Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Burger King Ribs Edition Jun04

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Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Burger King Ribs Edition


a blogumn by Jersey Joe

Burger King, one of America’s fast food giants has made some big changes to its menu.  A few months ago, they introduced their line of XLT burgers to compete with the Angus Three Pounders from McDonald’s.  Now, they’ve added a big ticket item – ribs!  With BK being one of my favorite restaurants, I thought I’d give them a try and share my experience.

First off, I love when fast food restaurants try adding unconventional items to their menu.  Where would we be if some enterprising fast food joint hadn’t added chicken nuggets to their menus in the early 80’s?  I can remember when BK tried tacos, chili, baguettes — they’ve even served popcorn with table service in the past.

Burger King first opened as Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida in 1953.  The company is headquartered in a 9-story building just outside the Miami International Airport.  The restaurant has locations in countries around the world and is known as Hungry Jacks with the same logo and colors in Australia.  Most people can easily recognize the chain’s signature sandwich — the Whopper.  While BK is mostly known for it’s line of hamburgers, they also sell chicken sandwiches and tenders, salads, breakfast, desserts, and now – ribs!

The ribs are available in several sizes.  A three piece addition to a meal, a 6 or 8 piece combo meal with fries and drink, or a simple order of 6 or 8 pieces.

To be fair, I tried the ribs from two different Burger King restaurants, just to give a fair and balanced review for my blogumn.   You’ll find out why in a moment…

My first taste was at the Burger King drive-thru near the Holland Tunnel into New York. I went through the drive-thru and placed my order.  When I got to the order box, I asked for the 8 piece ribs.  She did the normal thing of asking if I wanted a combo meal, which I did not.  I then pulled around to the window.  There were three vehicles in front of me, so I had to wait about 4 minutes until getting to the window.

Once at the window, I paid and I waited again.  In fact, I was able to see the countdown clock behind the window of how long I was waiting.  I waited an additional 4 minutes and 55 seconds before I received my ribs.  The total cost was $7.99 plus tax (and she didn’t give me a receipt).  So, my total wait from order to pickup was a very long 8 minutes and 55 seconds.  I held up three cars in the drive-thru behind me while waiting.

My second taste was at a Burger King inside the Herald Square subway station at 34th street in New York City.  This one is a walk up.  It was well over 90 degrees outside and the air conditioner was broken in the restaurant.  I’m telling you it was well over a hundred degrees in there!  It was so hot, the employees were fanning themselves with paper plates.  I felt so bad for them as it really was unbearable in there.

I got in line and was behind two paramedics who were ordering their dinner.  It was good to see them, because if you spent a long time in the heat of this restaurant, you would need their services.  This time, I ordered the 6 piece ribs, no combo.  The total was $5.99 plus tax.  So, basically, I’ve learned it’s about a dollar a rib.

After ordering, again it took about 9 agonizing long minutes to receive my simple order of ribs.  The woman did come over several times and tell me that they were cooking.  Another employee actually gave them praise saying she tried and liked them very much.

The ribs are served in a special cardboard box.  They give you 2 or 3 little wells of BBQ sauce (the same for the tenders), that you are then supposed to dump over the ribs.  That does help keep the mess factor down.

Now, these are not full size.  They are basically half riblets.  I was able to eat the meat in about 3 or 4 bites.  In each order, there was at least one that was nothing but fat and gristle and was too gross to eat.  They are also very salty.  The flavor is OK.  You can tell these are not fresh at all and seem like something that my grandmother had lying around in the bottom of her deep freeze for a long time.  Not really the best of flavor.  The saltiness and BBQ sauce helps, but the ribs are lacking a bit of taste.

The only reason I ordered these a second time was to test how long it would take to receive them, once ordered.  I found that I was either holding up the line, or being bypassed over and over by other customers during the agonizing 9 minute waits.  Fast food, it supposed to be that – fast.  These are most certainly not.  Factor in the wait time, if you are going to order these yourself.

Again, I applaud Burger King for giving something new a try.  They might have wanted to work on the seasoning and taste a little more, before sending these out to the restaurants.  I’ve had outstanding ribs at other fast casual dining restaurants that just had a better flavor and you can get a full rack for just a few bucks more.

According to a statement from the company’s CEO John W. Chidsey, Burger King is looking to add more premium items to balance out their low cost offerings.  A line of limited edition chicken sandwiches is also expected to debut soon along with a line of stuffed burgers, completing their new menu for 2010.

THE 411:


Location: most US Burger King restaurants

Average Cost: $5.99 for 6 ribs, $7.99 for 8 ribs and add a dollar more for a combo meal.

Waiting Time: about 9 minutes which is too long for fast food


JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:  You should probably pass on these.  The taste is not up to par and the waiting time is too long for fast food.  The one piece in each order that was nothing but a hunk of fat was a complete turn off.  Also, they are expensive at a $1 per riblet, when even casual restaurants offer a full rack for only few bucks more.