We tried Burger King's menu item that's being called a "disgusting disgrace" -- here's what it's really like
By Kate Taylor
When Burger King launched its grilled hot dog last month, it was touted
as the biggest new product in decades.
While the hot dog has received mostly positive reviews, Steve Cuozzo at
The New York Post slammed the menu item, calling it a "disgusting
"It's the worst embarrassment in the name of horizontal meat matter
since Anthony Weiner discovered Twitter," Cuozzo wrote," referring to
the US representative from New York who infamously sexted a woman he met
He said the "congealed" hot dog can't compare to those from New York
City classics like Nathan's.
The classic grilled dog and the chili-cheese dog launched at Burger King
locations across the US on February 23.
"We want this to be the Whopper of hot dogs," Alex Macedo, Burger King's
North America president, said at a launch event last month. "We know the
Whopper is America's favorite burger — we want this to be America's
favorite hot dog."
The company tested the hot dog in five cities last year. According to
Macedo, the company beat its targets in each city. Orders that included
a hot dog resulted in larger average checks than orders without the new
"We're not seeing grilled dogs as a product launch," Macedo said. "We're
tapping into a whole new category."
Here's why, based on a recent tasting, the hot dogs might fall short.
The classic grilled dog fulfills Burger King's goal of creating what
Macedo calls "a hot dog that tastes like a backyard barbecue." Grilling
was a great choice on Burger King's part. The hot dog has a nice
smokiness that wouldn't be out of place at a family barbecue.
The classic is topped with ketchup, mustard, chopped onions, and relish.
The onions and relish cut through the smokiness of the hot dog very
At $1.99, it's a quality frank that, should I be craving a hot dog, I
would purchase again.
The chili-cheese grilled dog is less of a delight. Don't get me wrong —
the hot dog once again captures the smokiness well, and the chili adds a
nice touch of sweetness. But without the relish and the mustard it feels
as if I'm basically inhaling grease.
The dish is the same beef dog as the classic, topped with warm chili and
shredded cheddar cheese, and it costs $2.29.
While I enjoyed both options and believe other hot-dog lovers lacking in
fast-food options will as well, I had one major issue with the dishes.
At risk of sounding like a glutton, one hot dog is simply not enough to
fill me up. It makes sense that the check size is bigger for customers
who order a grilled hot dog: They need at least one side to feel
satisfied after a hot dog you can demolish in under eight bites.
Burger King seems to have realized that this could be an issue. Macedo
said the company considered including two hot dogs in the combo deal,
which pairs the dog with fries and a small fountain drink.
Burger King and I agree, however, that two hot dogs is too much. With
the classic clocking in at 310 calories and the chili cheese at 330
calories, two hot dogs is not the solution. Plus, eating both would add
up to 14 grams of saturated fat — more than the American Heart
Association's daily limit.
If Burger King can persuade customers to add a hot dog to their orders,
the company could have a winner on its hands. But making the new item
the next Whopper will not be as simple as swapping burgers for hot dogs.
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