Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: McDonald's Wagyu Beef Burger. (Plus taste test!)
McDonald's reckons its Wagyu Beef Burger is a big deal. Touted as a "world's first" the burger substitutes run-of-the-mill Aussie beef for genuine 100% wagyu sourced from Queensland farmers.
For the non-carnivores out there, wagyu is a type of Japanese cow whose meat is renowned for intense marbling, soft texture and high levels of unsaturated fat. Wagyu beef commands a high price tag and is generally considered "too good" for mincing into burger patties; it's the equivalent of using minced lobster to make a deep-fried seafood stick.
In addition to the wagyu patty, the burger comes with a new-look gourmet bun, two rashes of crispy bacon, caramelised onion, lettuce, two slices of tomato, a slice of Coon Cheese and a new tangy signature sauce.
Here's the spiel from Ronald's marketing henchmen:
Rich, succulent 100% Australian bred Wagyu beef. With crispy bacon, caramelised onions and tangy signature sauce. Why wouldn't you Wagyu?
The Wagyu Beef Burger packs in 3390kJ of energy, 42.2g of protein, 46.8g of fat (including 16.9g saturated fats), 53.3g of carbohydrates, 11.3g of sugars and 1160mg of sodium. That's almost double the fat of a Big Mac but still not quite as bad as a Double Quarter Pounder.
As you'd expect, the Wagyu Beef Burger isn't in the same price range as the McDouble (seriously, how cheap is that burger?) Instead, the standalone product will set you back around $12.90, which makes it the priciest burger on Macca's menu. Adding a small meal deal will bring the total up to over $15. (Exact pricing varies depending on location.)
Here's the Wagyu Beef Burger as it appears on McDonald's online menu and the version we got served from the company's flagship Circular Quay outlet.
It appears that McDonald's fry jockeys are putting a modicum of extra effort into the assembly of the Wagyu Beef Burger - but still not enough to make it look like the poster. Our burger bun looks decidedly flatter than the advert while the all-important wagyu is barely visible. While there's definitely room for improvement, this isn't the worst effort we've seen from McDonald's. A tentative thumbs up.
Fortunately, what the Wagyu Beef Burger lacks in looks it more than makes up for in taste. This is one delicious burger. It reminded us of the US burger chain Umami Burger, with the same subtle combination of sweet, salty and umami flavours.
The bacon and tomato are excellent accompaniments to the beef and the signature sauce does not overpower the taste of the wagyu. If you're in the mood for some Macca's, we urge you to give it a try.
Truth Rating: 7/10
Taste Verdict: 9/10
Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.