When I was very young, one of my favorite fast food sandwiches was the simple, yet respectable Hardee’s roast beef. Later, in my early 20s, and with an accordantly sufficient metabolism, I would occasionally go to town on a Monster Thickburger. You know, the one with two 1/3 pound beef patties, four strips of bacon, three slices of American cheese, and a slathering of mayo. (I always appreciated how they didn’t put on airs by adding anything that came from a garden.)
I’m older now, and as such, I wouldn’t feel responsible ordering one of those if Hardee’s still made them. (There’s a smaller, tamer version, but it just isn’t the same.) Couple the lack-of-a-sideshow-aspect with the fact that the nearest Hardee’s just isn’t very near, and the bottom line is, I don’t get there all that often. So, when I heard about its rollout of the new “Bacon Beast” menu featuring a Bacon Beast burger, breakfast burrito, and biscuit, I wondered, will this be enough to work Hardee’s into my regular fast food rotation?
The answer, simply put, is no.
You see, the thing is, I’ve got three Burger Kings closer to me, and Burger King has a Whopper, and to that Whopper, one may add bacon and cheese. And that is, from a taste standpoint, a 98% match for this burger.
The Bacon Beast consists of “a 3.5 oz patty, tomato, lettuce, pickle, yellow onion, mayonnaise, American cheese, and four strips of Applewood-smoked bacon complete with a special sauce on a seeded bun.” (You can also get it with two or three patties; I ordered a single and was given a double.) A Whopper has a 1/4th pound patty, white onions instead of yellow, and ketchup instead of “special sauce.”
The thing is, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell how this special sauce WASN’T just ketchup. It was a little sweeter, maybe? But whatever it was supposed to be, it was nearly indistinguishable from ketchup.
The other thing, obviously, is that BK flame-grills its meat while Hardee’s charbroils it. Is it different enough to be noticeable? Not to me. Hardee’s patty seemed a bit saltier than BK’s, but it was tasty. Everything else was totally standard, and totally reminiscent of a Whopper. The vegetation was unremarkable but fine, the bacon was decently thick, the bun was bland, and the American cheese was waxy and what one would expect from fast food.
I had no complaints about this thing, but I didn’t come away with any compliments, either. It was a bacon cheeseburger from a top-10 fast food hamburger place. Better than a prepackaged one from a hospital vending machine, but much less desirable than one from Five Guys. And while I get that a place like Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. isn’t in direct competition with a place like Five Guys or Shake Shack or Your Favorite Local Hamburger Place, if they’re asking me to pay close to that same amount, they’ve gotta give me something fun or unique. A Whopper clone with sad special sauce and a different kind of onion just won’t cut it.
Purchased Price: $6.79
Size: Single Patty
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 900 calories is the only nutritional fact available on Hardee’s website at this time.