Bacon Clubhouse headlines McDonald's premium menu

Thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, caramelized grilled onions, fresh veggies-- all ingredients on McDonald's new premium-price Bacon Clubhouse burger.

Nam Y. Huh/AP/File
A McDonald's restaurant sign in Chicago. The Bacon Clubhouse is McDonald's newest premium burger.

McDonald’s next week will introduce premium-price Bacon Clubhouse beef and chicken burgers in an attempt to regain its pricing equilibrium after a long spell of Dollar Menu & More budget-price promotion.

McDonald’s describes the Bacon Clubhouse as “Thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, caramelized grilled onions, white Cheddar, crisp leaf lettuce and fresh tomato, all lovingly layered on a quarter pound of 100% pure beef, then topped with Big Mac special sauce. Served on our artisan roll.” The chicken version can be ordered with crispy or grilled chicken. The sandwich was initially tipped on the GrubGrade site.  The sandwich is priced at $4.39 to $4.69 and officially joins the menu March 10.

Of course, the Bacon Clubhouse really is just another Quarter Pounder variation, made a little different by the first-time use of the Big Mac’s iconic special sauce on another sandwich.

But the burger’s grilled-onion-and-bacon lineage is interesting. It dates to 2011, when McDonald’s tested an English Pub Burger, using its third-pound Angus patty and topping it with Dijon mustard sauce, grilled onions, hickory-smoked bacon, white Cheddar and American cheeses and steak sauce. Remove the steak and mustard sauces and you get the Clubhouse Angus that McDonald’s tested in 2012 in San Diego.

Now that the Angus patties are gone from McDonald’s, a quarter-pound patty is the largest on hand. Keep the bacon, grilled onion and white Cheddar from the Clubhouse Angus and add lettuce, tomato and a shiny bun and you have…the Bacon Clubhouse.

The Bacon Clubhouse is already included on the McDonald’s USA site, indicating its imminent national availability. Nutrition details are 720 calories for the sandwich, which has 40 grams of fat, 51 carbs and 1,470 mg of sodium. In other words, it’s an indulgence but a quite pleasant alternative to all the crusty cod sandwiches added for Lent.

Meanwhile, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is extending its “Finest” line of high-end burgers that it began last November with the Smoke & Pepper Signature Burger. Now the line gets two new burgers.

Red Robin calls The D.G.B. (shown at left) “perhaps our Finest burger yet.” The name is an acronym for “Damn Great Burger.” The build is oven-roasted tomatoes, savory roasted-garlic aïoli and fresh arugula tossed in citrus olive oil dressing atop a half-pound Angus beef patty.

Also new to the Finest line is a Black & Bleu burger. It, too, has a half-pound Angus beef patty, topped with sautéed blackened portobello mushrooms, grilled onions, house-made blue cheese sauce and blue cheese crumbles with Dijon sauce.

The Smoke & Pepper burger is menu priced at roughly $13.49, balancing the $6.99 Tavern Double at the low end. Red Robin hasn’t released pricing for the new burgers.

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