While Florida has impacted the food world in many ways, it’s rarely considered the birthplace of a national chain. Whenever I share my facts about Burger King (Insta-Burger King) opening in Jacksonville in 1953, I’m often met with a suspicious, “Really?”
Looking at Burger King now, it’s certainly come a long way from its start as a small burger place. While its competitors (chiefly McDonald’s) have branched out in various ways, Burger King feels like it’s taken more risks to create unique menu items. Sometimes they are clearly a gimmick (remember the Halloween Whopper with the black buns and green after effects?), but in the case of the new Southwest Bacon Whopper, it’s an upgrade on the chain’s famous burger.
It starts with the sesame seed bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, and flame-broiled beef patty you’d get with a standard Whopper, and it’s finished with a creamy spicy sauce, American cheese, bacon, avocado spread, and seasoned tortilla strips. On first impression, the menu item sounded like it might be a little too busy flavor-wise. I was also unsure of the tortilla strips as I’ve had similar items on sandwiches that became mushy instantly.
The flavors, luckily, weren’t competing to be the strongest. The first bite offered a balance and layered experience. The spicy sauce reminded me of the many different iterations of a “creamy chipotle sauce” we’ve seen over the years: smokey, slightly spicy, and a little sweet. The avocado spread was very cumin-forward. There wasn’t much avocado flavor, but the creamy texture offered a nice change from mayo. I expected the bacon and cheese to be lost, but they worked well in the mix, adding some textural differences and a salty component.
The tortilla strips ended up exceeding my expectations. Their small size (about an inch long) made it much easier to get one in each bite. As for the soggy worry, they stayed crunchy from the first to last bite, and I tend to eat exceedingly slowly. They didn’t have a strong flavor, but they added a much needed crunch to break up the creaminess of the sauce and spread.
I also noticed how the tomato and onion actually brought a lot to the flavor profile, adding a highly enjoyable pico de gallo element I wasn’t expecting. The lettuce provided absolutely nothing to the overall eating experience and, in my opinion, could be left off.
Burger King’s Southwest Bacon Whopper is one of the best limited time items it has done in a while. Its ingredients all work together to give a delicious spin on its classic Whopper.
Purchased Price: $7.99
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 867.9 calories, 52.5 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1343.9 milligrams of sodium, 68.8 grams of carbohydrates, 5.7 grams of fiber, 13.1 grams of sugar, and 43.8 grams of protein.