Review of McDonald’s South Carolina Stack
What they say:
Two 100% British & Irish beef burgers with Beechwood smoked bacon, smoky cheese, grilled onions, lettuce and a sweet n’ tangy South Carolina mustard sauce, all in a toasted bun.
Price: £4.19 for the burger only. £5.69 for a meal + 40p for large upgrade.
Calories: 617 kcal.
Week three and four of McDonald’s Great Tastes of America brings us to South Carolina, and another new burger – the South Carolina Stack.
Great Tastes of America is a great way for McDonald’s to showcase its ingenuity and daring without necessarily committing to permanent new ingredients.
Last year’s New York Stack was so popular it is back this year.
The South Carolina Stack is a new one, and it is built around a “sweet Carolina sauce” which is mustard-based.
That is big. Mustard isn’t quite Marmite, but it definitely isn’t for everyone. More on that shortly.
It is hard to tell how well this one will sell, but when I went (on day one of its presence) it was a busy lunchtime and there were none ready. I had to wait for a fresh one – fine by me.
Overall, I am impressed by the packaging – a matching GTA promo burger box and cup. But if the drinks cups can be branded with Great Tastes of America, why not the fries box?
Anyway, I opened it up and immediately recognised this one was struggling to match the promo photos.
Now, it’s a big ask for real-life burgers to match the promo shots exactly, given the fine-detail and labour that goes into creating the latter, so it isn’t a deciding factor for me.
However, this one did seem to be a bit keen on the lettuce, as you can see from the photos, and lettuce is not my favourite topping.
Deconstructing this one in my mind, it was effectively a bacon double cheeseburger with a mustard-based sauce, so the enjoyment was going to come largely from that sauce.
On paper, there are onions in here, and I did see some, but along with the bacon and the smoky cheese, they got lost in the depths of the sauce, which is a bit of a shame.
And I think that is the crux of it.
Yes, the sauce was daringly different from other sweet sauces found more often on burgers – sweet BBQ, sweet chilli etc. But it is very obviously mustard and that could put as many people off as it does invite them in.
It’s not mustard in its purest sense – the sweetness does come through.
Finally, this burger sits within a cornbread style bun and I enjoyed that – it is a good colour and a robust bun with a slightly different taste from the regular burger buns both here and at other outlets. I’d be very happy to see this used more.
In summary, I’m very, very happy to see McDonald’s daring to experiment with ingredients and I really do hope they continue to do so.
This particular sauce is fine on a limited-time offer like this but I can’t see it going on the menu permanently.
I’m glad I had it as it shows me McDonald’s continue to develop new ideas, but on a personal note, I’d rather have had the Ranch California Chicken.