I am always on board when an American fast food chain in a non-US location unveils its version of regional American fare.
Take, for instance, McDonald’s “Big America Burgers” in Japan. The most recent iteration of this popular offering gave Japanese consumers the Texas 2, the Idaho, the Miami, and the Manhattan burgers. Some of these have very reasonable — and dare I say interesting — inclusions. A hash brown on the Idaho burger, for example, is a particularly fetching choice. And then sometimes, something seems to get lost in translation. While I applaud the pastrami topping on the Manhattan, I’m a little perplexed by the mozzarella and “sour cream sauce.”
Ditto, McDonald’s “Great Taste of America” burgers, which have popped up multiple times in the UK, the most recent being 2019. While I am impressed that the “Alabama Chicken” has a white BBQ sauce, the “New York Stack” is all over the road by serving it on a sesame and poppy seed bagel (nice!), but topping it with “bacon, cheese, creamy coleslaw, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and pickles.” Because nothing says “New York” like mixing up your coleslaw with ketchup, mustard, and cheese, right?
Sonic’s “Twisted Texan” Burger (or footlong, quarter-pound hot dog, if you’d rather) doesn’t really come close to some of those weird combinations, to be sure, but it also isn’t very inspired. It is a regular quarter-pound beef patty on a regular bun, topped with its regular chili, a cheese slice, and “crispy onion strings.” Do these things work well together? Sure, I suppose so.
I’m on record as being a fan of Sonic’s patties, and I usually have good luck with its buns, too. Its chili — which is almost like a Coney-style chili-sauce, if you’ve never had it — is great on its dogs and tots, and it’s fine here. The single slice of cheese got lost in the mix, which ultimately made it inessential; a second slice might’ve added more oomph.
Now that brings us to the onion strings.
While the first bite or two of the burger noticeably benefited from them, the “crispy” exterior of the strings quickly turned to mush, making the veggie indistinguishable in consistency and taste from the chili. I’m not sure how you combat this unless you use whole onion rings. (Which, you know, could’ve been done; I’m not sure that onion strings are any more or less “Texan” than onion rings.)
In the end, this is just an okay burger, but I’m not sure what screams “TEXAS!” about it, other than the red chili. Which, I mean, is sort of Texas-y? But it’s also something that you can get a really good bowl of just about anywhere. How could have Sonic made this more of a Texas thing? Oh, I don’t know… by putting it on Texas toast, perhaps? Or maybe adding brisket. Or a tiny little, sandwich-sized cowboy hat. Anything more than just “chili and onion strings.”
Purchased Price: $3.99
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 1030 calories, 68 grams of fat, 17 gram of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 1940 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 33 grams of protein.