The Frankenburger: A McDonald’s-Burger King-Wendy’s Experiment


Beware the Frankenburger! It’s the frightening product of a careful — and often disgusting — experiment to make the tastiest fast-food hamburger possible. If you took the best elements from a Big Mac, a Whopper, and Wendy’s Half-Pound Double with cheese, what would you get? You’d get the Frankenburger, my friends. And when we say “best,” well, everything’s relative.

In the picture above, and all those below, we have, left to right: Big Mac, Whopper, and Wendy’s.

To the buns! The Big Mac bun is almost too dry and tasteless to be believed. Wendy’s bun has nice heft but is also desiccated and tasteless. Burger King wins by default with bread that’s sweet and chewy almost like a potato bun.

Onward to sauce and vegetables: The Whopper is squirted with mayo, Wendy’s Half-Pound Double with mayo and ketchup. Only the Big Mac has that pinkish special sauce — tasting vaguely like Thousand Island dressing, it’s obviously the best sauce going.

Vegetables are a different story. The Big Mac is dressed with a sad pile of limp iceberg lettuce and a few scrawny pickles. Wendy’s offers pickle, lettuce, onion, and tomato, but those tomatoes taste like death. The Whopper takes it just because its vegetables are not terrible.


A reminder, left to right: Big Mac, Whopper, Wendy’s.

Cheese and meat: As you can see, attempts to isolate the cheese failed, since it was smeared, plastic-like, on patty and bun. There’s probably not a drop of milk in any of it, but as cheese-product goes, one was much better than the others. Tasted on their own, the cheeses in the Whopper and Big Mac are so bland, we weren’t sure we would even have been able to identify it if we were blindfolded. Wendy’s cheese, on the other hand, ably approximates Kraft Singles, for what that’s worth.

And finally, the patties — does anyone take their Whopper or Big Mac apart like this? No, and for good reason. Without all the saucy, burger-ish distractions of the sandwich, the patties are frightening. Floppy and gray, dry and mealy. Tasted alone, the meat doesn’t even taste like meat. And that is a low bar.

But Wendy’s patty is actually really tasty — fattish and square with juicy texture and bovine-salty taste like a real, live hamburger.

And a bonus, the fries: Honestly, they all taste about the same. McDonald’s are noticeably thinner than the others. Wendy’s had the most robust potato flavor.

1 Whopper bun + Big Mac Special Sauce + 1 serving Whopper vegetables + 1 slice Wendy’s Half-Pound Double cheese + 2 Wendy’s Half-Pound Double patties + 1 handful Wendy’s fries = the Frankenburger, the best possible fast-food mega-chain hamburger in New York City.