Review: A.1. Halloween Whopper from Burger King
When I first heard about burgers with black buns, it was likely on an episode of The Nosh Show and it was definitely not something available in the United States. Up until now, black buns have been something seen in Japan. In America, we don’t seem to get first dibs on the most exotic looking fast food products, but lately we’ve been playing catch up. The latest eye-catching novelty in American fast food is the new A.1. Halloween Whopper. With Halloween season approaching, Burger King is getting into the spirit of things with a Whopper sporting a black bun.
Burger King describes their new A.1. Halloween Whopper like this:
Introducing the A.1.® Halloween WHOPPER® Sandwich with A.1.® flavor baked into the black bun. The sandwich is a ¼ lb.* of savory flame-grilled beef topped with melted American cheese, ripe tomatoes, crisp iceberg lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, A.1.® Thick and Hearty Sauce, crunchy pickles, and sliced white onions on a soft sesame seed bun with A.1.®flavor baked into the bun.
I’ll admit, an ink-black sesame seed bun isn’t the most visually appealing bread. I’ll also admit that the A.1. Halloween Whopper was something I wasn’t overly excited about trying until I found out that the black bun is actually flavored with A.1. sauce. I can understand the appeal of unusual aesthetics drawing our eyes in, but if it’s food coloring and nothing else, your target audience has to be just the dim-witted. I’d like to think I’ve matured a little since my days of thinking the Black Jack Taco was “pretty cool idea” when it was just food coloring.
Who am I kidding? I’ve still retained enough of the child-like excitement to be a little interested in seeing one of these in person. It’s a little jarring at first and even a little jarring right after when I noticed the black specks in between my teeth were from bread. Putting aside the black bun for a moment, the A.1. Halloween Whopper is basically just your average, everyday Burger King Whopper sandwich with cheese and a little A.1. Thick and Hearty Sauce instead of the standard ketchup. You’re still getting the subpar clumps of iceberg lettuce, some sliced tomatoes and white onions that would even look out of place in an elementary school lunch line. The “savory flame-grilled beef” is an awesome way to describe a burger patty isn’t it? Too bad that there are countless times where I’ve found that if you get a BK burger with lettuce/tomato, it’s lukewarm. That’s a big reason why I generally stick to the smaller value menu burgers at BK… they’re warm. It’s like the smaller burgers actually get heated together (the cheese is melty and the rest of the ingredients are piping hot). The chunks of lettuce in Whoppers tend to separate and slide everything into a heaping mess you have to make adjustments to before eating.
I don’t mind the flavor of A.1. sauce and I’ve actually enjoyed it in some other burgers I’ve put together myself. The A.1. Thick and Hearty Sauce is a good choice for a burger because it sticks on well enough to be almost like the consistency of ketchup. It’s got a little spiced, vinegary tomato flavor, but it doesn’t pop enough to really stick out amongst the other ingredients. I’d have to say there just wasn’t enough of the sauce to give me a real A.1. flavor all around.
You might be thinking this A.1. flavor issue would be fixed by that A.1. flavor-infused black bun… you’d be incorrect if you were thinking that. I swear I tried to identify the A.1. flavor in the bun and got nothing. I actually started sampling just the bun before tasting any other ingredient and didn’t get any noticeable A.1. flavor. There is a muted hint of smoky aftertaste that I could really only distinguish because I wasn’t getting that obvious bleached wheat flour taste. All in all though, I didn’t get a significant enough flavor to identify what flavor this was supposed to be. I find it hard to believe that something like this was tested and approved with a final, “yes! we nailed it” type of attitude.A price of $4.99 is asking a lot for a fast food item and some places can really give you a lot of bang for your buck. Burger King priced the A.1. Halloween Whopper thinking it can hang with the other restaurants offering “premium” entrees at a premium price. BK can’t even get close to the quality of a big Arby’s sandwich or an overly filling combo box from Popeyes. The best part of the A.1. Halloween Whopper was the cool, mummy wrapper in came in. Buy the A.1. Halloween Whopper for a quick glimpse of a black novelty bun and curse yourself after you’re done with it.
Pros: Thick and Hearty A.1. sauce has a good consistency for a burger topping, just wish there was some more of it. Mummy wrapper.
Cons: The black bun is supposedly flavored. Subpar burger at a premium price.
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.25/10
Overall GrubGrade: 4.25/10
More Info: bk.com
Calories - 710
Total Fat - 43 grams
Saturated Fat - 15 grams
Carbs - 52 grams
Cholesterol - 105 milligrams
Sodium - 1530 milligrams
Sugars - 13 grams
Protein - 31 grams