McDonald’s has been making many changes lately. The menu has been stripped down, and yet new items have been added. The moves are strategic, and are an attempt to fix the struggling chain. McDonald’s has been facing problems for years. Enter the new Sirloin Third Pound Burgers.
When we first saw the new burgers, we knew this was a review that was a must for Fewd Snobs. McDonald’s is the “go to” place, especially when we can’t decide on anything else. So trying new burgers sounded good to us.
McDonald’s has tried many times before to introduce new burgers to the menu that would draw higher sales and appeal to a broader audience. For example, they tried the Angus burgers. These items didn’t last long. What makes the new Sirloin burgers stand out is that McDonald’s is not following a trend. If McDonald’s had brought out a pretzel bun, for example, we would have walked right back out the door! Instead, they are introducing something that is intended to be a higher quality, not just something that is trendy.
So, off to McDonald’s we went. We ordered all three, with a large fries and a couple of Cokes for good measure.
When we first took these out of the bag, both of us reacted. The boxes are HUGE. These are WAY bigger than a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder. Now the real test would be what we saw when we opened the boxes.
The first thing we noticed is that the burgers actually take up the whole box! Amazing! And since they are in a box, they aren’t crushed. What is more irritating than opening up a burger only to find a smashed and runny mess?? That wasn’t the case here. The burgers actually look pleasing. The buns aren’t crushed. The toppings come out of the sides nicely (on at least two of the burgers). We stood for a minute marveling at the fact that these burgers almost look like the ads! This just doesn’t happen in fast food, right??
The trio of burgers certainly are off to a good start. So, let’s take a look at each burger individually…
Steakhouse:The Steakhouse burger seems to us to be the featured burger of the three, and is certainly the “fanciest,” depending on your definition. It comes up first on McDonald’s website. Some aspects of these burgers apply to all three, such as the burger itself and the cheese. We will cover those in the Steakhouse portion, since we tried it first.
The Steakhouse burger is described by McDonald’s as, “…with sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions and white cheddar plus creamy peppercorn sauce atop our premium bun.”
The first thing to notice with this burger is it is not piled high with toppings sticking out like on the ads and the pics on the website. That said, once you dive into the burger there is actually quite a bit to offer.
First you will notice, as with all the burgers, that there are TWO pieces of cheese (one on top and one on the bottom of the burger). This is a real highlight of all of the burgers. McDonald’s says that the cheese is white cheddar. McDonald’s does make a note to put two asterisks after the words though. Upon inspection, this reveals that the cheese is “pasteurized process.” We really don’t care if that is the case or not. The Fewd Snobs agree that this cheese is GOOD. There is a major difference between the white cheddar and the regular yellow American cheese on other McDonald’s burgers. And that difference is that this cheese doesn’t taste like salt! It actually tastes like cheese, not just a pile of salt! And it seems to get “meltier” compared to the regular American. The cheese truly is a major part of these burgers, and we love it.
Now we get to the “meat and potatoes” of the review…or we guess just the meat. The meat is truly different than regular McDonald’s beef. The consistency is different. It is very difficult to put this into words. The texture of the meat makes it seem like it actually went through a grinder. Herman has some background with grinding his meat (HO HO!) and he says so. Regular McDonald’s beef patties seem more formed and pressed, so to speak. They are kind of mushy. These patties aren’t. The meat looks lean. It does appear to be real sirloin! Despite being so lean, it isn’t dried out. It kind of looks dry, but when you bite into it, you quickly find that it is juicy and flavorful. The flavor of the meat is well-seasoned. It isn’t bland. According to the website, the meat is seasoned with (among other things) salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce powder. The meat is also said to be 100% pure USDA inspected sirloin beef with no fillers and no extenders. There is a strong beef flavor that is kind of absent with the regular beef. We agree that this meat is a huge step up of from McDonald’s regular beef.
Finally, the bun used on these burgers is different. McDonald’s calls it a “premium bun,” and it is. It isn’t as soft as the regular bun, but it isn’t hard either. It is a perfect balance of texture, and has a great taste that doesn’t take over, but doesn’t get lost and not matter either.
Now, to get back to the Steakhouse burger, the main feature of this burger is the sauteed mushrooms and grilled onions. Denny was particularly determined to hate this stuff. He has never been a big fan of mushroom burgers. Herman would have never thought to try a mushroom burger at a fast food place.
All that said, we are both are big fans. The mushrooms and the onions actually appear to be sauteed in a sauce. The sauce has an excellent and bold flavor. The mushrooms and onions are both distinctive. The flavor of each comes through independently. These aren’t little bits. There are whole mushrooms and nice slices of onions. The mushrooms aren’t too rubbery, but aren’t tough. They are exactly as they should be. The same goes for the onions. Both melded into the cheese perfectly. And despite them not being piled on as high as in the advertising, there were plenty of mushrooms and onions.
We have to talk about the peppercorn sauce. This is a supposed ingredient, but we didn’t see it. We didn’t taste it. In fact, we think they forgot it on our test burger. If it was there, it wasn’t much. We certainly couldn’t detect it. But that said, this burger was so good, we didn’t miss it. We didn’t care. We will try it again to see if the sauce is included, but honestly, we don’t think it is needed. We can see it fit the burger, but we still didn’t miss it. The mushrooms and onions along with the burger itself makes the whole thing. UPDATE: We went back and tried it again. This time they had the peppercorn sauce. We will say that it was pretty good. There was indeed a strong pepper flavor. So not bad. Now all they need to do is remember to put it on there every time.
To get the point, this is a good burger. Period. This burger stands on its own. There is no need for other toppings. This is a step above McDonald’s standard fare, and we love it.
Lettuce and Tomato:
The Lettuce and Tomato version of the sirloin burgers has leaf lettuce, tomato, red onions, white cheddar cheese, mustard, and mayonnaise. No ketchup on this one. McDonald’s appears to be going for a classic, standard cheeseburger here.
The meat is identical to our first test burger, as is the cheese and bun. If we thought the meat was a fluke on the first burger, tasting this one confirmed that it is not. The meat is excellent. The whole difference, obviously, is the toppings.
And this is where we have some debate between the Fewd Snobs…an unofficial Fewd Fight!…
Herman’s Thoughts: Well kids, we finally have something that I am not a fan of! I really didn’t think this was very good. Which is funny, because I really liked the previous burger. The combination was great there, but not here. While the burger, cheese, and bun were fine, the toppings on this particular burger is what killed it for me. Now, I will say that I am not overly fond of the lettuce you get on these “artisan” style burgers. It’s some kind of green leaf Boston lettuce or some shit. It may look pretty, but it tastes like dirt to me. Also, the piece I had was starting to brown. YUCK! Someone save me from this crap. Give me iceberg lettuce any day!
The other thing about these toppings, as I think is clear in the picture above, is the way they are layered on the burger. They aren’t consistent. On one side you have a huge slice of tomato, and on the other side you have a small sliver of lettuce with red onion and pickles. It just isn’t appealing. Next you have the onion. I am usually a fan of onions, but for whatever reason I think it overpowered the burger here. Mostly I just tasted it and nothing else after I was finished. I would have probably preferred McDonald’s usual white onion.
What I didn’t mind about this burger was the missing ketchup. I think it would have been too much, so they did okay there. I also didn’t mind the mayo, but here again I like having mayo on a burger.
So overall for me, I am not a big fan. It wasn’t a bad burger. I would just get one of the other ones over this. I think this one is just up to your personal tastes. Now we get to hear Denny rave about how good this burger is. Think I’ll go take a nap.
Denny’s Thoughts: Herman should go take a nap, because he is out of his tree on this one! I liked this burger. It is a traditional cheeseburger.
Unlike Herman, I like the leaf lettuce. It wasn’t as crisp as it could be, but I am not complaining. It was crisp enough. I thought the flavor of the lettuce blended well with the burger, and I like that the lettuce isn’t the plain old iceberg strips that are on the McChicken. I didn’t see any browning on my sample, which is funny because Herman and I tested the same burger. We just cut it in half.
The tomatoes were excellent. They were very fresh. This struck me, honestly. I was surprised how perfect the tomato slices were. The mayonnaise had a good flavor, and there was just enough on the burger to know it was there, but not too much! We all have had a burger where way too much mayo or sauce was glopped on it, and that ruins the whole thing. The proportion was perfect. There was just enough mustard on the burger to know it is there, but not enough to overtake the whole thing. Again, I would say the proportion was perfect. I like the onions on the burger. They add just enough zip, but again, don’t dominate. The pickles add a nice flavor too, although pickles are not listed in McDonald’s description of the burger. Overall, I think that all the toppings blend perfectly to create a very good, traditional cheeseburger.
My only complaint is that the toppings were not distributed evenly on the burger. On this, Herman and I agree. You can see what I mean in the pictures. One half seemed to have most of the onions, while the other half had more tomato. This can be fixed with a little rearranging, but we wanted you to see the burger exactly as we got it. I absolutely do not understand why it is so tough for fast food places to put lettuce, tomato, and onions evenly on a burger. But if that is my one bitch, then I can’t complain too much. The burger was very good, and I would definitely get it again. I will go so far as to say, I forgot I was eating McDonald’s while eating this burger. It tasted more like a sit-down restaurant burger than a fast food one. Herman doesn’t know good fewd if it hit in him the head!
Bacon and Cheese:
For the final burger, we have the Bacon and Cheese. McDonald’s describes it as, “…prepared with savory bacon, crispy red onions, pickles and melted white cheddar, plus ketchup and mustard atop our premium bun.” We found this combination to be interesting. No lettuce and tomato here, yet the onions remain. No mayo. Here we have ketchup and mustard. Interesting.
As in the other burgers, we have the same meat, bun, and two pieces of cheddar. Not so surprisingly, the standout on this burger is the bacon. There were at least three pieces of bacon on the burger, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was plenty. There was bacon with every bite. This bacon is actually GOOD. It isn’t that fake, pre-made typical fast food bacon. We aren’t sure how they prepare it, but it has a very good flavor. McDonald’s describes it as, “thick cut applewood smoked bacon.” This is good stuff. We should note that this is the same bacon that is on the bacon McDouble. So the bottom line is, McDonald’s has good bacon, and it isn’t exclusive to the sirloin burger.
Although the bacon is the dominant flavor, the other toppings blend very well. The onions add flavor, but don’t overpower and take away from the bacon. There was quite a bit of ketchup and mustard as you can see in the picture, but there wasn’t too much. It blended with the overall taste, and didn’t overflow off the burger.
We can’t say much more. The flavor is very good with all the ingredients combined. McDonald’s must have done its homework in the test kitchens to come up with this combination. The Fewd Snobs agree on this one. It is a good burger, and we would get it again.
Now that we have looked at all three burgers, we wanted to mention the price. In our market, these burgers range from $5-$5.30. And that is just for the burger itself. Fries and a drink are 2 bucks more to make it a meal. At first glance, we thought this was a little expensive. McDonald’s is struggling, and yet it is introducing high-end burgers and charging 5 bucks just for a burger. That said, while we were waiting for the burgers to be made, we really looked at the menu. A Big Mac is $3.99. A Quarter Pounder is $3.79. This isn’t that much more considering what you get. The meat is a higher quality. The toppings are a higher quality. To get the burger, a large fries, and a large drink (Fewd Snobs only order large, you see!), the meal would be about $7.50-$8. Remember, the burger itself is huge.
Bottom line – we ordered all three burgers, 1 large fries, and 2 large drinks. The total was $20.78 with tax. We sampled these by cutting them in half. So each of us had a burger and a half, split a large fries, and we were both STUFFED. We’re telling you, busting at the seams stuffed! It’s not easy to get us stuffed! So we say these burgers are a good value.
Overall, we are fans of the new sirloin burgers. We WILL be returning to get them again. We will go so far as to say that we would like to see these added to the permanent menu. Good job, McDonald’s. We hope these are successful for you.