On our way back from Quebec City, we decided to stop in St-Hyacinthe for lunch. The huge Burger King sign by Highway 20 was strangely appealing to us, and we figured since this was a road trip (well, a trip on the road), we might as well stop at the King. After all, he is the King of Burgers.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a big sign promoting the goodness of BK’s current novelty burger, The Ringmaster Whopper (along with the Angry Whopper). The Ringmaster was re-introduced with an infamous ad campaign in Canada last August – I say re-introduced because it was available last year under its previous name, the Bourbon Whopper.
The Waffle had never tried this Whopper (the last BK Burger we reviewed in this corner was the BK Stuffed Steakhouse), so he was easily convinced by his wife to sample it.
The Ringmaster is a Whopper (with its regualr ¼ pounder patty on a sesame seed bun), topped with Onion Rings, Bacon, Processed Cheddar Cheese and finished with a Sweet & Tangy Bourbon-Flavoured Sauce.
As always, the delivered product didn’t quite look like the marketing effort. That said, the Ringmaster looked perfectly edible, and was satisfyingly sizeable. The Rings were there, in all their golden glory… Soon I would be the Lord of the Rings!
First, let’s deal with the skeleton: Burger King claims that their Sesame Seed Buns are toasted. I’ve got to admit, I never had the sense that their buns were actually toasted, ever. Not that it is a big deal, but they shouldn’t claim the buns are toasted. The meat was the usual 1/4 pounder Whopper patty, a tad overcooked but with the classic grilled flavor.
Second, let’s deal with the regular toppings: the lettuce (iceberg, not Boston like in the ad) was crispy but white-ish. The tomatoes weren’t very fresh, and were quite small slices. The bacon was kinda chewy, not crispy as touted. The processed cheese was melted as processed cheese should be when used, providing some gooeiness to the sandwich. There was some mayo as well.
Third, the former star of this burger: the Bourbon-flavoured sauce. I’ve got to say that it is not a good sauce at all. They describe it as Sweet & Tangy – not sweet, not tangy – bitter, in fact, no spices. Not good at all. The Magpie called it vile and repulsive . Perhaps I won’t go that far, but it is not good at all. Really not. And since they say it is Bourbon-flavoured and they insist on saying it is alcohol-free, let me assume that Bourbon was never anywhere near this sauce. Except perhaps a shot after eating the burger, to digest better. No wonder BK decided to change the name – let’s bury the Bourbon sauce!
Finally, the new star of the burger: the onion rings. Now, the idea of adding onion rings as a burger topping is not new. The concept is not bad – replace the regular raw onions with a few crunchy, deep fried rings of the then-less pungent vegetable. Sadly, if BKs’ Onion Rings are pallatable on their own, inside the burger, they become a totally flavorless mushy mush stack of industrial batter. It simply doesn’t work, and it’s a shame.
All in all, the Ringmaster is clearly not Master of its Domain.