Because I fucking had to, that’s why.
In September 2014, pictures surfaced online of a Japanese Burger King Whopper variation with a black bun, black cheese and a black sauce, called Kuro, which is Japanese for — no shit! — black. The bun and cheese are tinted with bamboo charcoal, and the sauce is made from squid ink. To add to the blackness, the patty apparently had a ludicrous amount of black pepper mixed into it. Everyone stateside had a good laugh about silly Asians and what’ll-they-come-up-with-next?! until late September 2015 when Burger King announced they’d be selling a black bun Whopper in the US for Halloween season, and America shared a collective gasp.
Of course, Americans wouldn’t dare to stomach a sauce made with squid ink, so they went with an Uncle Sam-approved alternative: A1 Sauce. It’s baked into the bun and sauces the burger in lieu of ketchup (the mayo’s still there, too), but the whopper is otherwise unchanged: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, standard Whopper patty, and American cheese — the usual yellow kind.
I had to have one. So I went and got one.
It was…a Whopper. [shrug].
The A1 sauce added a hint of extra tanginess, and was unnoticeable in the piece of bun I tore off to taste; it just tasted like bun. Otherwise, it was a Whopper. [shrug].
Which is not to say it’s without its merits, most notably the “Flame Broiled” process, or “Fire Grilled” as they’ve rebranded their cooking method to highlight the fact that they don’t griddle their burgers like damn near everyone else. To date, I haven’t eaten a grilled burger for Burger Fetish. Flat tops have an advantage of creating that sear I can’t stop talking about, and they keep a patty juicier, but grilling creates a unique taste at the sacrifice of moisture. When your patty heats up, its fat melts and drips out. When the fat hits the heat source (whether charcoal or gas, the effect is the same), it causes a small flare-up to jump up and lick the patty, giving a tiny char. You don’t want too much fat to drip out at once, causing too much flare and too much char, giving it an overcooked bitter burnt taste. But a tiny amount of fat dripping at irregular intervals causes just the proper amount of char, and a smoky flavor that cannot be achieved on a griddle. Fat loss, of course, is an integral part of this phenomenon, but that’s your trade-off.
These are the things I think about. [shrug]. Welcome to Burger Fetish.
One of the cold comforts of fast food is that you can walk into any Burger King anywhere in the world and a Whopper’s going to taste exactly the same. Besides some minor A1 flavor notes, this remains true of the Halloween Whopper, which is good, but not noteworthy. Perhaps this was intentional; the visual interference of a black-colored bun is disorienting enough without the Whopper tasting vastly different. I love Whoppers. I always have, and I loved this one, too, but for the same reasons I’ve always loved Whoppers. It’s good, it’s weird-looking, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty much a Whopper.
And, because you asked*, it turned my poop green.
*no, of course you didn’t ask, but I really wanted you to know.