In search of the best bacon cheeseburger the big burger chains have to offer, I went on a midday quest through Manhattan’s Financial District and brought back three sandwiches to the office: McDonald’s Bacon Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Burger King’s Stacker King, and Wendy’s S’awesome Bacon Cheeseburger.
The best of the bunch? The Golden Arches does it again.
Read on to find out how.
Bun, beef, bacon, cheese. Long ago, the four elements lived together in peace. But everything changed when they were brought to Business Insider’s office. Now, three must enter. Only one may leave.
MCDONALD’S — BACON QUARTER POUNDER WITH CHEESE, $US7.49 — Our first contender recently received a major level-up in the form of fresh beef and was added to the permanent menu this year after a bacon-focused promotion ended.
It’s a gourmet sesame brioche bun with a quarter pound of fresh, never frozen beef, two slices of melted-ish American cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup, and, of course, bacon.
Don’t be fooled by its polished appearance. Underneath this well-groomed exterior is a beefy beast waiting for the chance to jump into action.
And by action, I mean my mouth. The quarter pounder makes for a hearty bite. The bacon is crispy and fresh, the bun is smooth, soft, and flavorful.
It has all the fixings of a burger except the lettuce and tomato, which is fine, because who eats a bacon cheeseburger for the lettuce?
The cheese was underwhelming, but I didn’t mind too much, because there were other more interesting things on this burger and in it. It also didn’t sit too heavy in my stomach. The onions provided a light kick.
BURGER KING — STACKER KING, $US8.29 — This big boy hails from the kingdom of the Whopper, but make no mistake, he is no Whopper. Who has ever heard of a Stacker King?
A wide and flat sesame bun, a flame-grilled quarter-pound beef patty, melted cheese, some bacon, and Stacker sauce, this one hates veggies and is proud of it.
Unlike whiskey, this burger doesn’t get better with age. It’s a bit of a tough chew, and that flame-grilled taste is almost bitter.
But the Stacker sauce really gives it a lovely, smokey taste that’s undeniably good.
However, the bacon is chewy and overcooked, almost like it was baked. The plasticky cheese doesn’t do the meat any favours, either.
It’s the smokey and memorable Stacker sauce that saves this burger from falling completely flat.
WENDY’S — S’AWESOME BACON CHEESEBURGER, $US6.49 — The S’Awesome Bacon Cheeseburger thinks it’s pretty great. I had a question right off the bat: where’s the bacon?
Oh, there it is. Inside its shiny little brioche bun, it’s got a square fresh beef patty, a square slice of cheese, some bacon cooked to varying degrees, and a large slab of lettuce.
Remember what I said about no one buying a bacon cheeseburger for the lettuce? Apparently, Wendy’s didn’t get the memo.
The S’awesome sauce tastes like an odd mixture of thousand island and Italian dressing. It also reminded me of the spicy mayo you get on some sushi. The beef is satisfactory and the pickles add a noticeably tart flavour note.
However, the bacon is brown and crispy — definitely burnt. Mostly, it’s uneven. And the bland bun doesn’t do this sandwich any favours, either.
However, Wendy’s burger wins out in the cheese department. Its cheese is pungent, flavorful, and not quite as plasticky as the others.
After crumbs fell and flesh was parted from flesh, the battle was finally over. And the winner rose from the trenches.
None of the contestants left the arena whole. All of them put up a good fight. After all, adding bacon to beef rarely makes a burger taste worse. However, there could only be one victor.
Sometimes, you should judge a burger by its bun. And the McDonald’s burger, which had the most perfect bun cradling its bacon and beef, was composed of overall higher quality ingredients than its competitors.