Backyard Barbecue Flavors at Burger King? Yeah, Kinda!

The last couple of weeks, Fast Times has been an exercise in second chances (okay, fifth or sixth chances, even). First, Taco Bell proved to me that they can make a big, fresh, delicious salad, and now Burger King has gone and redeemed itself with the Carolina BBQ Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich. My initial plan was to try BK's Texas BBQ burger, but the idea of reviewing Burger King's concept of Texan barbecue burger authenticity gave me a serious case of agita. So I guess you could say I "chickened out" and went with the Carolina chicken sandwich instead. Bawk, bawk!

I went for the full meal, adding on an order of sweet potato french fries and an unsweetened iced tea, which I unceremoniously dumped all over the front seat of my car after two sips. It was kind of weak anyway, I guess.

I'm just going to say it: The sandwich is delicious. I want to run back to BK and try all of these sandwiches, particularly the burgers. The sandwich is a monster, coming in at 630 calories, but I think you get a lot of bang for your caloric buck. The chicken filet is enormous, and piled high with soft, melty Pepper Jack cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion, plus a kick from pleasantly spicy pickled jalapeños. The Carolina barbecue sauce is sweet and tangy, and though I wish there was a bit more on the sandwich itself, it comes off as a very well-balanced sandwich overall. I can't forget the bun -- "warm toasted, artisan-style," according to BK -- which is soft and also slightly sweet, complementing the barbecue sauce. The sodium level in the sandwich is somewhat alarming at 2230 mg, so maybe take your rings off before eating this sandwich.

The sweet potato fries weren't exactly a disappointment, but they were nothing to get excited about. I kind of like BK's regular fries, so I ended up wishing I had ordered those instead. The sweet potato fries were sweet, and less greasy-tasting than I had expected after seeing the residue they left on my fingers, but overall they were just sort of bland -- skip 'em.

The BK summer barbecue menu also includes:

• Carolina BBQ Burger • Texas BBQ Burger & Tendergrill Sandwich • Memphis Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich

All four are on my to-try list, although the pulled pork gives me pause. Anyone out there tried this menu? What are your thoughts?

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