First, a review on time. Then two reviews on the same day. Now there’s a review in the middle of the week? You’d think I discovered cocaine or something! You may or may not have heard that McDonald’s has done away with their Angus burgers. In dealing with the empty menu space, they’ve overhauled their Quarter-Pounders with toppings. Those new burgers are the Deluxe Quarter Pounder, the Bacon and Cheese Quarter Pounder, and the reason a review went up today: the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder. The national release of these burgers is slated for mid-June. Yours truly happens to live in an area geographically designated for early release test run. I was greeted with the opportunity to be among the first to review this latest attempt at mainstream heat by the fast food industry. So, naturally, I got me a burger.
(Per the McDonald’s website) A quarter pound* of 100% beef topped by smooth white cheddar,** thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, tomato and leaf lettuce, and a spicy-cool habanero ranch sauce, all on a toasted, bakery-style bun.
*weight before cooking 4 oz. (113.4g)
I was disappointed when I opened the box. All I had heard about this burger was from a buddy, whose coworker had one, and that was that it was a Bacon Habanero Ranch burger. I was expecting habanero slices or chunks, at the very least, but sadly no. At first I thought they had my order wrong, since all I saw was bacon, cheese, and what looked like Mac sauce. I sniffed the sauce, in an attempt to elicit some sort of identifying fragrance, but I couldn’t nail anything down. When I say it didn’t smell all that great, I’m not using that wording figuratively, to imply it smelled bad. It smelled like a good burger, sure; but as I said, it didn’t smell fantastic. It smelled good, not great. Combined with the appearance, my outlook was bleak.
With the initial bleak outlook on this burger and the memory of a terrible stuffed burger from BK in the back of my mind, I proceeded cautiously. Similar to the previous burger, I’m breaking this ratings system out into two aspects: the Fast Food industry, and the Real World.
Fast Food Industry
As far as I know, this is the hottest available product in fast food. I have searched Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and so on, yet nothing has come close to this level of heat, let alone on a burger. The habanero, I found, was actually in the sauce. I did a little facepalm at my thick-headedness when I realized that the Habanero Ranch Bacon Burger actually had Habanero Ranch sauce on it. I know, I know, shut up, it’s been a long week. The burger, still warm when I dove teeth-first in a glorious, carnivorous frenzy, just oozed sauce. The Habanero Ranch sauce was loaded up on there as if they knew I was itching for a burn, despite no mention of my work as a reviewer. The bacon was thick, thick enough to require a second, and on occasion third, bite, to separate into consumable mouthfuls. The cheese, disappointingly bland, did provide a complimentary thick texture and bonding for the burger, like a bland cheesey superglue! On a Fast Food Fire Scale, I’m giving this a Madness. It’s quite hot, the hottest fast food I’ve ever had! That said, there’s still room to go hotter. On a Fast Food Flavor Scale, I’m giving it a Notable. This was just a damn good burger and, with availability in 5 miutes or less, it definitely has the highest flavor-to-speed ratio I have observed yet.
In the real world, this is still a pretty hot burger. I actually had some perspiration forming on my forehead. I want to give it a medium-and-a-half, but we’ll settle for a Medium heat rating. In the flavor department, I’m giving it a Nice. This is a burger I would go out of my way to obtain, passing 10 fast food joints to find for lunch. It may not look like much but, my fellow chileheads, this is a flaming beacon in the night of fast food. Find one. Enjoy it.