The ever-loveble, scrappy up-and-comer in the food industry, underground craft burger favorite, McDonald’s, has rolled out some new burgers as a part of the ‘Dollar Menu and More’ line, which I aptly noticed while huffing and puffing away at the gym, the treadmill still spinning as I leapt off and headed for the golden arches. Take that, cholesterol!
The new line splits the section into two parts – ‘Dollar Menu’ featuring items for a dollar or less, and ‘More,’ with selections for slightly over a dollar. Don’t tell me you didn’t see that coming. McDonald’s is burger heavy this quarter, not only releasing three new Quarter Pounders (tantalizingly hidden behind a ‘new product coming soon!’ graphic on the menu) but adding three riffs off the McDouble and McChicken to the ‘More’ section. Pricing-wise, the premium McDoubles will cost you $1.79, while the originals are still only a buck. The Southwest McDouble, Swiss and Dijon McDouble, and Bacon Buffalo McChicken were the ones we tried last night, at midnight, along with an unspecified number of McDoubles as palate cleansers. I told The Bedfellow I wouldn’t divulge this information, but we ate no less than five burgers after we’d eaten dinner. No shame.
We started with the Bacon Buffalo McChicken, which was immediately decreed as “so dangerous,” as it offers the flavor and heat of a buffalo chicken wrap for only a dollar, if you forego the bacon. It’s your standard McChicken patty, but is downright lubricated with ranch and buffalo sauce. And…no bacon. Originally, I thought this was supposed to be a cost-cutting measure and that the ‘bacon’ would be in the ranch sauce as a flavoring, but it seems it was omitted. I can vouch that the flavor of the buffalo sauce is no different than that of the sauce for the premium Chicken Selects or McNuggets, but is tasty on a sandwich, too. That being said, it’s extremely messy and the chicken loses its crisp quickly. Would it be improved with bacon? Doubtedly, as the McChicken is pretty rich on its own.
The Swiss and Dijon McDouble was arguably the best of the new releases, but still needs improvement. It has a decent balance of acidic elements to counter the richness of the cheeseburger, but only contained a single pickle. A pity, as the bites with pickle were the tastiest. The mustard, while strong for an American palate, does put shame to the fine Dijon mustard of France, and is not up to snuff. Spicy brown mustard has more of a kick than this does. However, as a mustard sauce, it’s recognizable and simplistic in flavor, unmuddled by the other elements of the sandwich. Onions would be a good addition here.
The final burger was a trainwreck and tasted like something I’d have come with in the sixth grade before either of my parents got home from work. McDonald’s has taken a page from last year’s Taco Bell crib notes and has incorporated Doritos shards into their burger. These taste nearly identical to those found in the Beefy Crunch Burrito, perhaps a little spicier, and are combined with white cheddar cheese and a Southwestern sauce atop two burger patties. The flavor is pretty awful. Monolithic, greasy, and devoid of any heat or spice. While I applaud the idea of a Southwestern burger- McDonald’s has always been a little late to the game as far as spiciness is concerned, these elements would be better off in a larger burger with lettuce and tomato, or even salsa. Here, they felt haphazard and cheap.
The new Dollar Menu is novel and expands the variety a simple buck can buy you, but when all else fails, there’s nothing like a classic.
As much as we enjoyed working our way through the burgers in the middle of the night, the McDouble still reigned supreme in our souls and arteries.