Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Almost-Not-Quite Pretzel-y, Bacon-y

Categories: Fast Times

Photos by Christina Uticone
I am really starting to become a sucker for promotional burgers. Lately, every time I go through the drive-thru with Good Salad Intentions I end up with whatever special burger promotion is going on. This time, it was Wendy's--because who can resist a bacon cheddar burger, especially when it comes on a pretzel bun?

Wendy's calls the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger "a delicious new twist on our classic hot-n-juicy cheeseburger with a sweet & smoky honey mustard sauce, melted cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon all on a warm, soft pretzel bun."

Let's explore the accuracy of that statement.

Basing a "new" burger entirely on simply changing the bun is a tricky strategy, because that bun had better be pretty epic. I certainly liked the look of my Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger -- a dark, caramelized bun that housed a beef patty; melted cheddar cheese; dark and leafy lettuce (green and purple!); and visual evidence of the aforementioned "sweet & smoky honey mustard sauce."

Unfortunately, the visuals do not translate into a winning cheeseburger. You can see the honey mustard sauce, but it gets lost in the more-than-a-little-greasy cheese. And you know what else doesn't work? A dry hamburger patty paired with cheese grease. The bottom of the to-go container was covered in a slick of grease that, as close as I could tell, was coming from the layer of cheese between the burger patty and the bun -- the burger was so dry, how could it possibly be coming from the meat? It was a strange, and unpleasant, combination of textures.

As for the bacon, I finally found some around the fifth or sixth bite, but again, we're talking about an ingredient that gets largely lost in the grease pit. Finally, the star of the show, the "soft pretzel bun." Soft is not a word I would use to describe the bun; in fact, it was a lot closer to an actual pretzel than to a pretzel roll -- dry, chalky, almost dusty when tasted on its own. I think you have to skip this one, guys -- I expect a lot more for my 680 fast-food calories than grease and cheese.

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My Voice Nation Help

I got over the special/promotional/limited-time-only/artisan burgers many burgers ago. I stick to the classic: double meat, double cheese, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato slices. Even better: a 1/2-lb. burger medium rare, with cheddar, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato slices. On the occasion when I want to get exotic, I might add jalapenos, chili, maybe even a fried egg. I was never a fan of bacon strips on a burger. But grind the bacon into the beef, and I'll be there in line. Not too much of a fan of artisan hot dogs in Houston (recently moved back home after a stay in Chicago; I make an exception for Hot Dog's in Chicago). The Huntin' Dog at James Coney Island was disappointing. I'll stick to the original Coney, no cheese, extra onions, and, on occasion, the Chicago-style dog (a pretty damn good version of that ilk) and the New York dog (I do love hot dogs, kraut and mustard).

Bruce_Are topcommenter

Ouch. I recently did the opposite of you and went to Wendy's to get the pretzel burger but panicked and got a salad at the last minute.  Speaking of pretzel buns, I went to JCI and got the Huntin' Dog, which is that gourmet hotdog on a pretzel bun that cost somewhere between $6 and $7.  Tasted like an ordinary chili dog to me.  I'd pay no more than $3 for it if I had to do it again.


@Bruce_Are Hasn't the Huntin' Dog been replaced already? I agree though, the only thing special about it was that you could only get it in June. The pretzel bun was from Slow Dough. I thought Houston foodies weren't supposed to speak ill of Slow Dough.

conebaby topcommenter

@Bruce_Are How was the salad? Was it the new berry thing? That's the one I intended on getting, but didn't. I still haven't done JCI--might be an appropriate weekend to do so.

FattyFatBastard topcommenter

@SirRon @Bruce_Are It has been replaced.  I'm going to try all 6 in the coming months and do a review on how each was.  As to the Huntin' dog, the stars were the chili and cilantro additions.  The bun was really disappointing.  The weiner was embarrassing. 

Bruce_Are topcommenter


The Baja Salad kind of sucked.  JITB makes a better one.  I usually get the Cobb salad at Wendy's which I find to be pretty good.

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