Wendy’s Baconator: I’ll NOT Be Back…By Todd • Sep 1st, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog
By all rights, I should absolutely adore the Baconator from Wendy’s. Two quarter-pound patties (“Fresh, never frozen,” like the ad says), 2 slices of American cheese, six strips of hickory-smoked bacon, and a so-bad-it’s-kinda-clever-in-that-hokey-B-movie-kind-of-way name. I mean, look at this thing as it’s pictured on the menu:
The Baconator should be the best fast-food cheeseburger on the planet. But it’s just not.
I first tried the Baconator when Wendy’s introduced it in summer ’07, under less-than-ideal circumstances. I grabbed it to go on a road trip: not the best way to test-drive a new cheeseburger and savor its subtle nuances, I know. But I did it anyway, and when I was done, what totally overwhelmed any impressions of taste was the extreme mess. Sky-high slop factor. The Baconator is simply a bad burger to eat behind the wheel.
The incident must have scarred me, because I went until yesterday without a repeat performance. It’s still around after 2 years, something surprisingly few fast-food menu items can say. So they must be doing something right. Right??? I breezed through the drive-thru, ordered up a Baconator, and took it home for a proper sampling. This is what I pulled out of the bag:
Not quite the same as the first picture, huh? Now, I’m not under any illusions; I know that those menu pictures are more Photoshopped than Miss September. But c’mon. That’s not even close.
Not a feast for the eyes, to be sure. But now I also smelled something fishy. Make that “ketchuppy.” I peeled back the bun and gazed at this:
That’s presumably six strips of bacon, but who could tell with the flood of ketchup and mayonnaise it was swimming in? I’m admittedly not a condiment guy, and I know that puts me in the minority. But why can’t fast-food joints serve all burgers condiment-free? If I want ketchup, mustard, mayo… throw in the little packets and let me dress it up myself. If you want the kid behind the counter to do it to save you those 8 seconds, you should be able to ask for it, by all means. But I can never remember which burgers from which place are served with which condiments. And because of that, now I was stuck with a soggy mess. The bun actually tore in half after one lift-and-peek because it was so saturated… after only 6 minutes in the car.
The bacon was terrible, as blasphemous as that sounds. But if your burger is called The Baconator, you’d better have some damn fine pork product as the centerpiece. This was six (maybe?) pieces of that limp, chewy stuff that comes out of a microwave. The kind where you’re pulling whole strips out of the burger because you can’t bite through it cleanly.
It’s too bad, because Wendy’s generally does a fine burger. Go back and check out mine fresh from the bag; that’s nice-looking beef and cheese. But the heavy-handed condiments, the terrible bun, and woefully weak bacon make the Baconator a disaster.
I will not eat it in my truck. I will not eat it; it does suck.
I must not be the only one who thinks so. There’s news now that Wendy’s will introduce a new “premium bacon cheeseburger.” According to CEO Raymond Smith, this one will have “juicier beef,” an “improved” bun, and “bacon cooked from scratch.” He means “freshly-cooked” bacon, but I won’t argue if he just delivers bacon that actually tastes like bacon. I hope the new burger really has all of those things, so we can all tell the Baconator, “Hasta la vista, baby.”