We Blind Tested Bacon Double Cheeseburgers In Search Of The Most Decadent & Delicious

Quick — imagine a delicious, juicy, savory, flavor bomb of a decadent cheeseburger. You know, the sort of cheeseburger that kicks the salivary glands into overdrive and causes you to close your eyes and revel in perfect layer upon perfect layer of umami. Was there bacon on this imaginary burger? We’re willing to bet there was bacon. Few single ingredients can as easily elevate a cheeseburger as a few strips of bacon.

And you know what? This might sound crazy but I think the best bacon cheeseburgers are found in the big, ubiquitous national chains, not the higher-end, trendier spots like Shake Shack and In-n-Out. Have you had Shake Shack’s Bacon Shake Burger? The bacon is so thin and flimsy, it’s an embarrassment to the menu. In-N-Out doesn’t even have a bacon burger! Meanwhile, Wendy’s is out here basing whole meal deals around their excess of bacon.

So the next time you’re feeling a craving for a satisfying bacon burger where is your money best spent? We’re going to find out by putting our favorite fast food bacon cheeseburgers to the blind taste test.

Methodology

For this blind taste test, we had to make sure we hit up all the biggest burger chains — Burger King, Carl’s Jr. Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s. A couple of months back I did a blind double cheeseburger taste test, so I already had a driving route worked out that would allow me to scoop up five different cheeseburgers relatively quickly.

Only one of these burger chains, Wendy’s, was totally out of the way. That stacked the cards against Wendy’s as, unfortunately, it would be the coldest burger of the five. Would that make it not taste as good? Was it unfair? We thought about leaving out Wendy’s as a result, but it felt wrong to have a blind bacon cheeseburger taste test without the mighty Baconator.

Here is our lineup:

  • Burger King — Bacon King
  • Carl’s Jr. — Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger
  • Jack in the Box — Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger
  • McDonald’s — Double Quarter Pounder With Bacon
  • Wendy’s — Baconator

For the tasting portion, I had my girlfriend bring me each burger one at a time, took a big bite out of each under cover of a blindfold, and recorded my initial impressions and tasting notes via voice memo. For the best photo, I had her cut each burger in half so we could photograph the uneaten half and you wouldn’t have to see my gruesome chew marks.

Here are the results.

Part 1: The Tasting:

Taste 1:

Bacon Burger
Dane Rivera

Dry and a chore to chew through. This burger packs evolving layers of flavors, but the meat tastes overcooked to the point that the only moisture in this burger comes from the mix of mayo and ketchup.

Charred beef dominates, transitioning to smokey bacon notes. The sauce is a mix of tangy and bright sweetened notes, which pair nicely with the sweet bacon flavor that lingers on the aftertaste.

Taste 2:

Bacon Burger
Dane Rivera

Significantly beefier than Taste 1 and incredibly juicy. I’m getting a huge emphasis on the bacon with this burger, every bite is equal parts smokey and beefy. The bacon is cooked perfectly, it’s oily and crispy, but not to the point that it lacks that savory and slightly sweet pork flavor. The beef is rich and satisfying and cooked to a perfect medium-well state — most fast food burgers are dry but this has an almost homemade quality.

The sauce tastes to me like another mix of mayo and ketchup, there is a hint of tang and a nice rich umami finish. This burger is near perfect, but it feels too early to say that. If I had one complaint, I’d say it’s a bit too salty.

Taste 3:

Bacon Burger
Dane Rivera

There are a lot of different flavors going on with this burger, but unlike Taste 1, it’s a strength, not a weakness. It tastes masterfully put together — beefy, salty, and sweet, with some crisp, biting notes courtesy of the raw white onions. The onion is counterbalanced with earthy pickles that help the flavor from spinning out of control and becoming too overwhelming.

The sauce is tangy but with a bitter finish, unlike the sauce used in Tastes 1 and 2. The beef here is really tasty — it melts in the mouth. Unfortunately, it tastes like the bacon takes a major backseat here. It’s a delicious burger, but as a bacon burger, it leaves me feeling some level of disappointment.

Taste 4:

Bacon Burger
Dane Rivera

This burger is a soggy mess. The bacon is thin and struggles to make itself known under the layers of beef we’re dealing with here. However, despite the lack of bacon, there is a very audible crunch to this burger with a flavor dominated by tangy barbecue sauce and savory fried onions.

Again, the bacon tastes like an afterthought here — this burger is all about the barbecue and beef. The beef is charred like Taste 1 but much juicier, or maybe it’s the insane amount of barbecue sauce used, giving the illusion of juiciness. This one lands somewhere in the middle for me for sure.

Taste 5:

Bacon Burger
Dane Rivera

This burger tastes unlike any other in the lineup, and that’s saying something considering Taste 4 threw fried onion rings into the mix.

This burger has a tangy, earthy, and sweet flavor, with a strong emphasis on cheesy notes, decent bacon, and forgettable beef. I love the way the burger is dressed, but the quality of the meat in both the beef and bacon just isn’t doing enough to win me over. The beef tastes unseasoned and the bacon has a microwaved, soggy texture.

Part 2: The Ranking

5. Burger King — Bacon King (Taste 1)

Bacon Burger
Ashley Garcia

We’ll give Burger King this — the “Bacon King” is a great name for a giant double cheeseburger with bacon on it. But great marketing aside, this burger just came across as way too dry to be enjoyable.

A burger that is smothered in ketchup and mayo shouldn’t come across as dry, so that should put into perspective just how dry it actually was. It’s like eating sand. I think BK’s big problem is that they grill their burgers a bit too long to eradicate the fear of foodborne illness. On the one hand, you get some charred notes, but that’s at the expense of juiciness, and call me crazy but I’d rather have a juicy burger than a burnt one.

The Bottom Line:

Thick, filling, but dry and ultimately a chore to chew through.

Find your nearest Burger King here.

4. Jack in the Box — Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger (Taste 5)

Bacon Burger
Ashley Garcia

JiB’s Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger has a very unique flavor, it’s one of the few bacon burgers that goes heavy on the mustard and gives you two different types of cheese — Swiss and American. If that sounds good to you, this burger is definitely worth it.

Unfortunately, its weak points are the beef and bacon — which seem like two very important components to us.

The Bottom Line:

Interesting and uniquely tangy, creamy, and earthy, but the beef is almost flavorless and the bacon is too thin and floppy to enjoy.

Find your nearest Jack in the Box here.

3. Carl’s Jr. — Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger (Taste 4)

Bacon Burger
Ashley Garcia

We love a decadent burger, and the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger is definitely one of the most decadent in the fast food universe, thanks to its combination of beef, bacon, fried onion rings, and a whole lot of barbecue sauce.

But all of those ingredients lead to a very soggy and messy burger. That makes sense as Carl’s Jr’s slogan used to be “If it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face.” If that’s the sort of burger you’re into, Carl’s Jr has got your back.

Ultimately we have to give it the third place spot though, because as good as it is, the bacon feels like an afterthought here. Maybe if this were a ranking of barbecue burgers I’d rank this much higher.

The Bottom Line:

Messy and flavorful, but too soggy for its own good. The double dose of barbecue sauce completely drowns out the bacon flavor.

Find your nearest Carl’s Jr. here.

2. McDonald’s — Double Quarter Pounder with Bacon (Taste 3)

Bacon Burger
Ashley Garcia

McDonald’s Double Bacon Quarter Pounder suffers from the same issue as Carl’s Jr’s Double Bacon Cheeseburger — there isn’t nearly enough bacon here. Like the latter burger, there are too many other ingredients distracting from the bacon, but it’s hard to complain when a beef patty tastes this good.

Back when we did our double cheeseburger blind taste test, several friends and colleagues told me I had to get the value menu double cheeseburger because it was McDonald’s “best burger.” I suspected they were wrong and judging from that ranking, they were. People get nostalgic for that burger because for many it was the very first burger they ever ate, which is probably why it’s a best seller. I think that’s unfortunate because the beef patties used in the Quarter Pounder are significantly better.

Is the McDonald’s double cheeseburger a great value? Sure, but the Quarter Pounder is a great burger, and I’ll gladly pay more for that any day.

The Bottom Line:

A delicious burger that packs a lot of flavors, you can’t go wrong picking up one of these. But is it the best bacon burger in fast food? Not quite.

Find your nearest McDonald’s here.

1. Wendy’s — Baconator (Taste 2)

Bacon Burger
Ashley Garcia

Wendy’s fans probably saw this one coming — the Baconator is just too good to be beaten. Wendy’s isn’t messing around with this thing, they pile on two layers of crispy bacon on top of each patty. That layer that sits between the bottom patty and is encrusted in melted cheese? It’s perfection. The sort of thing that makes all the sodium in fast food worth consuming in a single sitting.

It’s beefy, juicy, savory, smokey, and above all else decadent as f*ck. It’s hard to get through this burger in a single sitting, the waves of savory flavors wage a relentless war on your tastebuds. The real draw here is just how simple it is: beef, layers of American cheese, bacon, mayo, and ketchup. That’s it. No distracting secondary ingredients, just a super juicy salty flavorful meat bomb with the best beef and bacon in the whole fast food game.

The Bottom Line:

A burger that is dominated by beef and bacon flavors the way a good bacon cheeseburger should be! It is far and above the beefiest, baconiest (not a word but this burger makes the case that it should be), and most delicious bacon double cheeseburger in the fast food landscape.

Find your nearest Wendy’s here.

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