Chain Reaction: We Try McDonald's Bacon Clubhouse Sandwiches

Fast Food

Would you like fries (or onion rings or chicken tenders) with that?

[Photographs: Dennis Lee]

I'm fascinated with fast food. I know, I know. It always starts with a commercial for a new product—the people who market fast food do a very good job of piquing my curiosity, planting a tiny little seed in the back of my mind about a magical "new" concoction. It sits there and grows into a full-blown urge to get up out of my chair and buy that thing right away. Of course, when I actually try the thing my hopes and dreams usually deflate right away.

But then I see another commercial and the cycle repeats itself yet again. Apparently I'm a total lemming.

My most recent commercial-induced expedition? Basketball superstar/Chicago Bulls nemesis Lebron James has been inducted into a bizarre secret McDonald's club, in which he finds out that the most successful people in the world eat something called a Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich. No, seriously. Check it out. He then proclaims that everyone in the world should have access to it. Yes. Let us all eat cake!

But what is a Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich? Allow me to enlighten you. It all starts on a new artisan roll (which looks like a shellacked brioche), packed with applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, white cheddar, lettuce, and tomato. It's called a sandwich, and not a burger, because you're graciously allowed to choose a burger patty OR chicken (grilled or crispy) as its centerpiece. And, of course, there's some lily gilding to be had in the form of the ever delightful Big Mac sauce.

As fast food burgers go, this is certainly one of the prettier ones. As you can see, the bun is has a light-catching sheen and a rich mahogany hue. The cheese, interestingly enough, is served under the patty on both versions of the sandwich, along with the caramelized onions. And luckily the whole package comes with a burger diaper so you don't make a mess on your tuxedo while you're eating it.

Under the dome it's not nearly as pretty, but that's to be expected. The top layers consist of crisp bacon, an anemic tomato slice, pieces of lettuce, and a whole lot of Big Mac sauce. There are no big surprises here—the burger is gray and under-seasoned, without a whole lot of flavor. But it's made up for by plenty of Big Mac sauce, which I've always liked. When I was a kid, I thought of it as an adult flavor and imagined I was remarkably sophisticated for liking it. As an adult, I think it's still good on a Big Mac, but maybe not so much on the Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich.

The other components are mostly what you'd expect with fast food, with the exception of caramelized onions, which are pretty good (if overly sweet). But what's most puzzling to me is the bun itself, which proved really gummy—as you chew, the majority of the burger disappears as you swallow, but the bun stays in your mouth for much longer. Has this happened to anyone else? It's a strange phenomenon.

Does the chicken version fare any better? It's hard to say. It's definitely messier, so the diaper comes in handy. The chicken has a distinct McDonald's fryer oil flavor to it, and is well-seasoned, but I'll have to narrowly give this one to the beef. This is, after all, a fancy Quarter Pounder.

If you think about it, this item basically repackages an array of ingredients that are already on the McDonald's roster. Aside, that is, from that curiously chewy bun. And with the burger coming in at $4.59 and the chicken at $4.89, they're definitely on the pricier side of your options. My recommendation? Stick with the classics; they're what McDonald's does best.

About the author: After a failed attempt at starting a chain of theme restaurants called "Smellen Keller," Dennis Lee traveled the world to discover his true passion. Sadly, midwifery didn't pan out. Now he works in a cubicle, and screws around as much as possible. Follow his shenanigans on Twitter.

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