It’s been a little while since I’ve reviewed any food on this site. Fortunately, something came up recently that I was only too eager to review for reasons I’m not even sure of.
It’s no secret that I not only enjoy McDonald’s, but I’m even willing to admit it. It seems like most people are afraid to say so for one reason or another, yet all that money they’re making has to come from somewhere, but I digress.
Despite enjoying McDonald’s on the few occasions I get to stop in, there is one item on their menu I’m always kind of in the middle on: The Big Mac. Though I’ll occasionally be in the mood for one, I can usually take it or leave it, and I more often go for something else.
Recently, though, Burger King revealed a new, possibly limited-time (at least in Canada) addition to their menu: The Big King, which is their answer to the Big Mac, and pretty blatantly so. In fact, this isn’t the first time they’ve introduced the sandwich, but they’ve brought it back in its original form (three pieces of bread, following the standard two it went with before being phased out previously). The difference this time, however, is that it’s not alone. Alongside the standard burger version of the sandwich, Burger King has also added a crispy companion in the Chicken Big King.
This is where the draw was for me. Following fast food news the way I do, I can say that the concept of a Big Mac-styled sandwich which uses chicken in place of beef is nothing new; McDonald’s has been selling Chicken Big Macs among other variations around the world for years. But that’s the key: They’ve been selling them around the world, but not really in North America. As a result, the idea has taken on an almost exotic sensation, being one of those things you’ve probably read about on Buzzfeed or some other list of fast food from other countries. And now it’s here, right in our backyards… and being sold at the competition.
Sorry, McDonald’s; I may be lovin’ it other times, but in this case, you’re not bringin’ it, so I’m going over to the place that is.
My wife and I visited the one nearest to us (twice, really, with the first being a failed attempt for reasons), and we took advantage of the $5 combo offer accompanying the sandwich. She had beef, and I took chicken. The toppings are just like a Big Mac: Two ______ patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun. The sauce is based on Thousand Island dressing, and I took mine without onions. I’m not 100 percent positive, but I think the chicken patties used for that version are taken from the Crispy Chicken Jr. sandwich found on the King Deals value menu (leaving me to wonder if I could substitute the spicy version next time).
I did try a bite of the beef version, and it was okay. About like what I would expect, very much like McDonald’s version, but with the flame-broiled taste the chain is known for. For the chicken version, I really had no idea what to expect. I took one bite, and I was floored. Simply put, this is the version of the sandwich I wish I’d been able to eat all along.
I’m really not sure what it is about it, but I think it largely comes down to the meat and the sauce. I think the sauce and burger meat contrast more with each other, like there’s a battle for flavor dominance in one’s palate. Whether it’s cooked McDonald’s style or with BK’s flame-broiling, the flavor of the beef comes on strong. It’s not a bad thing, but I don’t know that it’s ideal for me.
The chicken, on the other hand, seems to more readily complement the taste of the sauce. Rather than battling for dominance, the chicken and sauce work together in harmony to take on your taste buds together, and I personally prefer this by far. Combined with everything else on the sandwich, it’s just a wonderful, tasty blend that I highly recommend.
And that’s pretty much that: I came in not knowing what to expect, just wanting to try something different the likes of which I’ve only read about, and left wanting more. Unfortunately, the people at the restaurant don’t think that it’s a permanent menu addition (though Wikipedia says it has been in the States since November 2013), save for the possibility of that changing if it does well. And me? I honestly hope it does.
It’s your move, Ronald.