Fast Food Review: NEW! Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus Burger from McDonald’s
For those of you who aren’t aware, McDonald’s recently launched oatmeal nationwide in an effort to help you live a longer and healthier life. Thanks to the company’s impending launch of the new Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus Burger, McDonald’s has every intention of completely canceling out whatever health benefits their oatmeal may hold, and getting back to the good old American business of killing you slowly.
I know Ryan posted that a full review of the newest member of the Angus club would be coming shortly after its February 1st national launch, but I got a sneak peak of the Angus burger at my local McDonald’s, and decided to check it out for myself (See Ryan’s past reviews of the Angus Burgers here). For starters, I guess we should define what it is.
The newest Angus burger features a 1/3rd pound Angus beef patty nestled between two slices of American cheese, bacon, and chipotle barbecue sauce. Red onions and pickles top off this behemoth, which is served on a “premium” sesame seed bun. While Bobby Flay has made “chipotle” a household word for culinary enthusiasts across the country, its wide range of uses has obscured much of the flavor associated with the smoked, dried jalapeno, so much that it’s almost become synonymous with barbecue and American flavor profiles. Would McDonald’s latest burger prove otherwise?
In short: No. The newest Angus burger, just like its brethren, retails at $3.99 for just the sandwich and $5.99 in meal form (a Snack Wrap priced at $1.99 is also available). Right out of its container, it sits sort of awkwardly before you. The processed American cheese is not even close to fully melted, while the red onion dangled loosely out of the bun/burger complex. As far as the “good” aspects of the burger are concerned, I think you start with the beef. It’s almost a joke that Burger King should advertise the superiority of the Whopper based on it’s “never fried” and non-greasy taste, because the Angus patty McDonald’s serves up has a pleasant and mostly clean beef flavor, with a hint of sweetness without the grease. It’s size, too, gives it an advantage over most hamburgers, and the crispness of the onions and (eventually) melted goo of the cheese provide a nice sweet and salty foil to the savory meatiness of the burger. That being said, eating a chunk of the meat on it’s own reveals a slightly bland flavor.
But fast food hamburgers are, by nature, sort of bland as it is. So what do you do? Spice it up, of course. But herein lays the problem. In short, there are just too many flavors on this burger, and none of them are authentic enough to do justice to what McDonald’s is trying to do here. The Chipotle BBQ sauce packs almost no heat whatsoever. Traditionally, a chipotle may not be the hottest pepper on the Scoville Scale, but it shouldn’t be devoid of heat – as this burger almost certainly was. The predominant flavor of the sauce was actually a misplaced, honey like sweetness that held strong notes of an artificial smoke flavor. I can deal with fake smoke, but in combination with an overly sweet honey flavor, all it really managed to do was subvert the flavor of the beef. It also did not mesh well with the two slices of cheese, which in and of themselves lend too much salt to the entire mess, further obscuring the Angus beef.
The pickles, you ask? They seemed worthless in the grand scheme. They looked nice with their crinkle cut, but they weren’t sweet or tangy enough to lend anything to an otherwise overly complicated burger. But by far the worst element of the burger is the bacon. Putting plain, fast food style bacon – limp, greasy, and lacking any kind of spice or authentic smoke flavor – on this kind of meat should be illegal. I found it so off-putting I even needed to remove it from my burger. Finally, while the bun looks nice and gets a “premium” label, it’s nothing to write home about. “Standard” would be an apt description, like the kind of generic wonder bread bun you’d get in say, your college’s dining hall.
GrubGrade readers will know I am something of a burger minimalist, but I approached this burger with quite a bit of excitement, as well as a very open mind. In the end, however, I was left disappointed. The best part of the newest Angus Burger is the meat, but even it isn’t a match for Arctic Circle’s Black Angus burgers, which are more full bodied and bolder in flavor, and have a better crust and clean finish. But above all, the meat in the Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus Burger doesn’t even get a chance to shine because it’s overloaded with condiments and half-hearted flavors that just can’t do justice to the ingredients they profess to represent. Conceptually, this is a burger above the realm of fast food, and while McDonald’s has obscured the line between fast food and fast casual in recent years, it’s just not the genuine article. But at $3.99, should it be? Probably not, but at the end of the day it couldn’t prevent the text to my friend and McDonald’s enthusiast Chris Ladner:
Just had the new Angus burger, I wrote Chris. 1000 calories of mediocrity.
Pros: Angus Burger patty is thick and hearty, and displays some exterior browning and residual juiciness. Cheese melts evenly after a few minutes, and lends a nice level of gooeyness to the meat. Portions sizes aren't skimpy, and produce is, for the most part, fresh looking. Well assembled and decently priced for a bigger fast food burger.
Cons: Too many bells and whistles. No semblance of heat from "Chipotle" BBQ sauce, which tastes too much like a honey sauce. Weird and off-putting salty-smokey flavor that doesn't carry any depth. Kind of a like an out of tune teenage rock band in your mouth.
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.00/10
Overall GrubGrade: 5.25 (Average
Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus Burger (Pending)