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.

FullSizeRender (5)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.

IMG_5148

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.

IMG_5150I 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.

IMG_5153You 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.IMG_5155A 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.

Taste: 4.50/10
Value: 2.75/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.25/10
Price: $4.99

Overall GrubGrade: 4.25/10

More Info: bk.com
Nutrition Facts:
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

40 comments on “Review: A.1. Halloween Whopper from Burger King

  1. Manavee says:

    Agreed on the bun. My thought was that if you blindfolded and fed me this Whopper I would have no idea that there was anything special about the bun at all.

  2. Sophie says:

    It’s like that episode of SpongeBob, when they made Krabby Patties in different colors.

  3. Jonathan Wayne says:

    I was going to try it today but thankfully someone else did and saved me the trouble. I’ll pass on it now, it’s not the real deal anyway.

    • SPM79 says:

      If they were pricing them similar to the 10 piece nuggets you would be all over this like flies on a dead squirrel.

      • Jonathan Wayne says:

        Hmm, $1.50 is 70% less than $5, so yeah, pretty much anyone would be. Math and commonsense. Duh

        • SPM79 says:

          So according to your logic, if something is low quality and you perceive it as being crap, it can still be eaten for the right price? I would venture to say that you are well over 300 lbs.

  4. Snackeroo says:

    That sliced black bun seriously looks like some chocolate cake with sesame seed topping.

  5. Justin ST says:

    Anyone else get blue/green poop after eating this? Yeah, I’ll never touch this again. That can’t be healthy.

  6. WTF says:

    Ryan, you don’t always have to take one for the team.

    Sometimes you just need to pass go.

    BK has been horrible for years, decades in fact.

    Black buns? How could anyone want to eat one.

    A1 never belonged on a steak, much less a burger. The fact you wanted more pretty much summed it up.

    Maybe you should send me your email and I’ll give you a gift card to someplace that has edible food.

    • Raiders757 says:

      i to have to agree with everything you said other than A1 not belonging on a hamburger. Steak, oh hell no, but just like Heinz 57 Sauce, A1 takes burgers to whole new plane of existence. Baste it on both sides while it’s on the charcoal grill right before you put the cheese on, then serve up with some crispy onions straws on a lightly toasted bun. Darn good eats.

      • Jay says:

        You forgot the mayo

        • Raiders757 says:

          Mayo doesn’t belong anywhere near beef of any kind. That is pure blasphemy.

          …and why is there any need to add that vile stuff to something that already has a condiment on it? All it does is add fat and ruin the flavor. Even if you like the stuff, it is pointless to ad it to burgers with BBQ sauce , A1, or 57 Sauce. Heck it’s even pointless to add it to a burger that already has ketchup and mustard on it. Even worse, a mayo based sauce, or mayo, on a sub that already has a vinaigrette applied. that’s almost like adding lard on top of bacon just for the sake of adding more fat to your morning breakfast biscuit.

          • MP says:

            Or ketchup on a hot dog. Personally I find ketchup the most vile, disgusting thing there is. Sticky, sickly sugary vinegar bloody red paste that has no flavor resemblance to tomato, and is basically child crack. Put ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago & you’ll get read the Riot Act.
            Now mayo? I love it. I mix it with ketchup (ironically) sweet relish & onion powder & make Thousand Island, or Frank’s Red Hot sauce to make Buffalo sauce with it. Also dip my fries, potato chips, fish, chicken & burgers (especially White Castle sliders) in mayo. Mayo is a great base & it’s good on its own, and provides nice texture & bulk. Light mayo has the same flavor & texture as full-fat mayo but 1/3rd of the calories. I don’t see anything wrong (or different) than applying mayo, Thousand Island, Frisco Sauce, Buffalo Sauce, ranch dressing or BBQ sauce on a burger.
            Are you going to tell me I can’t put mayo on a burger, or am I going to tell you not to put ketchup on a hot dog (or sausage)? Do you support freedom, or no? If you owned a restaurant, would you kick people out for ordering mayo on a burger? In the end, nobody is going to tell me how to eat my food. Give me mayo liberty or give me death!

  7. T.A. says:

    I think it says everything that one of the few pros is the wrapper.

  8. Rusty Shackleford says:

    hah, I sort of liked the mystery smokiness flavor of the bun; it was pretty strong on my burger. But yeah, no way the sandwich alone was worth 5 freaking bucks.

  9. Brian says:

    I wonder if the one in Japan was any different/better? This could not be good either way due to the amount of coloring in that bun.

  10. Technosquid says:

    The Japanese version used squid ink to color the bun. I doubt the American version uses it.

  11. Dank meme bro says:

    That iceberg is cringe worthy, good lettuce isn’t as expensive as people think, I don’t see why for 5 bucks I get ANYTHING else.

  12. Sylvia says:

    I guess using an actual japanese inspired squid ink bun (I get one from a local Asian bakery that’s outst ) which is naturally coloured and has actual flavour to it is way more than I can expect from BK. But would at least the A1 flavour being there be too much to ask?

  13. Jomby says:

    Just had one for lunch. I asked the TM at the DT how they were selling – he said …okay. then asked me to please let him know how I liked mine the next time through. The sandwich was well made – they took some care this time – no smashing of the sandwich when wrapping, no half on / half off cheese slice. I thought the visual impact with unwrapping and taking the first bite was pretty cool.

    Then reality hits – bun was kinda dry (maybe not selling all that well?). Eyes closed as someone above said – and you could not tell much difference between this and a regular Whopper. And the price, for almost $5 for the sandwich alone, I won’t be back for another. Still I congratulate the BK folks for the bit of bravery it took to put this out there as a LTO.

  14. Mark says:

    I though the wrapper and black bun was pretty cool! It tasted good to me …Blue poop..no mine was not. It has to be urban legend.

  15. Dan says:

    Yea i just had fluorescent blue green diarrhea the day agter eating this. NEVER again. its no urbam legand.

    • rodney says:

      Well, it’s settled, now I have to try it and see what my poop looks like. I will try it this weekend and report back.

      • rodney says:

        Ok, I had one of these for dinner on Friday night, the verdict, there is some truth to it, but like a lot of things online, a bit overstated. I did notice a blue/greenish hue, but not fluorescent, I’m not sure I would have noticed if I wasn’t on the lookout for it.

        As for the burger itself, I liked it, the bun had a softer texture which I liked. I’m not sure I noticed any discernible A1 flavor in the bun itself, but the whole thing was slathered with A1 sauce (which was tasty on the burger), so who knows. If it was priced lower, I would probably have it again, but it is a bit expensive for a Whopper.

    • Mr.Gnarly says:

      Grape Gatorade will do the same. No big deal unless you show it off.

  16. Leelee Phoenix says:

    There’s really no difference between this and a regular whopper besides A1 instead of ketchup and a slice of cheese. Thus, the $5 price is silly. Regular whoppers are $4 (and B1G1 coupons take no effort to find).

  17. Tim says:

    No sign of the Halloween Whopper here in our only store in Center City. Lame. This is the same place that gouged us for $4 double cheeseburgers during the Papal visit.

  18. […] angrier when the new Angriest Whopper hits restaurants on Thursday, March 31st.  BK introduced a Whopper with a black bun last fall and this time it’s a red […]

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