The King Feels Moderately Royal

Burger King Basic Selections

I did an article on my recent visit to McDonald's, and as such it only felt fair that, after finally getting to Burger King, I should give the fast food joint their fair due. I went on a weekday when, this time, no one was there and the drive through orders weren’t getting messed up. As such, with only minimal fuss I was able to grab an order of food for myself and my wife and get back out without having to deal with too many people. The less I can socially interact with people the better.

Here, then, are my thoughts on the offerings I grabbed from Burger King this time around:

2 for $10 Whopper Jr. Meals

I won’t lie, I’m a big fan of the Whopper Jr. I think it’s the perfect burger from Burger King: a small version of their famous sandwich, giving the right amount of food without overfilling, with all the toppings of the bigger boy. It’s a Whopper at just the right size for me to feel like I’m not a giant pig. There is nothing wrong with that. When I saw that Burger King was offering a 2 for $10 meal deal, with two Whopper Jrs. (with your choice of additional toppings), two small fries, and two small drinks, I thought this was the perfect way to get meals. I frankly don’t need a ton of fries or a big drink. I just want a little of everything so I can enjoy my fast food and not come out a greasy mess.

The nice bonus in the meal is that you can get your choice of which kind of Whopper Jr. you want for each sandwich. There’s the usual choices of the standard Whopper toppings, with or without cheese. Then you can also add on Bacon and BBQ sauce, which are usually selections Burger King holds aside for special Whopper editions. I hadn’t actually had any of these on a Whopper before since they don’t normally extend to the Whopper Jr. varieties. Needless to say, this was something I was looking forward to (as much as anyone can look forward to anything from Burger King, that is).

And, legitimately, it was pretty darn good. I got the Bacon, Cheese, and BBQ Whopper Jr. (while my wife got the traditional, no cheese) and I found it, overall, to be a satisfying sandwich. I don’t know that the bacon on its own really added much, other than extra salt to an already salty sandwich, but it was the BBQ that really brought it together. Sweet and tangy, it accented the standard Whopper flavor and made for a fun and delicious mini-burger that didn’t overstay its welcome. Just the right portion of all the flavors to be satisfying.

Oh yeah, and my wife liked her sandwich, which makes sense since the traditional Whopper is a solid burger option. There’s a reason it’s the main entree item at Burger King (right up there with the Big Mac at McDonald's or Wendy's and their Baconator).


Since we got the meals I could also sample the other parts of the meal experience and, I have to say, I really hate Burger King’s fries. They are the least interesting fry on the fast food market. Burger King renovated their fries around the time I was in college, moving to something crustier and faker feeling, a fry that feels like it went through the industrial extraction process. It has as little to do with a potato as just about anything on Burger King’s menu has to do with real food. It’s the pasteurized processed concept of a fry, not the real deal.

I think I would be fine with the crusty nature of Burger King’s fries if they tasted good at all, but they don’t. They’re weird, with this fake, salty flavor that doesn’t taste like potatoes at all. It’s odd, almost bitter in my mouth, like the industrial machines the fries were made on sucked all the flavor out of them and just left starch and salt behind. I hate them, so much, and I only get fries from Burger King when I’m stuck with a combo or I can pass them off to my wife (who actually enjoys them). I do not know why Burger King keeps serving these awful things.

Fiery Buffalo Nuggets

Speaking of nasty things, for some reason Burger King has unleashed the single worst spicy nugget I think I’ve ever had. In concept I love spicy chicken (I wrote three articles on the subject), and I was really hoping that these nuggets would be good. They weren’t. They were the opposite of good. They were so bad that I could even finish the small bag of them I got. They are the single worst spicy chicken thing I’ve ever had and, at this point, I don’t think I want to try any other spicy chicken offering Burger King unleashes.

Conceptually Burger King is going for the spicy boneless wing market. After all, which is a boneless wing but a chunky chicken nugget, right? And that would work if these had the texture and saucy consistency of boneless wings, but they don’t. These nuggets sit somewhere between a standard nugget and a sauced wing, finding a middle ground that isn’t appealing from either direction. The nuggets are somehow lightly coated in a sauce that makes them seem greasier than normal, making it feel like you’re eating nuggets dipped in spicy oil. It’s not appealing in the mouth.

Worse, they also have a nasty flavor, with this weird, sweet and sickly edge. I really have no clue what the thought process here was as this doesn’t taste fiery or like buffalo. It’s just nasty. Nuggets shouldn’t be sweet unless they’re tossed in a BBQ (or similar) sauce. That’s not the flavor advertised by these nuggets, and so they fail. Seriously, I had one and threw the rest out. The flavor was nasty.


Finally, this is just a little bit of a rant, but either Burger King or Coke themselves changed the offerings in the pick-and-mix soda dispensers. I used to love to get Raspberry Coke, which was a real flavor combo you could get in those machines. Raspberry is no longer available in the machines, replaced with some tropical mix, and it's not as good. The raspberry was a bright, berry flavor with subtly different notes from Cherry Coke, and the lack of it in machines is noticeable.

It’s weird, too, when you consider that Spiced Coke is now a thing and it’s a seasoned raspberry flavor. You would think Raspberry and Spiced would be in machines (like Cherry, Vanilla, and Cherry Vanilla mix) to play off this new, widely-available flavor. But around me, it’s not.

Meanwhile, they also got rid of Surge. I love Surge, it being a kind of Mountain Dew soda that doesn’t taste as nasty. I’m of the 1990s, and Surge was available in my high school, leading to me drinking far more of it than I probably should. It’s got a solid citrus flavor, without being cloying or sickly sweet. I liked it a lot and I’d get it when I was in the mood for not-Coke at these machines. Now both the flavors I liked are gone and I dunno what to do. What, am I going to go outside the box and get something like Grape Fanta?!

Actually, that does sound good. Okay, that’s a solid compromise.