The news that US takeout chain Jack In The Box is now selling bacon milkshakes has inspired excitement and revulsion in equal measure. Given our addiction to recreating fast-food icons and the lack of a local store selling bacon-laden milky goodness, there was only one thing to do: make one ourselves. The result? It's possible, but we don't recommend it.
Conceptually, one of the most disturbing things about the Jack In The Box milkshake is that it doesn't actually contain any bacon (even vegans can eat it). We like our bacon real, thanks very much.
A quick Google search reveals plenty of bacon milkshake recipes, with this one, combining bacon and maple syrup, the most commonly cited. But we rejected this one quickly for two reasons.
Firstly, using maple syrup is a tad too obvious, and takes out the savoury bacon edge. Secondly, the recipe actually only uses rendered bacon fat, not bacon itself. Not good enough.
Most other recipes take a simpler approach: combine milk, ice cream and bacon. We decided to simplify the process even further, and combine some bacon with a vanilla shake from the nearest McDonald's.
Why? Firstly so we didn't have to buy a bunch of ice cream. Secondly, because there's a long-standing urban myth that McDonald's uses pig fat in its shakes. I'm not sure whether this rumour started because of the thick texture of the shakes, or because they get described as "shakes" rather than "milkshakes", but a quick perusal of the McDonald's ingredients list demonstrates that it's not true. Nonetheless, it seemed fitting to pay homage to the myth as well as saving ourselves a certain amount of hassle.
Initially we were going to cook the bacon in our office microwave, but then realised that a crispier piece of bacon would pulverise better. After remembering that cooking bacon in the oven is one of the most efficient methods, we prepped up a batch and took it into Allure HQ, ready to blend.
Despite going lazy with the shake, we wanted serious equipment for this project. Fortunately, our publisher Danny is a fiend for expensive kitchen appliances, and loaned us his $895 Vitamix blender for the occasion.
The project got off to an unpromising start when the McDonald's nearest our office wasn't selling shakes, because its machine was broken. Fortunately, McDonald's infests the Sydney CBD, so we only had to walk another couple of blocks to get two vanilla shakes (large).
Armed with our raw ingredients, the first step was to pulverise the bacon using the blender. Despite its epic and noisy performance, we didn't actually manage to grind the bacon down to a fine dust.
To get that result, I would have had to bake the bacon into oblivion. So eventually we settled for 'tiny chunks', began with a small quantity, added one shake, and blended it up.
It smelt revolting. Mark from Kotaku made some unpalatable comparisons to dog genitalia which I won't repeat fully on a family site, but it didn't put me in mind to drink it. But I did.
And you know what? It didn't taste bacon-y enough. Gizmodo editor Alex agreed.
Clearly, we needed more. So another healthy handful of pulverised bacon was added, and we tested again.
The second batch definitely had a bacon edge. It tasted like a bacon milkshake, but that isn't — as most of the US tasters also attest — something you'd probably want to drink. It was, honestly, revolting.
Obviously, I'm only one person though, so we got a few other people to try it. Here's a summary:
Our night editor Elly was unimpressed: "You do not want to know what it tastes like."
Our PHP guru Rob didn't mind it: "It's OK, it just needs to be a bit sweeter."
Liam, one of our ad guys, minced no words: "That does not taste good."
PopSugar editor Jess had two sips, and then said: "I don't think I can drink any more."
But the most violent reaction came from Kotaku's Mark, who drank it and then vomited repeatedly. (He was feeling a little poorly already, so we had a bin positioned just in case.) His final word? "This is worse than the olives!"
The ultimate lesson? No, it's not difficult to blend bacon — real bacon — into a milkshake if that's your thing. But quite frankly life's too short. Do something else with bacon instead.
Coming soon: the video!