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Burger King


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#1 Jinmyo

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 08:32 AM

Though Chef Rick Bayless sold his reputation for it, I would never walk in to such a place. I have had no occasion to eat fast food of any kind for well over a decade now.

In the past I have had McDonald's fries and tried their Big Mac and their Egg McMuffin. Pretty bad stuff.

But I've never eaten anything from Burger King. I've seen their adverts on tv and the stuff looks pretty horrid but I'[m no expert in these matters. My impression is that BK is a poor cousin to McD's.

Just how bad is it, really? I'm not curious enough to lift anything up and sniff at it but I am curious enough to want to read your opinions.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

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#2 Mark Sommelier

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 08:45 AM

Though Chef Rick Bayless sold his reputation for it, I would never walk in to such a place. I have had no occasion to eat fast food of any kind for well over a decade now.

In the past I have had McDonald's fries and tried their Big Mac and their Egg McMuffin. Pretty bad stuff.

But I've never eaten anything from Burger King. I've seen their adverts of tv and the stuff looks pretty horrid but I'[m no expert in these matters. My impression is that BK is a poor cousin to McD's.

Just how bad is it, really? I'm not curious enough to lift anything up and sniff at it but I am curious enough to want to read your opinions.

You have it backwards. If given the choice, BK wins every time.
Mark

#3 tommy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 08:49 AM

i don't know if i prefer one over the other. they both have strong points.

in my area, there are probably an equal number of BK's and McD's. i'm not sure if one is considered second-string around here. i would consider the relationship the same as that of coke and pepsi.

Edited by tommy, 12 October 2003 - 08:53 AM.


#4 Jinmyo

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:02 AM

You have it backwards. If given the choice, BK wins every time.

Interesting. How so?

[tommy, you're not just interesting but fabulous.]
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#5 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:10 AM

Really? I think Burger King is substantially worse than McDonald's across almost the entire board.

I think it's worth pointing out that at one time, 20+ years ago, both chains produced a decent burger -- McDonald's on a griddle and Burger King with a flame broiler. Both methods are good. But these days neither one makes a particularly edible burger -- the patties need to be masked by various other ingredients before one gets an edible result.

But I think the decline at Burger King has been a lot more marked than at McDonald's. I think current burgers and most sandwiches at Burger King are quite bad, with a few exceptions that are acceptable. Even though I try to keep tabs on most of the fast-food chains and enjoy junk on occasion, I steer clear of Burger King save for the bare minimum necessary to maintain fast-food cultural literacy. McDonald's, on the other hand, does a decent job on several products: the chicken sandwiches, the salads, several breakfast items, and especially the fries which, though shadows of their former selves, are still better than the fries you'll get at most full-service restaurants.

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#6 docsconz

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:22 AM

I despise McDonald's and can still tolerate BK. I still like (relatively) the double cheeseburger at BK and if in a situation with a carload of hungry kids and local ignorance I will choose BK even though my 4yo loves mcDonalds :wacko: .

Disclaimer: My very first employment when I was 16yo was at a Burger King in Brooklyn, which at that time was the busiest in the country. :biggrin:
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#7 Rail Paul

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:33 AM

BK has has a more checkered and unhappy recent past than McDonald's.

As BK was passed from owner to owner (Pillsbury, Gen Mills, Heublein, etc), corporate needs often limited investment in menus, national advertising, site planning, and quality control.

In contrast to McD's generally company owned locations (with large, corporate franchise holders as well), BK's store operators tend to be more local, and often less willing to invest in national efforts and branding.

Although McD's has slipped noticeably in recent years (rest room cleanliness is an excellent indicator from the kroc years), resale prices of franchises used to be much higher for McD than for BK. Ray Kroc maintained eagle like vigilance over all stores, and maintained a Gestapo of QC experts for bun warmth, fry temp, rest rooms, lot conditions, etc.
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#8 tommy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:05 AM

how can one deny the delicious simplicity of the BK double hamburger, or the salty sweetness of the Sante Fe chicken sandwich?

Posted Image
Posted Image

#9 fifi

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:07 AM

I have been known to enjoy the occasional FF sandwich. I agree with FG on the McDs chicken sandwiches even though, it there is a Chick-Fil-A around I will ead that direction.

I few days ago, I drove through the new BK that just opened down the street from me. I was in a hurry and needed a quick bite before moving on to something else. I also had a hankerin' for a bacon cheeseburger. I thought I would give BK a shot, mentally thinking the "flame broiling" was the right direction for my current taste needs. What a dissappointment. When I got home with my bag of goodies, I opened the sandwich for a brief inspection and the addition of some pepper. I don't think that patty ever saw a flame or came within miles of a broiler. The bread was awful... too thin and weak in character to hold up to the mayo. ICK! I don't do FF burgers often but I don't remember BK being this bad. Has BK abandoned the flame broiler?

Now, I am not inclined to give them a chance on a breakfast order. I would have, but since my McDs just down the street makes the best sausage biscuit in the city, I don't thind I will waste the calories.
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#10 fifi

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:10 AM

tommy... We cross-posted.

My patty didn't even have the grill marks that yours did!

That chicken sandwich looks really small. At least the sauce looks better than in the other pictures.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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#11 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:19 AM

As far as I know Burger King no longer uses the terminology "flame broiled," and instead now opts for "fire grilled" in all its product descriptions and promotions. Whether that represents a change in technology, I have no idea. I haven't seen a Burger King burger actually being cooked in ages -- I only ever see them pull the patties out of those warming trays.

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#12 Jinmyo

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:49 AM

how can one deny the delicious simplicity of the BK double hamburger, or the salty sweetness of the Sante Fe chicken sandwich?

Posted Image
Posted Image

Uh.

It took a few moments.

The first one is a hamburger facsimile, right?

The second looks like the inside of a handkerchef.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#13 tommy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:53 AM

Uh.

It took a few moments.

The first one is a hamburger facsimile, right?

i don't know if i'd call it a facsimile, unless you mean it in the sense that it's a product with ground beef on bread with ketchup and pickles.

it certainly ain't this, but its flavor is pleasing to some.

The second looks like the inside of a handkerchef.


:laugh: my "photography" certainly didn't do that chicken any justice whatsoever.

Edited by tommy, 12 October 2003 - 10:58 AM.


#14 Alex

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 11:05 AM

I got violently ill after eating a Whopper about 30 years ago and haven't been back to a BK (or even had a fast food burger) since. I still eat McD's fries, though.
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#15 Nick

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 12:39 PM

it certainly ain't this

Oh man, you just had to do that didn't you? It's a great looking burger (or is it a steak?), but it's the fries that got me. There's nothin' better than a home-cooked french fry like you made. Now I've want to make some and I don't have a Russet in the house. :sad:

Edited by Nick, 12 October 2003 - 12:41 PM.


#16 fifi

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 12:46 PM

As far as I know Burger King no longer uses the terminology "flame broiled," and instead now opts for "fire grilled" in all its product descriptions and promotions. Whether that represents a change in technology, I have no idea. I haven't seen a Burger King burger actually being cooked in ages -- I only ever see them pull the patties out of those warming trays.

Come to think of it, some years ago, I remember looking behind the counter and seeing the flame broiler things with real flames and a conveyer belt thing. I don't remember seeing that now. My recent patty sure looked like it came out of a drawer!
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#17 jhlurie

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 03:54 PM

You have it backwards. If given the choice, BK wins every time.

Burger King was better in the 1970s. McDonalds has been better in every other decade. The whole "flame broiling" thing is a lie to cover the fact that its really coming out of a drawer and being rewarmed in a microwave, just like everywhere else.

As fifi says, a Chick-Fil-A will win everytime. It's simply a deep fried Chicken Sandwich.
Mmmm. At least comparitively. Click for pic of Chick (-Fil-A Sandwich)

Edited by jhlurie, 12 October 2003 - 04:03 PM.

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#18 vengroff

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 04:52 PM

McDonalds burger patties, in the current form, are an all-time low in the fast-food world. They are dry, grey, and taste nothing like beef. Twenty years ago, a quarter pounder was juicy; today it's a hockey puck. I've probably been to McDonalds five or six times in the past year, and it's been the same every time. I've given up and won't go back.

BK may not be flame broiled, but they are better than whatever McDonalds is currently doing.
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#19 Jason Perlow

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 04:56 PM

McDonalds burger patties, in the current form, are an all-time low in the fast-food world.  They are dry, grey, and taste nothing like beef.  Twenty years ago, a quarter pounder was juicy; today it's a hockey puck.  I've probably been to McDonalds five or six times in the past year, and it's been the same every time.  I've given up and won't go back.

BK may not be flame broiled, but they are better than whatever McDonalds is currently doing.

I have found tremendous regional variation and store to store differences for both BK and McD. Some places suck and are utterly revolting, and some are good. It depends on the management and how much turnover they have. Same deal with Wendys.
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#20 Jinmyo

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 06:05 PM

Uh.

It took a few moments.

The first one is a hamburger facsimile, right?

i don't know if i'd call it a facsimile, unless you mean it in the sense that it's a product with ground beef on bread with ketchup and pickles.

it certainly ain't this, but its flavor is pleasing to some.

Yes. That is an actual hamburger. And nice looking frites as well.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#21 snowangel

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 06:11 PM

McDonalds burger patties, in the current form, are an all-time low in the fast-food world.  They are dry, grey, and taste nothing like beef.  Twenty years ago, a quarter pounder was juicy; today it's a hockey puck.  I've probably been to McDonalds five or six times in the past year, and it's been the same every time.  I've given up and won't go back.

BK may not be flame broiled, but they are better than whatever McDonalds is currently doing.

At every McDonald's I've been to in the last year (not many), they put pre-cooked burgers into some plastic drawer and pull them out as they are ordered. :shock: :shock: :shock:

Is this a nation-wide thing? Does BK do this?
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#22 Nick

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 06:29 PM

Back around 1965 I was working on fancy cars in Newport, RI and doing a little guitar playing. Had a friend over in Providence that did some playing and I'd head over there every once in awhile. About halfway between Newport and Providence, out in the middle of nowhere, was a MacDonalds perched on a little hill.

The first time I saw it, I pulled in and got a hamburger. It was so good that everytime after that I'd pull in and get three. Two for the ride to Providence and one to eat cold on the way back.

Things sure have changed.

#23 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 06:36 PM

Yes, both McDonald's and Burger King use the warming drawers chain-wide. We've discussed this on some other threads. In the past, both chains would cook burgers in rotating batches, assemble the sandwiches, and place them in chutes in essentially a queue system. Today, the patties are cooked in large batches a few times a day and placed in warming drawers. When an order comes in, it is transmitted from the POS terminal (cash register) to a video screen in the prep area. A patty is taken from the holding drawer and the sandwich is assembled to order and brought to temperature in a microwave.

This evening I visited both McDonald's (on Third Avenue between 84th and 85th, Manhattan) and Burger King (on 86th Street between Third and Second Avenues). I've eaten enough McDonald's food that I wasn't there to taste -- I was simply there to observe the kitchen. I was able to see a little bit -- the griddle where the burgers are cooked was visible, as were the warming drawers and the product assembly line. The managers, however, are well-drilled at not talking about the product or methods, probably on account of the beating the company took in Fast Food Nation and other expose-type works.

At Burger King, however, the assistant store manager was quite chatty. I was not able to gain access to the kitchen -- insurance issues were cited, and I believed that explanation -- but I was able to see almost everything. Burger King -- and I am told this is the case at all locations -- does still use a conveyer-belt flame broiler. The terms "fire grilled" does not indicate a change in method; some of the literature and posted material in the store does indeed still say "flame broiled." I saw the apparatus and it is real. Also, I learned that this particular Burger King is operated by the actual corporation.

I ordered, at Burger King:

Value Meal
-Whopper/chs
-lg fries
-lg diet coke

Value Meal
-Chicken sand
-lg onion ring
-Lg diet coke

Value Tenders (5)

This food came to $13.22 (5.49, 5.69, .99, and 1.05 tax).

The Whopper was pretty much as Vengroff described a McDonald's hamburger patty: quite dry, cooked to extremely well done all the way through, from low-quality meat, with a lot of gristle, clearly cut very close to the bone in some sort of industrial process. The assembly technique had the effect of heating the lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayonnaise along with the patty, cheese, and bun, which made the thing rather unpleasant to eat. This was roughly equivalent in quality to a McDonald's Quarter Pounder. I would not award a winner as between these two bad burgers.

The fries were awful. I can't imagine why Burger King hasn't been able to get its act together on fries. Fries are not complicated. These have some sort of very artificial tasting coating that does nothing for the potatoes. Given the advanced and obviously well-maintained deep frying setup maintained by every Burger Kind store, I can't see what the problem would be with making decent fries. McDonald's fries are enormously better.

The chicken sandwich was worse than the last one I had a few years ago. It is some sort of compressed chicken garbage molded into a patty and deep fried. My sandwich was dry, though I attribute that to batch variation. But even moist and fresh, it would have been a bad sandwich. McDonald's produces a totally superior chicken sandwich line.

I enjoyed the onion rings. They do not taste like onion rings. I'm not even sure they are onion rings. They are some sort of extruded product, I think, which is battered and deep-fried. But I enjoyed them for what the were: essentially hush-puppy rings. There is no equivalent McDonald's product.

I also enjoyed the chicken tenders, though one of them was curiously empty of chicken. It was just crust. But the other four were moist, tender, and seemed to be made of actual whole chicken pieces or a very good facsimile thereof. This crust has a very good flavor, probably due to a lot of MSG, but still it's good. These are a lot better than McDonald's disgusting Chicken McNuggets -- even the supposedly new and improved ones.

Note that, approximately 120 paces from Burger King is Sassy's Sliders, on Third Avenue between 86th and 87th. At Sassy's, for approximately $6, you can get four small hamburgers made to order from fresh, never-frozen beef, served on steamed potato-flour buns, with fries made from real potatoes on premises. Burger King was doing good business on Sunday night around 7pm. Sassy's had one customer.

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#24 tommy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 06:55 PM

I enjoyed the onion rings. They do not taste like onion rings. I'm not even sure they are onion rings. They are some sort of extruded product, I think, which is battered and deep-fried. But I enjoyed them for what the were: essentially hush-puppy rings.

my thoughts on BK fries are similar. they don't taste like potato, but i find them enjoyable. McD's fries are often limp, greasy, and soggy. and when they get cold, they get nasty tasting.

in fact, my thoughts on most of BK's and McD's food is similar. they don't taste like mama's hamburger or chicken sandwich, but they taste like something, and something isn't always horrible.

this topic could be so huge. i can't imagine comparing McD's to BK without introducing other popular chains, most notably Wendy's.

#25 scopra

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 07:36 PM

This thread reminded me of the dining scene in the movie "Brasil" where the characters are debating the relative merits of the industrial sludge offered at a trendy restaurant. Fast food has become so horrible that one suspects a vast right wing conspiracy aimed at convincing the masses to eat pure garbage(thus reducing the need for new landfill sites). In Canada, the number one restaurant in terms of gross sales is Tim Hortons. We've always got time for crappy coffee, greasy donuts, boil in bag soup and tasteless sandwiches.

I recently went for Dim Sum at the Golden Swan (37th and Victoria in East Vancouver). Our group of three was seated in under two minutes despite a huge lunch crowd. We were eating fresh, hot, tasty food faster than you can say Honeycomb Tripe. The grand total our lunch was under thirty bucks. McDonalds and BK are neither fast nor food.

#26 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 07:51 PM

one suspects a vast right wing conspiracy aimed at convincing the masses to eat pure garbage

First of all, there is no conspiracy. This is all being done completely out in the open.

Second, I fail to see how "right wing" enters into the equation, unless you are making the absurd reductionist claim that anything bad done by any corporation is by definition a "right wing" act. In reality, I'm sure plenty of McDonald's and Burger King executives are left-leaning, just as are many executives in most corporations. In fact if you examine the Bayless-endorsement thread, I think you'll be very disappointed to find that the most significant defenses of Bayless tended to come from the left.

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#27 scopra

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 08:50 PM

I am only suggesting that the left is too disorganized to pull off such a fiendish scheme. I guess the language of partisan vitriol is too close to the palate these days. I am sorry if I offended any corporate executives who are secretly wearing tie die beneath their Brooks Bros.

#28 jhlurie

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:05 PM

I enjoyed the onion rings. They do not taste like onion rings. I'm not even sure they are onion rings. They are some sort of extruded product, I think, which is battered and deep-fried. But I enjoyed them for what the were: essentially hush-puppy rings.

my thoughts on BK fries are similar. they don't taste like potato, but i find them enjoyable. McD's fries are often limp, greasy, and soggy. and when they get cold, they get nasty tasting.

Can't really agree here. BK fries taste like styrofoam to me. The onion rings... maybe marginally better.

McDonald's fries do kind of suck cold, but can still be pretty damn good when just out of the hopper.

Of course the king of Fast Food fries is Nathan's, although in recent years I've had bad examples from some of their quickly declining franchises as well. Chick-Fil-A fries are a close second.
Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

#29 hillbill

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:29 PM

how can one deny the delicious simplicity of the BK double hamburger, or the salty sweetness of the Sante Fe chicken sandwich?


Posted Image



Is it just an optical illusion or is that sandwich about the length of a finger?

If so, that's the smallest fast-food sammich I ever did see (or the longest finger.....)
Gustatory illiterati in an illuminati land.

#30 tommy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:42 PM

Is it just an optical illusion or is that sandwich about the length of a finger? 

If so, that's the smallest fast-food sammich I ever did see (or the longest finger.....)

it should be noted that i have freakishly small hands.