The Taste Bud: In search of The Baconator

As much as I profess my love for bacon — OK, all meat — one would think I eat a lot of burgers and steaks. And barbecue. And random slabs of pork. And oxen.

But I don’t. And I don’t eat a lot of fast food, either. I prefer to eat locally whenever possible, and I tend to gravitate toward chicken and seafood as well. I generally feel better when I minimize my intake of red meat.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist writing a Taste Bud column on this burger. Why? Because when I see the Wendy’s commercials for The Baconator, I still have a hard time believing it even exists. It’s like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Yeah, maybe there are pictures of them floating around, but until I can see one for myself, I’m going to be skeptical.

I also was having a difficult time believing that a) Somehow the Wendy’s marketing folks thought The Baconator was a good idea, and b) They apparently were right.

Anyway, I went in search of this Baconator thing, and sure enough, it does exist. It’s also more than $5, and it weighs as much as my head. (Remember the similar sandwich Hardee’s rolled out? The Monster Thickburger? I weighed one of those once on a postage scale, and it was so dense that it actually cost more to mail it than to buy it. But I digress.)

I will say this much: If you are a meat lover, you’ll likely think The Baconator is delicious. It includes two quarter-pound patties of ground beef and six strips of bacon. Oh, and two slices of cheese, which aren’t meat, but are still delicious. Of course, you can get whatever other toppings you want, but why spoil a good meat orgy with vegetables?

The first thing I noticed when I unwrapped the beast was that there was grease everywhere. It literally was pooling in the wrapper. And by the time I finished the sandwich, grease coated my hands — I used three or four napkins during the course of my lunch just to wipe away grease. Mmm, grease.

But before I could even taste this legendary Baconator, my meat-neutral girlfriend Cynthia was eyeballing it and asking for a bite. What is it about this thing that is so fascinating? Well, I took the first bite, and it was exactly as you would imagine — really meaty. It also was so thick that it was straining my jaw muscles.

After several bites, I had to admit I rather liked it, but right at the halfway mark, a change began. First, I started to have what I can best describe as a sinking feeling. Then I began to feel flushed. It was almost as if the spirits of the dead cow and pig on my sandwich were passing through my body, filling me with dread.

And then burp No. 1 came out. Bleah. I bet that’s what evil smells like. This is when I began to involuntarily take smaller and less frequent bites. The flushed feeling went away, but I still felt sinking and slightly uneasy. In fact, when I stopped at one point to jot down some notes for this article, Cynthia said, “Are you writing out your will?”

Let’s face it: What I put in my body that day just wasn’t what my body wanted or needed. When I was a teenager, I probably could have eaten two of them and not missed a beat, but at my current age, well, let’s just say there’s a reason I eat lighter.

In case you were wondering, The Baconator (without any added toppings) contains 970 calories and 63 fat grams. That’s nearly half the recommended daily intake for a guy my size and age, and I didn’t even bring up the more than 2,000 mg of sodium. If you add fries and a soda to that, you’re already looking at skipping a meal just to break even.

Then again, it could be argued that if you’re eating a Baconator voluntarily, you may not care about caloric intake. Or even living much longer.

I can still hardly believe Wendy’s rolled out a Triple Baconator (!) a while back. I read an post about a guy in Canada who tried to eat two of those things, and he threw up halfway through the second one. Having eaten one regular Baconator myself, I can truly say it is probably better that the triple version remains extinct.