When I entered a local Burger King recently and discovered an ad for their Fire Grilled Ribs, it struck me as an idea so awful there was simply no way I could leave without ordering them. The thought of ribs being served at Burger King sounded like the fast food equivalent of an Ed Wood movie.
So, after letting two groups of people go ahead of me in line (I am just self-conscious enough to be embarrassed at the idea of having people overhear me ordering this) I was ready to write a scathing review of this somewhat (to me at least) comical product.
I’ll begin with the positives, the most important one of note being these aren’t as awful as they could have been. When compared to the inexplicable McRib, it’s a much more pleasing experience, as you are eating actual ribs, as opposed to bottom grade meat that tastes like leftovers from an elementary school cafeteria.
Burger King has also done what I think is the right thing by making barbecue sauce available on the side. While I do enjoy the taste of BBQ ribs, I don’t often like to order them when eating out, as there is simply no way to eat them while maintaining even a shred of dignity. Being able to decide how much, or how little, sauce you want is a nice option. Plus, there’s the added bonus of the easy carry out option, where the messiest of eaters can avoid embarrassing stains on their clothes by eating shirtless in the privacy of their own home.
(Q: How does one define crippling loneliness? A: See final sentence of paragraph above.)
But while there aren’t any truly repulsive elements to this product, there are a lot of problems which make it hard to fully endorse.
First was preparation. Out of my order of six, two were prepared well and tasted fine, while four were overcooked and had a distinct coal taste to them. Sure, this could be chalked up to a bad experience, but it is an experience I feel will be hard to consistently avoid.
When you go to Burger King, you generally aren’t having your food prepared by real cooks, but rather real 18-year-old kids named Dustin with several unappealing whiteheads protruding through their wiry mustache. Call it a hunch, but I don’t anticipate a lot of BK kitchen workers care enough about their jobs to worry much about adequate rib preparation, and my fear of constantly running into this two-to-one ratio of bad ribs to good ones will be enough to keep me away.
My biggest complaint, however, is value. My meal, which included the six ribs, a small fry and medium carbonated beverage, ran me $8.44, which is far greater than I like to spend on fast food. To make matters worse, I was still hungry when I finished. When I spend close to $9 on fast food, I should be spending the duration of my day sitting on the toilet vowing never to eat again, not in a recliner, craving delicious Private Selection mini-cucumbers.
In addition to the meal I mentioned above, an order of three ribs for $1.99 is being offered as an add on to other BK value meals, and this option comes about not a moment too soon. I can’t even begin to calculate the number of times I’ve polished off a Double Whopper meal and thought to myself, “you know what would really hit the spot right now? Ribs!”
Now, I’m certainly not a hard charging health advocate, but this baffles even me. Fast food restaurant almost seem to be in a race to outshame one another, and while the Double Down seems to have elevated KFC to the forefront of this competition, the notion of selling a Whopper with a rib chaser has certainly moved Burger King to a level of contention. At this rate how long will it truly be until we see designated nap areas built into restaurant back rooms for patrons who just can’t summon the energy to make it home after lunch?
While I’ve certainly had worse food in my life, I really can’t come up with any real reason to encourage anyone to seek out Burger King’s Fire Grilled Ribs. They are way too pricey and not filling enough by themselves, and the notion of them being added to a standard value meal just makes me sad and much more judgmental than I’d like to be about the eating habits of this country.
If you are truly curious to try them, I guess you can do worse, but for the price, it’s hard to think even the least discriminating of fast food patrons will walk away feeling like they got their money’s worth.
Final Score: 5.0/10 (Mediocre)