Deluxe Angus Third Pounder - What Hath McD's Wrought?

August 17, 2009

McDonald's sells more burgers than any other company on the planet, and few outside of that organization would attribute this achievement to the quality of the food. It's a restaurant that foodies love to hate, representing everything bad about the prefab nature of fast food.

We'd heard through the grapevine that McDonald's had a new burger coming out that would change our minds about the company. We'd heard that before. (Anyone remember the Arch Deluxe? Big 'n' Tasty?")
So it was with very low expectations that we headed to the local McDonald's, a surprisingly attractive store located on Woodlands Parkway near Gosling. Nestled amidst the trees, it's far less jarring that the orgy of bright colors that marks most of the chain's locations. We ordered our Deluxe Angus Third Pounder (the cheese and bacon variant) and awaited its delivery.
We opened the now-familiar cardboard coffin, and gazed upon this new burger. First impressions were surprisingly good. It's large, veggies look fresh, and the cheese was melted and reasonably oozy. The single patty was thick and obviously machine formed.
Did it look like the marketing images? Of course not, but we've never seen any fast food burger that did.
Now what about the taste. We dug in, and were pleasantly surprised. The large, dense patty had a nice beefy flavor that wasn't overpowered by the condiments, and the veggies were nice and crisp, with a fresh taste. The onions deserve special mention; they were actual onion slices, not the chopped, processed Onion McNuggets that McDonald's puts on the rest of its burgers.
All in all we were pleasantly surprised by the burger. We've always considered McDonald's to be a distant last among the other big chains when it came to burgers, but now they've achieved parity; we think the Deluxe Angus Third Pounder is a comparable product to the deluxe burgers offered by other national fast food chains.
Now let's see McDonald's take that next step: A burger that can compete with Beck's Prime or SmashBurger. C'mon, Ronald. We're waiting.
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