If you’ve heard of the Black Whopper, you probably made the same face as many other Americans when you learned of this culinary atrocity. Billed as a Halloween tribute, Burger King turned its signature Whopper’s bun black, purportedly flavoring it with A.1. Steak Sauce. The thought gave me chills, but, in the name of journalism, I sacrificed my integrity to get the scoop on this blacked out burger. I tried it so others don’t have to. Not that you wanted to.
I walked into the Burger King off of S. State Street in Ann Arbor and stood in front of the register. I stared up at the video screen menu showing a picture of the Black Whopper, which captured the steam mid-rise off the surface of its supernatural black bun. The photo’s ominous night time background cracked with lightning. In that moment, I felt a particular type of fear, an emotion only ever evoked by the prospect of ordering this Franken-Burger.
After ordering, I asked the cashier and presumable cook to “make it pretty” in the vain belief that my request would better lend itself to a photograph to which the cook replied, “all of my food is pretty” in her cigarette-scratched voice. The presentation was about as good as it gets from BK. Upon unwrapping the burger, the white sesame-flecked top of the black bun bun slid off to one side as the lettuce escaped out the other.
I could taste the A.1. Steak Sauce used in the bun right away, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Looking at the burger after taking a bite was off putting, as the black, porous texture of the bread seemed to stare back at me. I told myself at the outset that I would not eat this entire burger, but, I was hungry and once you get past the black bun it really just tastes like any other Whopper. The post-meal self-hatred feels similar anyway.
My girlfriend sat across from me during the meal. I had long considered her a keeper because she stuck around through some trying times before my bout with this abomination of a burger. Then I entertained the idea that, if she really loved me, why would she have let me go through with it?
I’m honestly quite ashamed when I trace the entire experience. I’m usually one to take the moral high ground when it comes to fast-food. I held out on the KFC Double-Down, resisted Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco and restrained myself when Papa John’s began its Frito Chili Cheese pizza campaign. Well, Burger King, you won. But I didn’t write this for you.
Readers beware of the Black Whopper.