This is a first in a series of first-hand accounts of visits to the dark, underworld of the “bad burger,” wherein I present cautionary tales on what can go wrong with our beloved food in hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
First off, a bit of disclosure – I am not a Burger King guy. I never understood the mystique of flame broiling, never accepted the second-rate product naming standards (Whopper? Whaler?) and until his recent image refreshing, never accepted “The King” as the viable head of a multi-national fast food empire. I grew up on McDonald’s (when on the rare occasion we did eat fast-food) and therefore a grilled burger just tastes better (and if the recent hamburger resurgence over the past few years is any indication – is the preferred method of most burger pundits).
I was curious about the new BK Steakhouse Burger. Quite frankly, it looks delicious. And, aside from the burger, it was. If I were a vegetarian, I could live on these (sans the burger)…in fact, it might even be worth trying it with the Boca Vegetarian Burger option that BK offers because the toppings (crispy onions, american cheese, lettuce, tomatoes – really nice red ones!, mayo and A1) and composition of this sandwich are great – it is just the meat that is a let down.
The “Angus Burger” feels somehow synthetic (ok, I read Fast Food Nation, too , so I know it truly is synthetic), so maybe unatural is a better descriptor. The patty is huge (normally a plus), spilling over the sides of the already oversized bun, but it has a floppy quality too it and a remarkable ability to hold together as one unit despite its overwhelming size x girth ratio. To the palate it feels spongy, kind of like eating one of those old mousepads…just not appetizing, and the flavor just feels chemically.
Kudos for the concept of a burger made with Angus Beef though. This attempt to upscale the selection is a step in the right direction and probably a great business strategy in a world where most people are happy to order the 99 cent double cheeseburger options that now populate most menus. Toss on a little something classy at a few bucks more and I am certain you will get people to “treat” themselves every now and again (if the quality follows).
From the website “The Straight Dope,” here is a primer on Angus Beef:
Angus is a breed of cattle, originally hailing from Scotland, that has an official designation given to it by the U.S. government. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service, Angus beef must meet the following requirements:
2.1 Genotype. Cattle eligible for Angus influence beef programs based on genotype must have positive identification (ear tags, tattoos, brands, etc.) and be traceable back to provable (e.g.; registration papers) Angus parentage. Qualifying cattle must be traceable to one registered parent or two registered grandparents. Programs which claim a specified percentage of Angus heritage must use this method.
2.2 Phenotype. Cattle eligible for certification in Angus influence beef programs based on phenotype (appearance) must be predominately (51 percent) solid black. Blue roan, gray, etc., are not considered to be black or a percentage of black. Such variations can qualify only when it occupies 49 percent, or less, of the body area with the remaining 51 percent, or greater, being solid black. (1) Angus influence cattle may be either horned or polled. Carcasses of certified live animals which display certain non-Angus characteristics (e.g.; dairy conformation, Brahman humps) shall be excluded as specified in the carcass specifications for approved programs.
(1) At times, a black hair coat can become sun bleached and appear to be a shade of brown, particularly on the back. If the base of the hair close to the skin is black then that entire brown tipped area should be considered solid black. However, if the hair color is brown to the roots, it should be considered as brown in color and the area will not contribute to the 51 percent black requirement.
I will give BK credit, the burger I was served is not too different from the one in their marketing materials (see the Checkers Philly Cheese Steak Burger debacle earlier in this blog’s history).
Overall a downer. Not sure if it was my BK bias or just a concept gone wrong, but I think I am one and done with the Steakhouse Burger (even though I now understand they have a “loaded” variety with that magical ingredient that makes everything better – bacon) and BK for a long while.