Wednesday, April 18, 2012

So, what's the deal with Bacon Sundaes?

My family can tell you that I have no problem with bacon, except when I run out. I have tried and loved and evangelized bacon candy. But I really had never thought about what a Bacon Sundae might be like.

Until I read the Review of Burger King's Bacon Sundae. Go ahead. Read it. I can wait.

When I found out that it was being test marketed in Nashville, I put that on my list of things to do there, and when I happened to be in town the following weekend, I stopped at the Burger King on Charlotte Ave. And... resting there on the counter was the only evidence needed that I was at the right place:

Once I reached the front of the line, I ordered two of them, as my wife Christine was interested too. Just like in the review, it took a moment for the counter person to find someone who could make the sundae... but then I had them. You can see mine here:

Now in all fairness neither of them looked as pretty as the picture on the counter card, but since they had all the ingredients, especially the bacon, we were ready to give it a try.

The review in GrubGrade was well done and we're not going to try to compete with it. In fact, just about everything he said held true... the crumbled bacon on top was great, the bacon that wasn't stuck into the ice cream was very good, and the end that was stuck in the ice cream was a little soggy. The "fudge" was ok but it wasn't hot fudge, the caramel wasn't hot caramel, and the ice cream itself was so-so. The taste of the bacon was quite good.

After that stop, I thought a bit about how the experience could be improved. What you basically are looking at there is a fudge and caramel sundae, with crumbled bacon scattered on top and a couple of slices of bacon stuck in. Not hard at all to recreate. Or to mess with.

For example, how about soft hand-scooped ice cream instead of soft serve? Or hot fudge instead of pseudo-fudge or chocolate? And hot caramel instead of cold?

We tried a few of these today.

The first thing we tried was the soft hand-scooped ice cream. The National Corvette Museum has a little cafĂ© that offers some simple foods and hand-scooped ice cream from a pretty good local dairy. So I went in there today and asked them to make a sundae with 3 slices of bacon, chocolate syrup (all they had) and caramel. This is what they made:

It was delicious... the bacon was just the right amount of crispy and the tastes all worked, much like the BK version. The bacon was a little bit thin... the next time I try this, I think 4 slices will be called for so there's enough of it.

Tonight after dinner I decided I was going to write this article, so I had to try the other option. For this, we went to the local Culver's. Sort of a slam dunk: better quality ice cream, and hot fudge and caramel.

They have a "bacon as a side" item on the register, it costs 50 cents. We got two of them, for a total of 4 slices, to go on a "double scoop" hot fudge and caramel sundae. So far so good... but we hit a couple of speed bumps.

First of all, we fell victim to Culvers' efficiency. The sundae was done (except for the bacon) almost instantly.  And it had to sit around and wait for the message to be passed through two people that crispy bacon was needed to be put on a sundae. Then they had to get it. Finally the bacon came up and they crumbled it into the already-soupy sundae.

The result was not ideal either, though it did photograph OK:

The taste, for as long as the bacon lasted, was great, both with caramel and fudge. We had a little bit more until we were down to the melted part, and we stopped there.

What we would do next is order the bacon, wait for it, and then order the sundae and add the bacon ourselves. Also, we would use 4 slices of bacon for the "single scoop", and 6 for the "double scoop".

Finally -- I'd say it's pretty hard to make a bad one. In three tries, we got three sundaes we would be more than happy to try again. So we will, not just there but elsewhere.

You should try it yourself. You just might be surprised how likable it really is.

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