Drive-thru review: McDonald's raided the pantry to come up with a new taste

By Ken Hoffman King Features Syndicate - Published: December 9, 2013 | 7:30 am 0

This week I reached out for a BBQ Ranch Burger, part of the revamped and pricier "Dollar Menu & More" at McDonald's.

There are many more "more" items than "dollar" items on the menu - some as pricey as $5 for the 20-count McNuggets box and $2 for the Bacon McDouble. McDonald's has upped the price of the plain McDouble (two patties and one slice of cheese) from $1 to $1.19. McDonald's taketh away and giveth. The giveth is the BBQ Ranch Burger.

Here's the blueprint: one beef patty seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper, topped with melted white cheddar, zesty barbecue ranch sauce and crispy tortilla strips on a classic bun.

McDonald's has borrowed Taco Bell's trick of raiding the refrigerator for familiar ingredients to create this seat-filler on the dollar board. The beef patty is the same one used on all of McDonald's cheapskate burgers; the white cheddar is borrowed from the Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger and Egg White Delight; and the chili-lime tortilla chips are courtesy of the Southwest McWrap.

By "classic bun," McDonald's means without sesame seeds. Clever, making customers think they're getting more by giving them less. The white cheddar is "pasteurized processed." That sounds almost like cheese. I'm going to look the other way.

The BBQ Ranch Burger is pretty tasty, though, with flavors and textures not found on other McDonald's burgers. The BBQ ranch sauce is creamy, with a subtle zing of spice. The chili-lime chips provide some fun crunch. Food tastes better when you can hear it coming (see the French Fry Burger at Burger King).

While "new" usually means a price increase, McDonald's is holding the price fort on all its dollar breakfast items: Sausage McMuffin, Sausage Biscuit, Sausage Burrito, Hash Brown and coffee.

Still $1 the rest of the day: Buffalo Ranch McChicken, Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger, Sweet Tea and a smattering of "small" sides and desserts.

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