This week, I reached out for a S'Awesome Bacon Classic Burger, the latest brainstorm from the No. 3 burger slinger, Wendy's, with 6,600 restaurants 'cross the U.S. and 'round the world.
This isn't so much a new burger as repurposing Wendy's proprietary S'Awesome sauce, a smoky-sweet-tangy concoction which was introduced last year as a dipping condiment for chicken tenders.
Here's the S'Awesome Bacon Classic Burger breakdown: a grilled quarter-pound beef patty, melted American cheese, three strips of thick Applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, raw sweet onion, and crinkle-cut pickles on a toasted bun. Oh, and the eponymous (great word) slather of S'Awesome sauce. Missing in action: the old standby tomato slice. I think somebody at Wendy's failed to make a shopping list. I always forget something at the supermarket, too.
Total calories: Fat grams: 40. Sodium: 1,390 mg. Carbs: 40 g. Dietary fiber: 3 g. Protein: 34 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $4.99.
Wendy's also has a Double S'Awesome Bacon Classic, 890 calories and 57 fat grams, plus a Triple S'Awesome Classic, 1,170 calories, and 78 fat grams.
Burgers are Wendy's thing, certainly what the Dublin, Ohio-based chain hangs its hat on. Their signature square patties are made from fresh, never-frozen North American beef. The Applewood-smoked bacon is thicker than most fast food joints. The veggie toppings and condiments are first-rate. So the S'Awesome Bacon Classic distinction is the sauce. Wendy's doesn't mind revealing what goes into S'Awesome sauce: ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, honey mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
But how much of each? That Wendy's ain't saying.
The result is a heavy-duty, fill'er-up, mighty burger with lots of beef 'n' bacon, and a different kind of sauce that keeps your taste buds popping. This is good stuff, all right.
Now for a language lesson. Where was the phrase "Awesome Sauce," an exclamation means spectacular or super-cool, first used? No, it wasn't a recent commercial for the Discover card. We have to go back to the June 2, 2003 episode of Homestar Runner, an animated series on the Internet. One feature of the show has a character named Strong Bad answering viewer emails. He reacted to one missive by exclaiming "Awesome Sauce!"
And pop culture lingo — turned fast food condiment — was born.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.