Despite thousands of radio stations, playlists, and aging boomer cover bands, most people concede there is no one uniform, authoritative definition of Classic Rock. Some say it has to be from the 60s or 70s; others that it has to feature certain guitar rifts; some claim that in its truest form that Classic Rock can’t include anything but British bands. Classic, it seems, is at least somewhat in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.
Such might also be said of the classic bacon cheeseburger.
Cheddar? Blue Cheese? Applewood smoked or peppered bacon? Lettuce, tomato, and onion? Or just meat, cheese, and bacon? That’s not even saying anything of the condiments or bun choice.
Wendy’s latest burger offering, the Big Bacon Classic, attempts to answer that question by adding Applewood Smoked Bacon to a Dave’s Single. Groundbreaking, I know, except for the fact that it originally debuted in 1992.
Like most premium fast food burgers these days, Wendy’s Big Bacon Classic looks impressive out of the wrapper. With a quarter-pound of beef, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mayo, and onions, it has enough heft to inspire confidence without being unwieldy.
I got the burger twice — once during the lunch hour and once in the evening and from two separate Wendy’s.
The first time, I couldn’t get past an off-flavor that was a little bit burnt and a little bit woodsy (having once bitten through a twig roasting a marshmallow, I know these things). Thinking I hit a bad piece of bacon, I took another bite. But I got the same off-flavor result.
Unsure which part of the burger was causing the weirdly unpleasant taste, I tested the components individually, and found nothing wrong with them. Everything was fresh and in its proper portion, although the bacon coverage wasn’t as great as “big” leads you to believe. Still, it had a nice smoky flavor and was rendered perfect by fast food standards, with the right balance of fat, crunch, and smoke.
Since I wasn’t sure if the weird off-flavor of my burger was an inherent flaw or some kind of ingredient or handling issue confined to time and place, I got another one later in the week.
My second was, from a cheeseburger perspective, much better than the first, with a juicy and hot patty dripping with juices and fat, oozing up the cheese. However, its bacon was rather quiet and this time overcooked, although the off and distracting flavor was gone.
Despite being a really good fast food cheeseburger, it didn’t taste better than a well-executed Dave’s Single, which you can get for less than half the price if you’re ordering off the 2 for $5 menu.
All in all, the Wendy’s Big Bacon Classic was good but a bit of a letdown when executed well, and a major disappointment when executed poorly. A good-looking burger with good individual ingredients, to me, it’s classic only in the sense that it’s a classic case of inconsistent execution in fast food.
Purchased Price: $5.59
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 640 calories, 40 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 8 gram of sugar, and 34 grams of protein.