Burgers Should Taste Better From a King
This is a disgusting story. I had my first Burger King hamburger (in this case it was a double cheeseburger) in a long long time.
Honestly I cannot remember the last time I have eaten beef at a McDonald’s or Burger King. I’m at McDonald’s more often that I would care to admit, driven largely by their omnipresence at highway rest stops and my mother-in-law’s unnatural love for their ice cream cones and sundaes. Occasionally I’ll pop into a Burger King when presented with limited options for one of their veggie burgers.
In college I remember eating burgers from the two big fast food titans, except in West Philly we called them Murder King and McDeath. Not because of the food they served, rather because of the shady neighborhood where they were located. Sometimes they were just too cheap to resist.
But they really fell off my radar when I adopted a New Year’s resolution while living out in California to only eat one burger a month. This was difficult because I love burgers. The key was to make every burger count, and to make every burger special. The big fast food chains just didn’t make the cut. Heck, In-N-Out Burger even maxed out at one time per year.
So it had been a long time. Then on Monday I found myself hungry, driving past a Burger King, and noticing the $1 Double Cheeseburger sale. My curiosity got the best of me. I pulled in the drive through and ordered that burger.
I was hoping for the best.
After all, fast food is designed to be delicious. They have the best food scientists in the world working on how to engineer a tasty beef patty, and have it be consistent day after day, state to state. How bad could it be?
Plus this was Burger King after all. It’s flame broiled or something like that, and I had a distant memory of actually preferring the BK burgers. This was going to be exciting. It might even be good.
When I unwrapped the sandwich from it’s paper wrapper, I was first greeted to a slick of grease. This was surprising. Sure burgers are fatty, it’s what makes them so good. But I had thought the flame broiling would lessen the grease factor, you know, since the burger isn’t being fried in additional fat.
But it’s just a little fat. It was more surprising than upsetting. And for those with even a little knowledge of the physiology of taste, fat equals flavor.
Except in this case, where it did not.
The only real flavor in this burger came from the condiments, which I blessed with every bite. I would say to myself, “Thank you, warm pickle, for giving me some kind of solid texture and cleansing acidity to counteract this mushy greasy pile of goo.” Regretably the pickles didn’t last terribly long, and then I was left only with the sweet and tangy ketchup and the vinegar kick of the yellow mustard for comfort.
There was something about the double cheeseburger (minus the pickles) that was just unsettling. The whole thing was very soft and unctuous. Biting into it, the patties didn’t offer any resistance. But as I chewed up my bite, the actual bits of meat from the patty proved surprisingly tough and chewy. Especially the one little very hard bit, which I presume was a small bit of bone. That and the one larger extra chewy bit, which I removed and identified as a piece of cartilage. It was really difficult to eat this without thinking about the pink slime at every chew.
As much as the burger didn’t taste like anything going down, it had an alarmingly strong and persistent aftertaste. And regardless what I tried to get rid of that flavor in my mouth and throat, nothing worked. It was a lingering and unpleasant reminder of what I just did to myself.
For my $1.08 (after all I still have to pay NY taxes even though I live in Albany) I received:
460 calories, 27g of fat, 13g of saturated fat, 80mg of cholesterol, 1g of trans fat and 990mg of sodium.
Or you could trust this other source that says:
540 calories, 31g of fat, 15g of saturated fat, 100mg of cholesterol, 1g of trans fat and 1,050mg of sodium.
I am glad that I did this. Now I won’t have to do it again for another ten years. That is, if the kingdom is able to hang on that long. Change is coming, and sprucing up the décor isn’t going to solve the problems this business is facing.