Fast Times

Fast Times: Jumbo Jack Burger

This Jumbo Jack Burger marks my first official jaunt into the world of Jack in the Box. I made this week's fast food journey a "Husband's Choice," and he returned with Jack in the Box. I was not thrilled. I know it's been like, 20 years, since that whole E. coli thing in the early '90s, but that kind of thing sticks with a girl. Anyway, I unwrapped the Jumbo Jack Burger and inspected it from all sides. My first impression was "Nice bun!" and my second was, "Ugh, mayonnaise."

And then I realized that this burger has mayonnaise and ketchup but no mustard. I asked my husband if he crossed state lines to buy it, because I thought Texans don't do ketchup on a burger! I became a mustard-on-burger convert on a recent trip to Smashburger, and in a lively discussion in the comments section it was mentioned that inferior burgers require ketchup. If ever a burger proved that theory, it's the Jumbo Jack.

There is hardly a more anemic-looking or -tasting burger available in fast food today. The first problem is texture, which is unpleasant from bun to bun. The top has copious amounts of ketchup and mayo, gloppy and sloppily applied. Jack in the Box used a weird application technique, one in which the condiments are placed around the perimeter of the sandwich for maximum mess. The bottom bun is buttered so heavily that it was already disintegrating before I took the first bite. This is unfortunate, as the bun itself was light and fluffy.

And then there is the burger. It's dry. It's almost crumbly. I didn't even know hamburgers could be crumbly. The excessive amount of mayonnaise had the lettuce and tomato sliding out of the sandwich and onto the table and me. How can a fast-food hamburger be messier than festival food? If that were an age-old question, the Jumbo Jack Burger would have answered it.

As we ate, my husband asked, "Is this the same burger that's in that annoying 'Jumbaco' commercial?" I hit the Internet and discovered that the Jumbo Jack is the burger featured in the 'Jumbaco.' I also found that our own Katharine Shilcutt bravely explored the Jumbaco, presumably so the rest of us don't have to, a few weeks ago while I was traveling. (How did I miss this?! Clearly I need to spend more time on the interwebs.) As we sat reading Katharine's review of the Jumbaco my husband and I were relieved, not only that it wasn't "just us" but that we hadn't gone all-in on a Jumbaco -- the Jumbo Jack was bad enough without two bad tacos thrown into the mix.

Nutritional info: 489 calories, 23 g fat, 907 mg sodium, 45 g carbs, 6 g sugar, 25 g protein.

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Christina Uticone