I decided to try something new during one of my rare visits to McDonalds, I went for one of their new Angus Thrid Pounders, My options were mushroom and swiss (BackGround), Bacon and cheese (Middleground), or Deluxe (A normal burger, as seen in the foreground of the above image) I chose Deluxe. First off, its really not clear that you even have options for choosing your thrid pounder, the advertising for the burger at the drive thru really isn't clear. I initially ordered just a third pounder but then was asked what type i wanted, stunned by choices, I went for the easy option, the deluxe, which is more like the normal burgers I order. The person behind me had the same exact issue as I pulled up, and didn't realize there were options. I appreciate the McDonald's has been trying to reinvent its advertising, but it shouldn't be done at the expense of convenience.
First off, what is it?.I cant speak for the other two burgers as I have not had them, but the Deluxe is Mayo, Tomato, Lettuce,Onion, Pickles, Burger patty and Cheese. The onion is sliced rather than diced which I appreciate, giving it a much fresher taste and better crunch, I love burgers with mayo and the pickles are much crisper than im used to. All and all the toppings are much fresher and better prepared.
The patty is where the big difference is, not only is it much thicker and larger than a standard burger patty, it is also made of much more flavorful beef, hence the "Angus". The meat is not as compressed as in standard burgers, which is good for eating but makes the patty crumble more during consumption. It is a definite departure from standard McDonald's Burger faire. But more on that later.
Packaging.I must admit the container was a bit of a surprise. It was larger than the standard cardboard box you receive, It had flaps that would be pulled down on the sides to allow the server to mark what type of burger it was. However, they were rather large flaps, so what ended up happening is the person at the window pulled down the section for "Deluxe' and "Special" and opened up a good half inch hole in the box. This compromised the sturdiness of the box, making removal from the bag far from ideal.
Upon opening the box, you are met with the burger covered in a wax paper sleeve, im not sure why it was put in the box like that, i only assume to help it hold together, but it added yet another barrier between you and your food, and added to the garbage that you must deal with. The Burger was arranged in a much nicer fashion than usual, all and all the burger looked good. If That burger was put on a plate at say an Applebee's or other Franchised Bar/Grill establishment, i wouldn't be put off, it looked alot better than what you would expect out of a fast food joint. It certainly wasn't as nice as the picture above, but it was by no means hard to look at either.
Eating the burger.I was surprised by how poorly the burger held together relative to most burgers from McDonald's, as I prepared to take my first bite, It certainly isn't a burger for eating one handed. The patty as i said before is not as tightly packed as normal, adding to the flavor but also causing it to fracture after each bite. This combined with much larger chunks of toppings and large amounts of condiments, make it fairly messy. The bun is especially not structurally sound, making it unreliable if not handled correctly. (Unless you eat burgers upside down like a crazy person)
The flavors of the toppings themselves didn't stand out as loudly as normal. This is by no means a bad thing, most fast Food burgers taste (To me anyways) like cheese covered meat followed, by flavor spikes of tangy ketchup and sweet/bitter onions. In the Third Pounder, the flavors could easily be identified but weren't overpowering. They blended more than stood out, which I enjoyed. The mayo was the only issue, although tasty, it wasn't distributed evenly throughout the burger, making pockets of intense mayo flavor that hurt the overall flavor of the rest of the burger. This is mis-distirbution is common in fast food, but it still was an upset after all the improvements that had seemingly been made to this burger over your normal cheeseburger.
The patty was very good, the meat really gave it's own kick to the rest of the burger. Of all the flavors in the burger it was by far the best. But the size of the patty caused the pace of eating to slow significantly, this is not a burger you can wolf down. You need to put alot of effort in to get what you want out of it, but its usually worth it. Each Bite needs to be carefully positioned and timed.