This week, I reached out for a new Bacon Smokehouse Burger, the latest addition to the la-di-da Signature Crafted Recipes Collection at McDonald's, with more than 14,000 restaurants across the old U.S. of A.
Signature? Exactly how much is Ronald McDonald's autograph worth these days?
Here's the Bacon Smokehouse Burger breakdown: a quarter-pound beef patty, Applewood-smoked bacon, real white Cheddar cheese, smoky bacon-onion sauce, mild mustard sauce and fried onion strings on a fluffy bun.
Total calories: 840. Fat grams: 45. Sodium: 1,580 mg. Carbs: 45 g. Dietary fiber: 2 g. Protein: 46 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $5.19 or thereabouts.
Like any burger, the bottom line — and layer — is the meat, and the Bacon Smokehouse comes with McDonald's fresh, never-frozen quarter-pound beef patty. You may have heard that McDonald's uses fresh beef in its more exquisite burgers now — it's all they can talk about every 15 minutes on TV. Hey, when Charles Barkley brags about a burger, there's a good chance he's speaking from experience. Lots of experience.
Because McDonald's cooks its big burgers to order on a flat iron grill, they do arrive on your tray or through the drive-through window hotter and juicier than in warm, holding tray days gone by.
The Bacon Smokehouse is gussied up with a mountain of accessories. The onion strings are breaded and deep-fried in each store. It's curious, to say the least, how all the burger big boys are slapping French fried onions on their sandwiches lately. It's like watching TV at 6 pm, all the local news stations are doing weather at the same time, sports at the same time, ending with a goofy joke at the same time. It's collusion. Where's Robert Mueller on this? It's time to flip a witness ... and some burgers.
The Bacon Smokehouse has two sauces, bacon-onion and sweet mustard, which is totally unnecessary and only increases the cone of glop uncertainty. I'd lose the sweet mustard, which brings forward the smoky essence of the bacon-onion schmear.
I love when McDonald's boasts, "Real white Cheddar!" It's like that scene from National Lampoon's Vacation where Clark Griswold asks Cousin Eddie ... "real tomato ketchup?"
"Nothing but the best."
Bottom line: The Bacon Smokehouse is a mighty, heavy-duty McDonald's burger with all of McDonald's flair and heft. I liked it a lot.
The Bacon Smokehouse also is available in Buttermilk Crispy Chicken and Artisan Grilled Chicken versions.
Ken Hoffman reviews popular fast food restaurant items. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know in the comments or on Twitter.