Lately, I’ve been hitting the bulk of my burger bucket list scores. There was the Big Mac back in November, and the Wendy’s Flatbreads earlier this summer. And today, I finally checked another sandwich off the list, a veritable one-two punch to the heart: the Baconator and Son of Baconator. Recently, Wendy’s unveiled the pint-sized burger as a smaller counterpart to the original bacon-heavy sandwich. I was given the opportunity to try the two sandwiches side-by-side and see which sandwich reigned supreme.
If you haven’t had the Baconator, it’s worth a try. While the $6.49 price tag and 940 calories of bacony, beefy goodness may deter some, it can be approached carefully if you split it with a friend or whack it into a few meals. In its most perfect form, it’s a pure umami-bomb, with a wonderful sweet flavor from the ketchup and mayo, and an intense savory foundation from the beef, bacon, and cheese. The bacon is thick, crispy, and salty, and the bun is solid without being too dense or crumbly, sealing everything together neatly. Unless your burger artist has a heavy hand with any of the condiments, it’s bound to be an indulgent treat, albeit daunting at first. However, its shortfalls lie in the balance of flavor: the 1/2 lb. of beef threatens to overwhelm the ingredients, and teeters on the brink of indulgence vs. greasiness. It’s too flavorful to really taste the remaining ingredients, and the monolithic flavor causes it to fall flat.
And then there’s the Son of Baconator. Like most parent-child relationships, the son exceeds where its predecessor stumbles. In this sense, the Son of Baconator fills the greasy, delicious shoes of its dad with finesse. Where the Baconator lacks balance, the Son plays the mediator, trying, and succeeding to please both parties. Scaling down the beef to 1/4 lb. in two patties offers more crunch and surface area for crispy end bits (!!!) and lets the cheese melt into the crannies. Neither the patties in the Baconator or Son were overcooked or dry and both sandwiches were liberally seasoned.
The 2:1 ratio of bacon to 1/8 lb. of meat in Son works much better than the 3:2 in the double Baconator. This burger is delicious and indulgent without the regret, although the 700 calories push this into a treat category for me rather than an every-day favorite. All in all, this is one Wendy’s family member I’d definitely check out again.