REVIEW: Sonic Pulled Pork BBQ Cheeseburger

There are many things that pop into my mind when I think of Sonic: their magical, perfectly chewable ice nuggets, the amazing variety of drink and frozen treat options…and the time my wife spilled an entire Route 44 Cherry Coke on herself when she snagged the lid on the car door. Thankfully, she doesn’t read my reviews. She does not find nearly as much humor in that memory as I do.

One thing I don’t associate with Sonic is BBQ because, well, it’s Sonic. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered the new Sonic Pulled Pork BBQ Cheeseburger. To my mild surprise, it was quite good. Mind you, it’s not good like one of those BBQ places where you wait in line for 45 minutes and pray they don’t run out before you get to order, but if you have a hankering for some pulled pork and are pressed for time, this gets the job done.

This sandwich contains what you would expect based on the name — a burger patty, cheese, and pulled pork. The pork didn’t really wow me, but it was juicy and tender as it should be. It’s the little extras that make this shine. The meats are nestled in a pillowy, slightly sweet brioche bun with a blanket of pickles to add some crunch and acidic kick. Sonic claims it has “cherrywood smoke sauce,” which I quite enjoyed, despite detecting only the slightest hint of smoke flavor and certainly not enough for my palate to detect the type of tree from which any smoke might originate. The sauce did have a more complex flavor than what you might expect from a typical fast food BBQ condiment.

The end result was a juicy tag team of beef and pork with some tasty sauce that paired nicely with the pickles and mild cheese flavor. The great-tasting bun holds it all together beautifully. My only quibbles are that this thing is pretty salty, as the 1,590 milligrams of sodium confirms, and the $6.39 price tag seems a touch pricey, especially since mine wasn’t overflowing with pulled pork as the Sonic app led me to believe.

Sonic says this is a limited time item, so I plan to get it at least once or twice before it disappears. It’s also available as a simple pulled pork sandwich without the burger and as Totchos with cheese sauce, shredded cheese, pulled pork, and sauce on top of tots.

Purchased Price: $6.39
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 700 calories, 40 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1590 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 38 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Peanut Butter Bacon Shake

Sonic has rolled out two new limited edition Peanut Butter Bacon items, a shake and a cheeseburger, though perhaps fortunately for my nerves (which can only handle so much adventurous eating in one day), I’ll just be reviewing the shake here.

Let me be upfront: it’s not as strange as you may be afraid (or hoping) it will be. That’s because the bacon doesn’t really dominate the experience… though neither does the peanut butter.

The Peanut Butter Bacon Shake has a base of vanilla ice cream, which is understandable logistically speaking — Sonic’s a fast food joint, not an ice cream parlor capable of offering a gazillion unique flavors— but leads to the undeniable fact that it tastes more like its vanilla foundation than the mix-ins that are supposed to be featured. It also doesn’t help that the thick, creamy texture of the peanut butter doesn’t exactly blend in seamlessly with vanilla ice cream that has a thick, creamy texture too but also has the advantage of being present in a much higher quantity. If the peanut butter component came from something more mixable, like a syrup or even just a bunch of Reese’s Pieces, I think it would make much more of an impact, but as is, the smudges of peanut butter flavor only come through in small, infrequent, slightly unsatisfying doses.

You’ll notice I haven’t even mentioned the bacon yet, and that’s because it is similarly outshined. It comes in the form of well-cooked bits, a mix of larger, crispy dark red pieces and smaller, slightly chewier lighter ones, which are scattered liberally atop the rich, thick whipped topping (wimpy whipped cream it is not!) that crowns the shake. That looks cool, but sort of separates the bacon from the rest of the experience.

Yes, you could stab your straw directly into a batch of bacon bits and suck them all up at once for a rush of salty meatiness, but I’m guessing you’ll probably just do what I did, which was sip the shake without positioning the straw any particular way, resulting in mostly bacon-less sips (some bits were swirled up throughout the shake, but not enough that it really affected the flavor) with the bits on top gradually sinking to the bottom to be dealt with once the rest of the shake is gone. If we’re being pedantic, the whole thing felt more like a “Vanilla Shake with Peanut Butter Swirl and Bacon on Top” than a true “Peanut Butter Bacon Shake.”

The shake’s texture, though, was sublime; it hit my sweet spot of being thick enough that I had to work a little to drink it through the straw but not too thick that a spoon was required. And aside from its outsized presence, I don’t have any complaints about the vanilla ice cream.

Overall, this isn’t a bad product. It’s just a little odd, not daring enough to scratch the itch for novelty seekers, but maybe still a bit too weird for those seeking a classic milkshake. The few who fall into the grey area in between will likely enjoy it, but let’s just say I’m not holding my breath for this to earn a permanent place on the menu.

Purchased Price: $6.09
Size: Medium
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable at the time of review.

REVIEW: Sonic Trick or Treat Blast (2023)

For Halloween 2023, Sonic is offering revamped Trick or Treat Blasts, which include Mini M&M’s, Heath candy pieces, and Oreo cookie pieces, all mixed together in soft-serve ice cream. They are available in vanilla and chocolate.

If you don’t have a lot of time, I’ll sum it up quickly: This is basically an M&M’s shake. There, now you can go to the pumpkin patch (or the haunted house or the apple orchard or whatever else you’re doing this time of year).

Instead of eating it in my car in the stall at Sonic, I opted to get the chocolate version in the drive-through, then took it home and enjoyed it in the autumn afternoon.

The Mini M&M’s were by far the most noticeable element of the Blast. Since cold M&M’s are crunchy, I was crunching my way through the entire treat. There were M&M’s in almost every bite, even when I took a small bit of ice cream in my spoon. I liked them, and I’m glad they were there, but sometimes I just wanted a moment without them. (Is that what it’s like having kids?)

The Oreo pieces were slightly softened from the soft serve. If you’re a reader of this site, you probably know what it’s like to have Oreo cookies in ice cream, so I don’t need to elaborate on what they were like.

The Heath pieces were least noticeable to me. Since the M&M’s were already crunchy, it was hard to notice if I was crunching on toffee instead. I did have one bite where I thought, “Oh yeah, I can definitely taste the toffee here!”

As for the soft serve, it was enjoyable but unremarkable. The abundant M&M’s really overpowered the flavor. My Blast wasn’t very well mixed, and I didn’t notice much difference between the vanilla (before I mixed it) and the chocolate (after I mixed it).

I enjoyed the Trick or Treat Blast, but I just didn’t find it that interesting. It was too similar to other products. And as a sucker for anything holiday related, I wished it had a stronger seasonal connection. I don’t think I ever got a Heath bar or Oreo cookies in my trick-or-treat pillowcase. And if Sonic wasn’t going to add any flavors more interesting than chocolate, it at least could have added some spooky colors somewhere.

The Trick or Treat Blast is, well, not much of a blast. It’s tasty, but I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way for it.

Purchased Price: $5.43
Size: Small
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (small) 670 calories, 26 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 630 milligrams of sodium, 103 grams of carbohydrates, 85 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Buffalo Chicken Dip Bites

I have always been a snack fiend. I tried to be a more “three square meals” person, but it didn’t really stick. Instead of fighting it, I’ve accepted it and embraced it. When I opened the Sonic app to order a drink, a screen showing its new Buffalo Chicken Dip Bites came up. Seeing the picture of the tiny empanada-looking snack, I immediately added them to my order.

Sonic recently added the Buffalo Chicken Dip Bites as a limited time item. Each piece is a crispy fried pocket filled with cheddar cheese, Buffalo sauce, and chicken. By default, you are given a cup of ranch to dip them in, and they are available in quantities of 3, 5, or 7.

The outside wrapper was absolutely fascinating to me. It looked similar to an empanada or even a ravioli, but ate like a wonton. The crispiness and chew were reminiscent of the wontons I’d get from my local Chinese takeout restaurant. It walked that line of crunchy but not brittle. I was worried the outside would be the weakest part of the item, but it ended up being its strength.

The Buffalo chicken dip mixture was fine but didn’t wow me in the way I had hoped. I am sure some of you are saying to yourself, “Holly…it’s a fast food item. What do you mean ‘wow’ you?”

In recent years, Sonic has stepped up many of its flavors. At least to me, they’ve been more willing to try bolder and unique food offerings to varying degrees of success. I was looking forward to a spicy, flavorful filling with the Buffalo chicken dip, but it fell flat. I was hoping for that strong spice I find present in most iterations of “Buffalo,” but instead got a La Croix interpretation.

Dipping into ranch only made the bite milder in flavor and added nothing to my eating experience. If I were to get them again, I would probably get a side of Buffalo sauce to dip them in to see if that would bring the flavor to the level I had expected. It was just a bummer to have a unique item that did not quite live up to what I wanted.

The Sonic Buffalo Chicken Dip Bites didn’t deliver the spicy snack I had hoped for, but I think the presentation with the tiny fried shell has much potential for future snacks. Spice tolerance is a fairly subjective thing, so if you enjoy the more mild Buffalo flavor, these will probably be a hit. However, if you’re looking for a more cayenne pepper-forward Buffalo taste, these will probably not satisfy you.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 5 pieces
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (5 pieces) 280 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 650 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Aloha Tropical Colada Slush

I’ve been on a slush kick since Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven.

It was the first slush-style drink I’d had in what felt like years, and something inside of me reawakened. I made up for that lost time in rapid fashion. Wawa hit me with a surprise free ICEE reward, which I immediately cashed in on. I had a few unearned pina coladas, grabbed a slushie with an otherwise gross McDonald’s dinner, and I’ve gone back to 7-Eleven two times since. Needless to say, I’ve been overdoing it.

In my defense, it’s basically the hottest summer ever, but I do need to nip this in the bud now before it gets out of hand. I don’t wanna get addicted to these sugar bombs, so here I am, vowing to return to a slush-less life… as soon as I try Sonic’s new Tropical Colada Slush.

What you’re looking at here is basically a pina colada sans rum – Sonic’s version of a mocktail.

Pineapple, coconut, and banana are arguably my three favorite fruits, and as far as I’m concerned, three flavors that usually blend together perfectly. Usually.

A pina colada with the added banana flavor sounds incredible, but something here just didn’t jive. The Tropical Colada Slush is good, but I really wanted it to be amazing.

This is very pineapple-forward. It dominates the flavor, especially for the first few sips, which I think gave me a brain freeze in world record timing. The Guinness Book later confirmed my claim, but bluntly stated, “No one cares, bro.”

After a few sips, I started to notice a little banana peeking through, which mellowed the sharper pineapple flavor. The real surprise of this slush was how lowkey the coconut was. I don’t like when coconut is so strong you think you’re drinking suntan lotion, but I needed the flavor ramped up about 60% here.

Ultimately it was refreshing, but the recipe needs a tweak. I love Sonic ice, which is closer to a Slush Puppy than a Slurpee, but with this flavor profile, I think I would have preferred the fluffier 7-Eleven style. This thing is dense.

I’m a bit bummed overall for the lack of coconut, but mostly for how soft the banana flavor was. It’s so rare to get something like this with banana. I almost wish I could’ve tried it without the pineapple entirely. Still, I think this scratched my banana itch —- and yes, that does sound awful. I apologize for writing those words.

I wanted this to be the best slush I’ve ever had. Instead, it was only okay. It hit the spot on another 95-degree day at least.

I’d recommend asking for an extra shot of banana if possible. I noticed you could add a shot of blue coconut syrup, which might also be a good idea to counteract the pineapple. As an added bonus, it’ll probably make the slush a satisfying sky-blue color instead of the nondescript off-white.

I’d say give this a try, but go during happy hour and get it for half price. Just be careful, though, because slush drinks can be very addictive.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Medium
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 270 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of sodium, 73 grams of carbohydrates, 72 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.