The Adventures Of Fatrick: McDonald’s Big America Texas Burger
January 15, 2010
Despite the probability of McDonald’s making any sort of political commentary via a product standing at about the same chance as LeBron James declaring he’ll never endorse another product as long as he lives, the timing of the chain-to-end-all chains “Big America” burger series in Japan (inadvertently) leads to a nice “how they see themselves/us” moment. This newest campaign, wherein four biggie-sized “American” themed sandwiches will be released over the next three months, comes only a few months removed from McDonald’s Japan’s “Nippon All Stars Menu,” their fast-food interpretation of Japanese cuisine. Those limited-time menu choices featured plenty of egg, chicken and seafood all in relatively normal sized portions. Seeing as this is McDonald’s, “normal sized portions” roughly translates to “eat this more than once a week and you might as well reserve a hospital bed now,” but otherwise nothing to crazy.
The Big America line, though, isn’t nearly as reserved. The overall size of the burger has jumped up considerably, enough to warrant a seven-minute video about it on Japanese news. They have all sorts of crazy toppings piled onto them. The unifying feature of all four is bacon, which really does sum up America in a weird way. McDonald’s Japan clearly just wants to sell big burgers in a way as not to freak out the population (everything is bigger in America! And more artery destroying!), but it’s still a very interesting fast food item. Or maybe I just need new hobbies to write about. I don’t know.
This week marked the arrival of the first “Big America” burger, the Texas Burger (which, in this reporter’s humble opinion, looked the most appetizing). Although I swore I’d stop eating at McDonald’s in 2010 in a hopeless effort to be healthier, the sick, BBQ-sauce stained siren’s call of the Texas Burger lured me in. I had to eat it.
The Texas Burger gets points for being the most “American” of the burger options, as the only vegetable featured on it is fried onion strings. It revels in excess – BBQ sauce, onion strings, a nuclear-colored mustard sauce, bacon (the Japanese version, not the crunchy American kind that used to be the Internet’s food of choice). Lord knows what the middle bun holding up some of the condiments on this thing could represent – I’m thinking of a northern landmark, Detroit’s People Mover, a seemingly OK idea that is an absolute waste in execution.
This thing isn’t a Matt Taibbi article though, it’s a burger so the only important question worth answering is “how does it taste?” Considering the stupid amount of foodstuffs jammed between three buns, one could go into the meal realistically expecting this burger to boast way too many flavors. Yet in a a shocking reverse and a terrible bit of self-realization (“this isn’t enough for me??? My God…”), the big problem with the Texas Burger is that it isn’t flavorful enough. The bacon and onion stand no chance of standing out, and the beef is just a slightly thicker piece of McDonald’s meat. The only distinctive flavors at play here are of BBQ Sauce and the Three Mile Island mustard. Not bad by any stretch of the imagination (they make this stuff in petri dishes, of course it’s going to taste good), but doesn’t deliver on the sickening promise of the ads.
Oh, and since I love nothing more than writing about cheeseburgers on a Friday night, lets focus on the middle bun a little more. I’m pretty positive the point of its being is to make sure the onion strings and BBQ sauce don’t go all over the place. It works for a bit, but eventually fails. Your hands will be coated in sauce, and you just have to accept that.
I guess the Texas Burger is about as Texan as it could possibly be – it’s basically a variation on the “western cheeseburger” you see at every chain restaurant dotting the U.S., save for that rubbish center bun. I can tell this thing is going to be a hit for sure, though – the McDonald’s in which I ate the burger was packed, and a big chunk of the clientele had the Texas Burger plopped down on their “Big America” paper place mat. Score one for burger democracy.