Image courtesy of Jack in the Box.com
The other evening as I was walking past Jack in the Box in Ala Moana Center from Barnes & Noble (street level, mauka side of mall), there was an ad they had on display in front the store for their new Buttery Jack that had me really interested. Especially after an entire week of just drinking “Ninja Blasts“, I was really craving something deliciously fast food naughty, and this looked to fit the bill.
Being the educated consumer I am as we all are, before going in and just ordering it, I hit Mai Tai’s upstairs first so I could sit down and relax with my Note 3 and a Blue Moon and go over some online reviews. Turned out the reviews were mostly favorable, even via reader comments. So I was sold, going right back downstairs to order it.
Here’s how Jack describes his two new buttery burgers:
- Classic Buttery Jack: New, signature burger with a juicy 1/4 lb* beef patty topped with melted garlic herb butter, layered with creamy provolone cheese, a dab of creamy tomato sauce, crisp green leaf lettuce and tomato slices, all on a soft and airy, perfectly toasted new gourmet bun for a sublimely juicy taste that is melt-in-your-mouth amazing. 816 calories, 52 grams of fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, 1148 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 37 grams of protein
- Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack: New, signature burger with a juicy 1/4 lb* beef patty topped with melted garlic herb butter, layered with strips of hickory smoked bacon and real Swiss cheese, with a dab of creamy bacon mayo on a soft and airy, perfectly toasted new gourmet bun for a sublimely juicy taste that is melt-in-your-mouth amazing. 817 calories, 59 grams of fat, 25 grams of saturated fat, 1346 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 42 grams of protein
Good Lord! Make pretend you (or my doctor) didn’t see those nutritional numbers. INSANITY!
It must also be noted that the new “Signature” quarter-pound burger patties are said to have seasonings mixed right into them, which I’ll touch base on later.
This is the TV ad that supposedly ran during the Super Bowl, however I don’t recall seeing it played in our region during the game:
Sure looks and sounds ono!
The Signature Prime Steak & Seafood Rib Eye is everything this Buttery Jack should aspire to be!
Especially after having that stellar buttery Rib Eye recently at Signature Steak, which I was hoping Jack could at least recreate the succulence of with his new garlic ‘n herb buttered burger, at a fraction of the price and all the convenience of fast food.
“Taking it major league for the team”, I ordered both the Bacon & Swiss and the Classic Buttery Jack, starting off my tasting session with the Bacon & Swiss.
Diggin’ the paper bib they wrap around it, giving it some “bergonimics” for the hands. Also notice the very fresh, green and crispy whole leaf lettuce.
Wait a minute, the Bacon and Swiss doesn’t say it has lettuce in it, so what’s up? Why yes, that’s true. However I read another reviewer of this item who claims at Jack in the Box you can ask for lettuce and tomato in any burger that doesn’t have it, and they’ll just ring it up as “extra”, however you won’t get charged for it. So sure enough, I asked for lettuce and tomato in my Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack, and they hooked me up! Sweet! Of course you gotta’ have “swag” like me to pull that off. lol
Now, when I picked it up, I was hoping there’d be melted garlic herb butter oozing out the sides, however as you see, not the case.
Taking off the paper bib, we see there’s a great lookin’ toasty gourmet bun that feels supple on the inside to the touch, with a nicely sealed finish to the crust that features a pronounced quilted pattern to it.
Taking it apart, there’s two thin slices of fresh tomato that are perfectly ripened, accompanied by two large pieces of very crispy green leaf lettuce. Those veggies once again aren’t included by default in the Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack, being a special request that I wasn’t charged extra for. Mahalo!
And of course there’s bacon, as in 5 strips, along with a slice of melted Swiss Cheese over the burger patty. You may not notice it, but the melted garlic herb butter is in between the melted Swiss and the burger patty.
Flipping the beef patty over, it looks like they put some of the garlic herb butter on this side of it, as well as the top side. Also notice the burger patty is square, so you know they’re not using the same patties as they do for the other burgers.
Putting the Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack back together and cut in half, you kinda’ see the garlic herb butter coating the patty, while you also notice the yellow hue to the bun.
Well, after eating the entire half of it, what’s the verdict?
The bun is FANTASTIC! I’m not a seasoned fast food burger veteran, so I’m not going to even try to compare it with anyone else’s buns. All I know is, this bun is rockin’ it. Super supple and airy inside, while I just love that quilted pillow-like feel and smooth finish of the crust. Flavor-wise, it has that fresh-baked artisan rustic tone to it, along with a slightly sweet accent, similar to King’s Hawaiian buns.
The green leaf lettuce and tomatoes are as fresh and high quality as you’re gonna’ get from a chain fast food restaurant, so more points for that.
While I can’t say the creamy bacon sauce tastes “bacon-ee”, it’s good and matches the entire package without being too rich or drowning anything out, as of course the 5 strips of bacon also included in it are going to overpower just about everything on their own, anyways. And it did.
Ultimately this concept all comes down to how garlic ‘n herb buttery infused it tastes and how good it compliments the beef burger it’s slathered on… and this is where it fell flat.
I’m sorry, but at least on this first impression in my experience, I was NOT IMPRESSED AT ALL with the beef patty. It’s too salty, too firm (overdone), and not juicy at all. And I know it was cooked to order, as I watched the gal working in the kitchen (within view from the counter) make it. Did it taste buttery? Not really. Garlicy? Nope. Herby? Slightly. Beefy? Yeah, but more bacon-ee for obvious reasons (5 strips covering it).
Too bad, as this burger really had everything else going for it with all the other elements. but the quality of the burger patty itself and the impression of garlic herb butter infusion factor just wasn’t as good to great as I was expecting. But eh, for $4 bucks, how much should one expect, right?
Next up we have the Classic Buttery Jack, which uses Provolone cheese instead of Swiss, and Creamy Tomato Sauce (mayonnaise and ketchup?) instead of Creamy Bacon Sauce as is the deal on the Bacon & Swiss model.
In the case with the Classic Buttery Jack, they slightly spread (out from a squeeze bottle) the creamy tomato sauce on both the top and bottom sides of the buns.
Jack in the Box Buttery Jack, deconstructed. Image courtesy of BrandEating.com
I couldn’t pull my copy of the Buttery Jack apart nice enough to showcase the garlic herb butter slathered on the top-side of the burger patty, due to the provolone cheese melted over it (same for the bacon & swiss model). However as you see above from the review over at BrandEating.com, their version of the classic Buttery Jack looks to have a copious amount of the “good stuff”.
After reassembling it and giving it a firm squeeze, still no drippin’ garlic herb butter over the edges. That said (again), I think Jack in the Box’ corporate kitchen team should instruct their field cooks to make sure there’s both visual and functional “drip factor” of the good stuff!
And? I was hoping the absence of bacon in this one would let the garlic herb butter flavor be more pronounced, however, it wasn’t happening. Nor did the creamy tomato sauce do anything “extra” for it, nor would that have mattered, as all I was hoping to taste was a super buttery beef patty, but nope.
Like the Bacon & Swiss, the Classic Buttery Jack’s beef patty was dry and “lifeless” of REAL beef flavor, with most of its intense flavor coming from seasonings and/or enhancers and SALT.
To put that notion into perspective, look at this EXCELLENT example of a gourmet burger from Honolulu Burger Company, where the Big Island fresh grass-fed Kulana Beef rings superior!….
Back to the Buttery Jack, neither did the slightly melted Provolone cheese make any difference vs. the Swiss Cheese, as because the burger patty is so salty, the flavor of the cheese gets drowned out in both versions.
I must note that I took my Buttery Jack duo order to-go, which took me about 10 minutes to reach home to sample them. That said, while not pipin’ hot off the flattop, they were both warm enough where the cheese was still reasonably gooey.
Not to say either of the Buttery Jacks were bad, as they were still tasty enough to completely finish, thanks of course to the quality of the bun and fresh veggies.
I was just disappointed in the lack of garlic herb butter infusion of flavor and the relatively lackluster “signature” beef patty, namely for being dry, “stiff” and too salty. For me it just didn’t have that “it” factor. Especially considering Jack in the Box is trying to put these into the league of the gourmet burgers served at local specialty joints nowadays. Like oh, say, Honolulu Burger Company and The Counter to name a few, so my expectations were admittedly high.
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What? Jack in the Box new Buttery Jack Classic and Bacon & Swiss
Where did you buy it from and how much? Jack in the Box @ Ala Moana Center (street level, near Barnes & Noble. $3.99 for the Classic & $4.39 for the Bacon & Swiss (regular $4.99 & $5.39 – $1.00 off online mobile smartphone coupon)
Big shaka to: EXCELLENT BUN. Insides of top and bottom bun are toasted (huge points!). Generous helping of super fresh and crispy green leaf lettuce and perfectly ripe sliced tomatoes. Perfect quantity of tasty mayonnaise-based sauces compliment the overall burger “experience” nicely, without feeling like your gut’s going to turn inside out. Excellent beef patty-to-bun size ratio. Burger patty’s seasoning gives it a gourmet flavor (see cons).
No shaka to: The quality and taste of the burger patty beef itself needs help, being dry, with no “it factor”; it’s like they tried too hard by drowning it in flavor enhancers (beef bouillon perhaps?), seasoning and too much salt. Garlic Herb Butter hardly had any impact on the overall impression.
The Tasty Island rating: 2 SPAM Musubi (good)
Notes: To improve the Buttery Jack, my recommendation is to put a dollop of compound butter in the center of the burger patty, ala “Juicy Lucy”, as well as smothered over the patty after it’s grilled. Also, use a higher ratio of fat in the beef, after all, this with this burger, you gotta’ EAT IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!
More Buttery Jack reviews at these links:
• REVIEW: Jack in the Box Buttery Jack (Classic and Bacon & Swiss) – The Impulsive Buy
• Review: Jack in the Box – Classic Buttery Jack – Brand Eating
• Jack in the Box’s New Butter-Topped Burger Is Sinfully Tasty – Pop Sugar
The Tasty Island related links:
• Jack in the Box New Teri SPAM® Jack
• Jack in the Box Munchie Meals review (scroll down after zoom contest)
• University of Hawaii ‘Throwback Jack’ Rainbow Warrior Antenna Ball
• Go Warrior Jack!
P.S. In relation to this decadent post, coming soon to The Tasty Island, SPAM Fries!