Taster Showdown: Big Mac vs. Big King
by The Taster
It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Burger King recently did their best to reproduce McDonald’s signature burger with their version of the Big Mac: the Big King. I decided to put these fast food behemoths to the test, in a one-on-one battle with the heavyweight bout featuring the Mac vs the King in this culinary contest. I reviewed not only these two burgers, but ranch chicken snack wrap as the lightweight match, and also fries and drinks. This caloric hedonistic voyage to both McDonald’s and BK was a brave quest, and I knew I would have to sacrifice my body for the greater good, but it was a challenge that The Taster embraced and relished in all its saturated fat glory.
Appetizer: McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Ranch Snackwrap vs BK Ranch Crispy Chicken WrapBK
A mix of chicken finger, ranch sauce, lettuce, cheese, and wrap, the ingredients in both items were the same. The taste however was a different story. The blend of spices on the chicken from McDonald’s blew BK’s out of the water. The spices in the McDonald’s wrap paired well with the tangy ranch sauce, whereas the BK chicken was bland and drenched in a ranch sauce, the ratio was way off.
Round One to McDonald’s
Drinks: Medium Diet Coke vs Medium Diet Coke
The irony in drinking Diet Coke during this meal is beyond me, but that’s beside the point. When it comes to drinks, size matters. BK stole the show with this and not only was it bigger (both being mediums), but it tasted better as well. It had a lemony hint to it, whether that was intended or it was just leftover in the pipes from the drink before, it was a pleasant surprise. Bonus: BK has one of those drink machines that is fully customizable including flavors like raspberry, lemon, lime to all drinks…impressive.
Round Two to Burger King
Fries: Medium Fry vs Medium Fry
As the burger’s best friend, the fry’s job is to complement the burger, and add a supporting role to the main character. Upon looking at the fries, there is a noticeable difference. BK goes with a thicker cut, less salted, more uniform sized fry. McD’s fry is a classic that is superfluously saturated in sodium and is thin cut. To be honest, both fries tasted well, but for me, I loved the flavor that McDonald’s fries had, and they were terribly addicting, where as BK’s fries were left to be desired.
Round Three to McDonald’s
Intangibles: Price and Calories
I don’t go to McDonald’s or BK because I’m a health conscious person. I go because the food is relatively cheap, delicious, and convenient. The total price from BK rang in at $8.43. The caloric intake came in at 1280 calories, 37 grams of protein, and 67 grams of fat. McDonald’s rang in at $9.07, 1270 calories, 44 grams of protein, and 66 grams of fat. In the end, this round goes to BK, a bigger drink and less money for the same items.
ROUND GOES TO BK
Main Event: Burger King’s Big King vs McDonald’s Big Mac
Components include the sesame seed bun, the special sauce, the pickles, the lettuce and the cheese (I ordered both with no onions. The Taster hates onions unless they’re fried. McDonald’s minces their onions, where as BK serves raw rings. Either way I left them off). I was going to do a blind taste test, but quickly realized that would be null and void, seeing that there are small but important discrepancies between the two and I would have known the difference.
The Big King: BK has made a valiant attempt in reproducing McD’s popular burger, and has added their signature flavor of flame-grilled patties to the mix. Bk’s version was tasty, and a nice twist on the classic. The sauce was flavored well, and the fire-grilled gave a different flavor. However, the fire-grilled patty also took away from the special sauce and that charcoal taste resonated throughout, overwhelming and emasculating every other flavor. It was as though BK tried to assert their influence which led to the flavors playing a game of tug-of-war, rather than assisting each other in a savory symphony. The buns were also too dry, and the presentation was poor in that it was wrapped not boxed, and seemed to be toppled over.
The Big Mac The reigning champion of signature burgers, coming in at a little under one pound, is a classic veteran that has been the champ since its introduction to the game in 1967. The burger is a blend of salty, sweet, hearty goodness that combines the tenderness of two burgers, the gooeyness of melted cheese, the pillowy softness from the buns, some salty sliced pickles, shredded lettuce, and the signature piece that ties it all together known as “special sauce.” Something of legend, this sauce adds sweetness to the tower of terror. It’s been a staple of McD’s menu since its introduction, and it has been for a reason. It has the perfect blend of burger to lettuce to cheese to bun to sauce ratio, each having their own role, all coming together for that perfect bite of guilt and deliciousness. It also comes in a box, not a wrap, which preserves the presentation and keeps it from getting smushed and toppled. If I had to have a con, it would be that the sauce can sometimes overpower the overall taste. Sometimes the they can get a little wild and overly ambitious with the sauce, but that’s a minute detail.
Final Round to McDonald’s
Final Decision: McDonald’s
I applaud BK for having the fortitude to literally say “Wow, I like what you’re doing, we’re going to steal your idea and copy you” in their culinary marketing campaign. I don’t now if they just ran out of ideas, or if they truly thought they could fight fire with fire, but there is no comparison. The defending champion still has the throne, the King is not the king in this case, it’s all about the Mac. BK lacked the refinement in the wrap, fries and burger. McDonald’s was just too much for the fast food “king”. McDonald’s know what they do, and they know what they do well, and the Big Mac is something they know they do very well. Their fries are a perfect compliment, and the snack wrap is a delicious way to get some fried white meat in the meal. The Big Mac was an attack that could not be stopped, and overall my calorically induced coma that came after this Taster Test probably took years off my life, but was it worth it for the greater good? I think yes.
On a side note, I consumed 2,550 calories/81 grams of protein/133 grams of fat/and spent $17.50. All for the people.
The Taster is BHS News’s anonymous food critic, specializing in unhealthy fast food. Would you like The Taster to review a restaurant or food item? Leave a comment below.