As a huge fan of both authentic and inauthentic Tex-Mex cuisine, I’ve always had a penchant for jalapeno peppers. While a few chains add them as ingredients to their limited time only burgers, they nonetheless remain one of the less heralded toppings in the fast food cosmos. Needless to say, if I had it my way, jalapeno rings would be as ubiquitous as burger toppings as onion rings.
Thankfully, Burger King has come along with two newfangled, LTO sandwiches that seek to bring a little sweet heat to palates across America. First up in our dainty double feature of foodstuffs, it’s BK’s latest addition to the Big King family, the Jalapeno King.
As soon as you unwrap this monstrous burger, the powerful aroma of jalapeno hits your olfactory glands like a punching bag. The mammoth double-decker sandwich comes with half a pound of grilled beef, several strips of crispy bacon, a coating of pepper jack cheese, a green chile aioli (more on that in a bit) and, of course, a smattering of jalapeno rings.
If you’ve got a penchant for super filling, ultra-beefy burgers this one ought to satisfy you and then some. You get a TON of meat in this thing, and that aforementioned aioli is delicious (it’s basically a chipotle mayo dressing, with a subtle hint of lime thrown into the mix … I think.)
On the downside, though, the sandwich might be a bit too big for its own good. As much meat as they packed in this sucker, at least a quarter of the sandwich is just sesame seed bun on sesame seed bun action, and all that white (wheat?) space means some of the subtler flavors (like the bacon and the pepper jack cheese) get lost in the gustatory shuffle.
The considerably lighter Jalapeno Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich may not have the bulk of its beefy sibling, but overall I’d consider it the better one.
For starters, BK appears to have amped up their breading spices for this one, and for once, a fast food burger marketed as “spicy” actually TASTES respectably spicy. There’s a unique BBQ/Creole spice flavor I detected on the chicken rubbings, which makes it feel unlike anything you’ve probably tried at one of the major fast food chains before.
It has pretty much all of the same toppings and fill-ins as the Jalapeno King (save for the toasted potato bun), but the more condensed package allows the ingredients to meld quite a bit better than it does on the JK. You can feel the cheese and bacon gel together here, and the combination of pepper rings and BBQ spices might get your eyes to water a trickle or two. Of course, its smaller size also means it’s going to be a sloppier meal, so as always, we here at The Impulsive Buy encourage you to snack smart and ALWAYS opt for an extra napkin or two.
With both sandwiches costing north of $5 as standalone offerings, they’re probably not the best option for economically-minded diners. Still, you have to give BK props from at least trying to provide fast food consumers something outside the norm — as well as crafting two spicy LTOs that might get your nose running.
(Nutrition Facts – Jalapeno King – 990 calories, 65 grams of fat, 24 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of trans fat, 205 milligrams of cholesterol, 1550 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 55 grams of protein. Spicy Crispy Jalapeno Sandwich – 760 calories, 45 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1720 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $6.29 (Jalapeno King)
Purchased Price: $5.49 (Spicy Crispy Jalapeno Chicken Sandwich)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Jalapeno King)
Rating: 8 ouf to 10 (Spicy Crispy Jalapeno Chicken Sandwich)
Pros: Both sandwiches are ridiculously filling; unlike most “spicy” fast food sandwiches. They’re genuinely spicy. The green chile aioli is superb.
Cons: The pepper jack cheese doesn’t taste that intense. Getting sauce and oil all over the place while you’re eating them. Trying to mathematically figure out how the chicken sandwich has more sodium than the Jalapeno King.