 230 milligrams of potassium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Purchased Price: $1.00*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The sandwich is spicy and the chicken is crispy. The deep earthy flavor of the chipotle sauce plays very well with the pickled jalapeños. It’s only a dollar. Making up words.
Cons: The cheese was flavorless. The cheese added no depth to the sandwich. Looking at vacation photos is NEVER fun.

*Note: It’s being advertised for 99 cents, but mine was a dollar.