Don't act surprised: as soon as news emerged that Burger King in the US was releasing a Bacon Sundae, obviously we were going to have a go at our own. We made a bacon milkshake, after all. This should have been easier and more tasteful. So why is Gizmodo's editor Luke Hopewell looking so nauseated?
Hungry Jack's, our local Burger King equivalent, isn't releasing a Bacon Sundae right now. So we've been forced to make our own. Essentially, the Burger King bacon sundae is just a standard fast-food joint ice cream sundae with some bacon added to it. After careful consideration, we decided to try three variants ourselves:
- Grabbing a standard chocolate sundae ($2.95) from our nearest Hungry Jack's and adding some freshly-cooked bacon to it.
- Grabbing a premade frozen Crunchie Sundae ($1.99 on special) from our nearest supermarket and adding some freshly-cooked bacon to it. The US Sundae goes heavy on the caramel, so in some ways this provides a closer parallel to the US experience.
- For the frugal: grabbing some Home Brand ice cream ($2.39 for 2 litres) and chocolate topping ($1.86), and adding some freshly cooked bacon to it. For this option, we also heated the sauce, which is what happens in the States.
The supermarket ingredients version is undoubtedly the cheapest on a per-serve basis, but it was always going to be a fundamentally different experience, since frozen ice-cream doesn't have the same texture as soft serve. You could spend much more on upmarket versions of the same ingredients, but at a certain point just buying it from Hungry Jack's (or McDonald's) would end up seeming easier.
So with our frozen ingredients assembled, the first step is to prepare the bacon:
While that was cooking, we nuked the sauce lightly and poured it over the ice-cream:
We decided to go for a mixture of large chunks of bacon (for that wafer effect) and chopped pieces for flavour. In this case, a picture or three is definitely worth a thousand words:
As usual, I got to be the taste tester for this questionable experiment. First up, the Burger King version. Simply put: I liked this. Sweet and savoury work well together, and the silky texture of the ice cream contrasts nicely with the grilled bacon.
Next up was the Home Brand version. This was OK, but the hot topping and bacon had melted the ice cream and the whole experience seemed somewhat blander.
The outright failure was the Crunchie variant. The strong caramel flavour and the bacon didn't go well together at all. There was no way I could have finished eating this one.
Time for a second opinion. As we established in our bacon milkshake tests, our PHP guru Rob is British and will eat virtually any crap that's sufficiently sweet. He happily sampled all three, picked the Burger King version as the best and agreed that the Crunchie shake was utterly rancid.
He certainly reacted better that Gizmodo's Luke Hopewell. Participating in his first Allure Media taste test, he was less than thrilled even at the prospect, and the reality was no better. "Bacon is good. Ice cream is good. But together they are awful!" At least he didn't throw up. Or at least not in front of us.
So is this experiment worth repeating? If you've got some bacon to hand, are willing to buy a sundae and like the sound of it, it's surprisingly enjoyable. But if the mere thought puts you off, don't try and fight off that initial revulsion. Chances are your stomach will thank you.