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» BK XT: OMG!
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BK XT: OMG!

By • Mar 22nd, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog

Back in October of last year, we told you about Burger King’s efforts to step up the burger experience for hungry customers with a restaurant redesign for its 12,000 locations.  Part of that revamp was to include shiny new “flexible batch broilers” that would allow BK kitchens to crank out extra-thick burgers, grilled chicken and fish sammies, stuffed cheeseburgers, real flame-kissed s’mores, even bone-in ribs!

Well, the rollout has started, with most BKs already offering their new Steakhouse XT Burgers:

Standing for “extra-thick,” the XT designation makes it look like a pickup truck model when spelled out on the menu, and isn’t even close to rolling off the tongue at the drive-thru.  But I’m always intrigued by the promise of a better fast-food cheebie, so I visited my local BK recently for a test drive.

There’s the Steakhouse XT, with 7 ounces of beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, and mayo, all under the King’s new cornmeal-dusted bakery bun.  There’s the A.1.Steakhouse XT, which adds American cheese, fries the onions to a crisp, and replaces the ketchup with the namesake steak sauce.  I opted for the Smoky Cheddar Steakhouse XT.  At $4.76, it was topped with BBQ sauce, 2 slices of cheddar, 4 bacon strips, lettuce and tomato.  I knew before it was even out of the bag that this was something different.  This was a heavy burger.

For those of you who keep score of such things, that 7-ounce patty makes the XT significantly beefier than both McDonald’s Angus Third Pounder and Hardee’s Thickburger.  Something like 30% beefier.  And this XT had something I’ve never experienced with a fast-food burg before.  There was a noticeable smokiness to it.  And I don’t mean the taste.  I’m saying that on the ride home, I smelled smoke to the point that I looked around to see if a nearby driver was puffing on a cigarette.

Visually, out of the wrapper, I’m not sure this heavy-duty hamburger wins any beauty contests.  It’s the cheese that makes you do a double take.  I know it’s cheddar.  I reminded myself that it was cheddar.  But that hue of not-really-melted orange just looks strange peeking out from under a bun.

First bite impressions: the BBQ sauce hits you hard.  I have yet to eat a burger topped with BBQ sauce where this wasn’t the case.  It just comes with the territory of a BBQ burger; it’s going to be overpowering.  (Not a bad sauce here, but I’ll be more interested in trying it on the fire-grilled ribs that BK will supposedly be offering up before long.The good news is that with 7 ounces of beef, there’s enough burger under there to fight back. The thickness of that patty really shines through and leaves you with a very satisfied “mouth feel,” as the fancypants food critics like to say.  The bad news is that with so much beef, I forgot that this burger had bacon on it, too.  It got kind of lost in the corner of this sandwich.  And you know how I feel about that.  Nobody puts bacon in a corner.

All in all, though, the Steakhouse XT is a more-than-worthy (but-perhaps-unphotogenic) newcomer to the fast-foot burger landscape.  But this one is also a short-timer; the Smoky Cheddar variety is going away at the end of March.  My guess is, it will be replaced by another limited-time-only XT creation as BK keeps playing with its new kitchen toy, luring patrons in with a rotating list of flame-grilled, that-came-from-a-fast-food-joint? menu items.  And that’s something cheeseburger chowhounds can get fired up about.

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