Review of McDonald’s BBQ Smokehouse
What they say:
100% British & Irish beef with a tomato & onion relish, Batavia lettuce, red onion, mature cheddar cheese and long rashers of maple-cured bacon, brought together with a smoky BBQ sauce, all in a Ciabatta style bun.
Price: £4.19 (subject to variation).
Calories: 638 kcal.
2015 is already shaping up to be an interesting year for McDonald’s fans. As we bade farewell to 2014 we saw the re-release of the regularly requested McRib (after a 12-year absence). This was followed up by the introduction of another “new” burger – The Grand.
Of course we have had the usual “Great Tastes of America” promotion (although this had the awesome McShaker Fries) and the ever recurring Big Tasty, but today sees the launch of another new burger – The BBQ Smokehouse with Smokey BBQ Sauce.
|McDonald’s promotional picture…|
Smart McDonald’s fans will have already heard of this new limited time offer – we revealed this breaking news on Friday, five days before it was available in UK restaurants (you can see the original news story below). For the casual McD’s fan/connoisseur and you are new to the number one burger review website, welcome to our expert analysis of the BBQ Smokehouse. For long term readers thanks again as ever for joining us.
Now the latest “big story” has been that of the secret menu existing at McDonald’s UK. We’re no strangers at creating our own frankenburgers but since the story went worldwide there’s been a severe lack of successful secret menu order photos being posted on Twitter. Don’t you think that if it did exist there would be a (Mc)flurry of McGangbangs and Land, Sea & Air burgers being posted? Even McDonald’s UK Twitter account acknowledged the rumours with a hilarious (gif?) to break the myth. What it did do however was get the whole world talking about McDonald’s UK. And on the eve of a new promotion as well. I’ll let those that believe in conspiracy theories take it from there…
Back to the BBQ Smokehouse. It seems the fast food giants believe barbecue sauce is the taste of summer in 2015. Burger King released their Summer BBQ range a month or two ago and now we have a new McDonald’s burger featuring… BBQ sauce. We even got a sneak preview of this new burger a day before release as they uploaded a YouTube video showing if off which of course we tweeted on Tuesday. From this we could establish that the BBQ Smokehouse build is made-up of 100% beef, red onion rings, mature cheddar cheese, maple cured bacon, crisp Batavia lettuce, all on a Ciabatta style roll with a pinch of hickory, maple and oak to give it that smoked BBQ flavour.
So how did it really taste?
|A posh box…|
Well it came in a snazzy new box which certainly raised my eyebrows when I saw it. The box very much gives off the impression of a grown-up (not the Arch Deluxe), hipster/gourmet hybrid-type burger. Inside nestled a very well put together BBQ Smokehouse. I was also impressed that having placed my order at around 10:32am I received both my burgers approximately seven minutes later. Not bad considering it was that breakfast cross-over time.
|First look at The BBQ Smokehouse…|
I’d liken the size of the Smokehouse to that of a Big Tasty… maybe just a little smaller. With the first bite I received that promised smoky flavour which was fairly enjoyable. Texture-wise this is a very crisp and crunch offering from McDonald’s. You get the snap from the lettuce and red onion first and then the combination of the beef, bacon and cheese come through after. To be honest I was expecting a much stronger tasting mature cheddar but it didn’t really give any significant punch to the flavours going on.
|A good bun is hard to find…|
I liked the bun they use… its lightly floured, soft and is possibly one of the main attractions of the BBQ Smokehouse. I’d certainly like to see this return in future, but for us we felt like it was a missed opportunity by McDonald’s to create a “gourmet” burger. You eat it knowing that it is definitely very much a McD’s. Weighing in at 638 calories this is a fairly respectable addition to the menu. I know today I paid the top end of the pricing spectrum at £4.19 (yes you read that correct) and I would expect to see this at other restaurants at £3.99. Still expensive for a McDonald’s in our opinion.
|Lifting the lid…|
Overall The BBQ Smokehouse is a decent burger. It’s sweet and smoky and an enjoyable experience but is certainly nothing ground-breaking. You’ve got that traditional bacon cheeseburger element with the super fresh Batavia lettuce and the tang and crunch from the generously sized red onion rings. Without those you’re not going to appreciate what the guys in the development kitchen are going for with this burger. They are needed on it!
The BBQ sauce does taste different to the usual BBQ they use and no arguments from me there is a smokiness to it. What I will end on though is talking about that tomato and onion relish. For years I would have run a mile from any burger with a tomato relish/sauce/jus on it but this (with the bun) is the best thing about the BBQ Smokehouse. I only really started to taste mine towards the end as it wasn’t evenly spread but it has quite a unique flavour (for McDonald’s). I found it fresh, sweet and just providing a subtle depth to the overall experience. It also doesn’t conflict with the BBQ sauce like I thought it would so well done to whoever decided to add this component.
Some might agree with us and see this as a missed opportunity by McDonald’s. And whatever happened to that test burger we reported about below? Maybe we’ll see it in the future or the feedback condemned it to burger development purgatory… alongside mushrooms.
Now checking my crystal ball I don’t believe we’ll go straight from this into Great Tastes of the World. So I’m going to go with the Big Tasty next followed by GTOW in mid-October which will take us into the Christmas promotion late November/early December. And guess what? I already know some of the line-up!! But I won’t be telling you anytime soon because Ronald and the Hamburglar will come to HQ and silence me. Forever…
The BBQ Smokehouse is available at McDonald’s until Tuesday 1st September.
HERE IS OUR ORIGINAL BREAKING NEWS STORY BELOW:
BREAKING: McDonald’s next burger revealed here!
We’ve known about this burger for quite a while now, the next burger available at McDonald’s from Wednesday 22nd July 2015 is the BBQ Smokehouse with Smokey BBQ Sauce.
|The BBQ Smokehouse coming to McDonald’s…|
Running alongside this new burger from McDonald’s will be the Chicken & Cheddar Classic which we reviewed here.
We tweeted a cryptic clue about this burger WAY back on June 16th and looking at the photo above it looks like we were right again…
RUMOUR: Next McDonald’s promotion to feature “premium” burger and a tomato “relish” and/or BBQ sauce…
— Burger Lad® (@Burger_Lad) June 16, 2015
OK so we’d heard about some tests involving the BBQ Smokehouse. An individual who would like to remain anonymous told us that they were part of a test where approximately 20-30 people were given a free burger and asked to fill out a questionnaire. Were you one of the lucky people?
Seems the feedback might have resulted in a change as the burger on offer that day was made made with a “Brioche bun, lettuce, possibly shredded pork(?) and on a large 1/4lb beef patty with BBQ sauce”.
We were also told of a black “classy” tray and holder for the fries – the question is will this make it to retail?
Checking the picture again it seems like a dusted bun, beef patty, BBQ sauce, bacon, cheese, lettuce, red onion and that tomato relish we were told about. Now we’ve been led to believe this is a new “premium” or “gourmet” patty so it will be interesting to see how it compares to the usual McDonald’s patties. You can bet the price will also be higher than that of a Big Tasty or usual promotional item but again that is just pure speculation on our part.
12 months ago as part of my pitch at the McDonald’s My Burger Final I did say that my creation was intended to be a burger that “was the middle ground between what is perceived as a low-end burger at McDonald’s and a high priced gourmet burger at say £10-£12”. Is this McDonald’s attempt at doing this?
We’ll be back on Wednesday to give you the full Burger Lad® analysis and remember exactly where you heard this news first!