This week, I reached out for a new Bacon Jalapeño Cheeseburger, the latest addition to the Made to Crave lineup at the No. 3 burger baron, Wendy’s, with 6,500 restaurants across, up, and down America.
Wendy’s has been driving fast food’s bacon bandwagon for years, claiming the top rung years ago with its over-the-top Baconator. The spicy Bacon Jalapeño Cheeseburger is Wendy's latest throwdown in the bacon wars.
Here’s the Bacon Jalapeño Cheeseburger breakdown: quarter-pound of fresh, never-frozen North American beef, pickled jalapeños, Applewood-smoked bacon, crispy fried onions, warm cheese sauce, and smoky jalapeño sauce on a toasted bun. Whew! If you think saying all that is a mouthful, wait till you try to bite into this monster.
Total calories: 750. Fat grams: 49. Sodium: 1,650 mg. Carbs: 44 g. Dietary fiber: 2 g. Protein: 36 g. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $5.29. The Double Bacon Jalapeño Cheeseburger is a dollar more. The Triple, two bucks on top.
This is one of those mile-high burgers where you almost need to order a double to taste the beef. Between the bacon, fried onions, and gooey cheese sauce, there’s a whole lot of flavor between the bun. Then Wendy’s has jalapeños coming and going with pickled peppers and kicking sauce. It's a busy burger.
Typical Wendy’s, this burger has freshness all over it. It’s a bundle for $5.29. Unfortunately quality ain’t cheap.
Meanwhile, the big buzz at Wendy’s has nothing to do with its new spicy burger. A Twitter spitball fight recently broke out between Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, and the new chicken sandwich gunslinger in town: Popeyes.
With tweets only rivaled for silliness by the Twitter war between Patton Oswalt and John Tesh (yeah, that really happened), the three drive-through chains went back and forth with snarky brags about their chicken sandwiches.
While Popeyes’ chicken sandwich is new around the rest of the country, it’s been available in Houston for several months. So we have a unique perch from which to judge the chicken sandwich battle. If the rest of the country wonders if Popeyes’ new sandwich will put a dent in Chick-fil-A’s sales, the answer is no. There’s still a traffic jam in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru.
As for quality, there’s really no comparison, either. Chick-fil-A’s Original sandwich is lightly breaded and no-frills. It's the unchallenged king. Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich are very crispy with thick breading. They’re both pretty darn tasty, so I’ll call the race for second place too close to call.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.