REVIEW: Wendy’s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger

Wendy s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger

Do you like cheese? No, I mean, do you really like cheese? I’m not talking to those of you who have been known to daintily nibble on a wedge of brie at a party or put a single slice of cheddar on your backyard burger. I’m speaking directly to those of you who are so mad at your arteries that you want to punish them at every possible turn. Do you dip your pizza’s cheese-stuffed crust into a tub of cheese sauce? Have you ever made a sandwich using grilled cheese sandwiches in place of sliced bread? Well then, you might be interested in Wendy’s new offering.

Wendy’s new Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger is “a quarter pound of fresh, never frozen beef, covered in creamy cheddar cheese and bacon jam, topped with applewood smoked bacon, crispy onions, and a slice of American cheese, all on a pillow soft, toasted cheddar bun.” I mean… cheese, am I right? According to my calculations, you’ve got three entry points for cheese on this thing: in the “creamy cheddar cheese” sauce, as a rogue American slice on top of the meat, and melted into or on top of the bun.

Wendy s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger  1

My first thought before getting this burger was, “Will I ruin my shirt, my pants, or both when I eat this thing?” But here’s the shocking part — it was extremely tidy. Oh sure, when I first unwrapped it, I was confronted with a few stray fried onion strands and some crisped cheddar cheese that’d melted off of the bun and turned into a crunchy cheese pond, but overall, nothing else squirted or fell out. This was a one napkin affair.

Wendy s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger  2

And, truth be told, the neatness of the BBCC probably foreshadowed this burger’s biggest pitfall: it was dryyyyyy. Like a camelback-trek-across-the-Sahara dry. Like, kissing-your-grandmother’s-cheek dry. The creamy cheddar cheese and bacon jam components were both there, maybe? But the cheese wasn’t creamy (all I noticed were random shreds of damp, unmelted cheddar), and a tiny dollop of the jam was totally lost in the mix. The patty itself was dry. The fried onions? Same. The whole thing was very one-note. Okay, two-note. 1) Dry 2) Salty.

There was no flavor here of which to speak, only an arid mass of chewiness that felt more like a chore than a meal. For something being sold on its cheesiness, it was interesting to find that the cheese seemed to add nothing; this burger would have been no different without it.

Wendy s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger Bun

The most unusual part of this burger (bacon jam isn’t exactly common, but Wendy’s has done it before, and so has Sonic) was probably the cheddar bun. Here are list of other things that are unusual:

  • The noise turtles make when they make love.
  • Extreme body modification like tongue-splitting.
  • Watching a seahorse give birth.
  • Women who love serial killers.

And like this bulleted list, I’m not sure I need the cheddar bun in my life. It too was — wait for it — very dry, and the cheese was barely noticeable beyond giving the bun a strange, slightly chewy texture.

All in all, this was a largely forgettable burger.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: Single patty
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 810 calories, 54 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1370 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3 gram of fiber, 5 gram of sugar, 39 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Black Bean Burger

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Full

Being a vegetarian in the early 2000s sucked. Dining out meant either sad garden salads clearly meant to be a vehicle for grilled chicken or, worse than that, freezer burnt veggie burgers that would always be both overcooked AND still frozen. Most places just didn’t see a reason to offer meatless items, especially fast food restaurants. Fast forward to 20 years later, and the market for meatless is thriving. While I am no longer a strict vegetarian, my diet usually consists of 50%-75% meatless or “plant-based” foods, so I’m always looking for new veggie items. Enter Wendy’s.

The chain has been slow to join the plant-based trend. It tested a black bean burger (non-spicy from what I’ve seen) in late 2015 that was never heard from again. This go around it’s testing out a Spicy Black Bean Burger in Jacksonville, FL (that’s me!), Pittsburgh, PA, and Columbus, OH. We rarely get to be selected as a test market, and all the better that it’s for a meatless item.

The Spicy Black Bean Burger consists of a seasoned plant-based black bean patty, romaine lettuce, onion, tomato, pepper jack cheese, crispy chipotle jalapenos, and spicy chipotle sauce served on a premium bun. I was fascinated that Wendy’s would opt to go a more traditional route with a black bean patty instead of the popular Beyond or Impossible items. Generally speaking, people trying to swap for meatless enjoy the faux meat experience instead of the more “traditional” veggie patty.

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Jalapenos

I always like to try the special components separately before taking the “perfect” bite. The crispy chipotle jalapenos weren’t what I expected in the best way possible. I hoped they would be similar to the crispy onions one might see on a green bean casserole (dry and crispy). While they were in that same vein, they were more like pickled jalapenos breaded and fried. The spicy chipotle sauce had a deep smokiness with a sweet heat. Finally, the patty had a predominately cumin flavor with various other “Southwest” flavors (onion, paprika, garlic, cilantro). The patty was also square-shaped, continuing the Wendy’s tradition.

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Patty

Taking a bite, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the layered spicy flavors worked together. The chipotle’s warmness came through with the Southwest blend in the patty and spiciness of the fried jalapenos. The pepper jack cheese felt sort of a take-it-or-leave-it element. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment, but it didn’t really add either.

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Split

The patty itself was soft. Not soggy or mushy, just soft. The outside could have used a few moments longer on the grill to get more crust. I was taken aback by the high quality of the patty itself. Normally black bean burgers are (more or less) just a mushed blend of veggies in the form of a patty with no discernible vegetable pieces. Absolutely not the case here as whole black beans, corn kernels, brown rice, and wheat berries were easily seen and felt when biting into the patty.

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Layers

I was impressed with this sandwich. Even though I went in with a low bar, I was blown away by the freshness of the product. The spicy black bean patty was on par with the fresh, handmade ones I’ve had in sit-down restaurants. I would like to note that the item isn’t vegan/vegetarian as served, but like with the Impossible Whopper, the audience isn’t vegans/vegetarians. I think it’s interesting that Wendy’s is taking a chance with a black bean patty instead of faux meat.

The Wendy’s Spicy Black Bean Burger is a unique and flavorful item. But I wonder if the patty might end up being a skip for the more casual meatless diner or people looking for that meaty meatless experience.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 sandwich) 580 calories, 27 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 1560 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Pringles

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Can

My Dear Impulsive Buyers,

I’ve now lost count of my days spent embroiled in the chicken sandwich war.

Whenever I feel they are close to an end, another challenger enters the fray. New culinary battles ensue.

I’ve seen some good sandwiches come and go by the wayside. Young. Fresh. Barely out of the test kitchens. KFC. McDonald’s. The Ch’King – all basically forgotten before they even had a chance.

While Popeyes remains the world superpower, I have a burgeoning respect for a chicken sandwich so battle-tested, so decorated, it has now transcended the sandwich itself – Wendy’s Spicy Chicken.

We can all learn something from Wendy’s Spicy Chicken. To survive the wars, you must adapt. Days may become months, and while boys become men, chicken sandwiches must become potato crisps… ?!


That’s right, folks, Pringles has a Wendy’s Spicy Chicken flavored crisp, and I’m pretty jacked up about it.

I couldn’t even tell you how many Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwiches I’ve had in my life, but I’m pretty confident no other fast food item even comes close. So I knew I had to write this review.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Compare

After picking up my can of Pringles, I swung by Wendy’s so I could really see if they would… stack up.

I have to say, at first, I was a little bummed.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Closeup

The crisps tasted like poultry seasoning and heaps of black pepper, but it wasn’t distinctly Wendy’s. I cleansed my palate between alternating bites of Pringles and the sandwich, but it just wasn’t clicking like I’d hoped.

Don’t get me wrong, the crisps were delicious, but on a flavor mimicry scale of 1 to Jelly Belly, they came in at about a 6.

I think the main problem for me was the fact that they were missing a little tang of the mayo, which is a key ingredient of Wendy’s sandwich. I also think the crisps tasted like they had a slightly different tasting pepper, but the heat levels were about the same.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Topping

I guess you lose a lot in the flavor transfer when you’re biting into a juicy chicken fillet versus a crispy potato chip, and I couldn’t get past that. I did stack some Pringles on my sandwich for a couple of bites to create a Chick-inception just for fun.

All in all, I enjoyed the Pringles, but next to the sandwich, they were only pretty good… That was until I ate them on their own the next day.

I guess the sandwich being there put too much pressure on the Pringles and my dumb brain because they tasted spot on this go around. I was blown away. The aftertaste was especially similar to Wendy’s, and I ended up polishing off the rest of the can. It was essentially like eating the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and fries at the same time.

So, my recommendation would be to just enjoy the chips as their own thing, and I guarantee you’ll notice just how much they remind you of the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

This was a great effort by Pringles, and I hope Julius Pringle and Dave Thomas keep their collabs rolling. I want a line of Spicy Nugget Pringles that come in different dipping sauce flavors. Spicy Nuggets with BBQ. Spicy Nuggets with Honey Mustard, etc. Whatever. I bet those would be excellent.


Perhaps this crisp is what we’ve been waiting for all along. The one that will bring an end to the great chicken sandwich war. I write to you, hopeful that we will find common ground and see rise to more such chicken-based snack ingenuity.

I hope this review finds you well.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Top

Purchased Price: $1.59
Size: 5.5 oz can
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 15 Crisps) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of total sugars, less 1 gram of fiber, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger

Wendy s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Full

In general, I am fairly apathetic when it comes to food infused with booze. Would you like to whisky-up your chicken? Okay. Wanna put beer in your chili or maybe your cheese? Sure, why not. Bourbon in your BBQ sauce? Whatever boils your potato, chief. Mostly, in my experience, adding beer or bourbon to your food is fine, but tends to land on the side of “maybe not worth whatever calories it’s adding.”

Especially when it comes to fast food.

While a local gastropub might be able to make you notice the “subtle undertones of oak in a rich BBQ sauce married with a 12-year-old, single batch bourbon,” a fast food place always runs the risk of ending up with something that tastes like your buddy got drunk and accidentally knocked his Natty Light into the cheese dip.

Wendy s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Toppings

So imagine my surprise when I really ended up liking Wendy’s new Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger. Wendy’s describes it as “a quarter-pound of fresh, never frozen beef topped with Applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, crispy onions, and a sweet, smoky bourbon bacon sauce that is, essentially, a sauce made with real bourbon and real bacon.” That’s the actual copy.

Anyway, this isn’t a Bourbon BBQ sauce, which is what I kept thinking, but a Bourbon bacon sauce. And how is this sauce? Extremely sweet with only a very subtle tang. You’d be hard-pressed to get anything boozy from it, which, as a person who’d prefer their food to taste as little like alcohol as possible, I’m fine with.

According to Wendy’s, some of the sauce’s 30 ingredients include brown sugar, sugar, molasses, “uncured bacon base,” another kind of molasses, and, as you may have surmised, bourbon whiskey. But once again, I didn’t taste booze, or bacon, just sugar. And it’s good! It complements the salt of the bacon strips expertly. If you’ve ever had the good fortune to eat candied bacon, you will recognize this combination. It works.

Wendy s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Split

The “crispy” onions also managed to stay reasonably crispy, which was a welcome surprise. The bun was warm and soft and seemed fresh, and the cheese was… present. To be honest, I didn’t really notice the cheese. This thing might’ve gotten by without it.

Despite all of these positive attributes, though, there was a pretty big negative -— the meat. While I’ve traditionally championed Wendy’s patties, this particular burger was dry and under-seasoned. Maybe I’ve had too many fantastic non-chain burgers lately, or maybe Wendy’s grill-master was having an off night. Either way, the bland meat puck took this sandwich down a notch or two. Even still, it’s worth a try if you’re looking for something a little different than most fast food offerings currently in the market. (Did you see the part about “candied bacon”? I rest my case.)

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 710 calories, 41 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1400 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 34 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich

Wendy s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich Full

It doesn’t get much better than a jalapeno popper with fried breading giving way to the heat of jalapeno and the perfect balance of cream cheese. While I’m a fan of the classic cream cheese version served with a side of ranch dressing, I also appreciate popular variations that add in cheddar cheese and bacon.

So when Wendy’s unveiled its new Jalapeno Popper Sandwich, it instantly had my attention. In addition to the choice of either grilled, classic, or spicy chicken breast, the sandwich is loaded with jalapeno cream cheese, shredded pepper jack cheese, jalapeno slices, applewood smoked bacon, and cheddar cheese sauce.

To my surprise, no actual jalapeno poppers were harmed in the making of this sandwich. While the flavors are all present, if your tongue, hand, face, and shirt are not all at risk of getting burned by spraying jalapeno juice or cream cheese napalm with each bite, does it really deserve the name “jalapeno popper”?

Wendy s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich Top

I was somewhat in disbelief when I opened my sandwich to find only three jalapeno slices, especially since Wendy’s has specifically mentioned that the sandwich comes with six jalapeno slices. Wendy’s also promised I would be exclaiming, “Oh, jal, yes!” from the first bite, but my first bite did not even contain jalapeno, so I was luckily able to remain composed and exclamation free. Its jalapeno slices are crunchier and spicier than most fast food places, so when I did reach them in the sandwich, they brought a strong burst of flavor and heat.

The cream cheese spread on the top bun contains a few small jalapeno pieces and gives a slightly sweet, slightly tangy flavor that dominates the sandwich. Wendy’s would be better served by adding more of the cream cheese spread in place of the shredded pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese sauce which are dominated and forgotten by stronger flavors.

Wendy s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich Split

The three bacon slices were thick and crunchy while adding a slight smokiness that works beautifully with the jalapeno and cream cheese. The spicy chicken was juicy with the spices in the breading occasionally coming through in an already flavor packed sandwich.

The overall heat of the sandwich built up to a noticeable but not noteworthy amount by the end. Shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese work only to muddle the flavors, the amount of jalapeno slices needs to live up to its promise, and the size of the sandwich seems small for the price. But the jalapeno cream cheese spread is a winner that enhanced many of the other components of the sandwich and will keep you craving that next bite.

Purchased Price: $6.49 (small combo is $8.99)
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 600 calories, 26 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1660 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 37 grams of protein.

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