Some of the best fast food is the kind that shows up once in awhile for a limited time, encouraging people who love the item under discussion to consume far more of them than we otherwise would if they were always around and we took them for granted.
The McRib is the obvious example. I’m a person who spends more money at McDonald’s in six weeks eating those sandwiches with the attendant fries and Coke than I spend the other 46 weeks of the year and the following 46 before the McRib comes back at McD’s combined.
And since I’m clearly a sucker for anything in fast food with barbecue sauce on it, Jack in the Box’s recent re-release of the BBQ Bacon Double Cheeseburger as its ultra-value meal ($4.99 for a small with regular fries and drink) has not just my attention but my wallet’s attention as well.
The burger itself is…well, you know the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger at Carl’s Jr.? Shakespearean roses with this burger. Two standard-sized burger patties, two slices of American cheese, two fried onion rings, bacon, and a generous slathering of barbecue sauce not just atop the burger but on the bottom bun as well.
The whole thing weighs in at 208 grams according to Jack’s nutrition facts on their official site, so we’re talking maybe…and Google searching did nothing to confirm this, I’m just speculating here, but if this is a pair of two-ounce patties, it sure looks and feels bigger than, say, a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Whatever it is, it’s a good-sized burger that will fill a craving for a single meal nicely.
And let’s get back to that “generous slathering” I mentioned. This burger will get your hands dirty, and the very generous saucing adds a definite moisture component to what can often be a dry by burger standards burger at Jack’s—the biggest problem with the Jumbo Jack in general is that tendency to lack a good mouthfeel.
And it’s not just lubrication either. The sauce is sweet—some people would say cloying, and I wouldn’t argue with them, if you like things more savory, this isn’t the sandwich for you. But for my taste, and I love a sweet Q sauce on a burger, it’s wonderful.
The fried onion ring is one of burgerdom’s underrated toppers. Whether it’s Burger King’s Rodeo Cheeseburger, Carl’s Jr.’s aforementioned Western, or this burger, there’s just something about a fried crunch that gives it a certain whole-fast-food-meal-in-one-sandwich satisfaction. Wendy’s accomplishes similar alchemy with its tavern-style onion straws, but I just like an onion ring that’s not afraid to cop to being what it is and stand proud on that burger like it belongs.
I will also forever love whoever decided that customers would find it worth the wait for fries they drop when you order them. Hot fries are better than cold fries—that’s just science.
And did I mention this whole thing is $4.99 for a small combo (and $6.58 for a large plus King County’s 10% tax rate when I got mine)? When money’s tight, or even when it isn’t, this is one of the best values in fast food.
I live three blocks from a Jack in the Box. I’m looking forward to eating about 50 of these combo meals before they move on to whatever they’ve got planned after this burger’s done with its limited-time run, after which it’s just a long wait through the fall for the McRib to come back and the binging to begin afresh.