There was a time in America, not too long ago, when you’d go to a fast food restaurant for a burger, fries, and a soft drink, and it was considered a simple treat. What they had, mostly, were burgers, fries, and soft drinks. Somewhere along the line in the past couple of decades, though, these humble pleasures weren’t enough to satisfy Americans. Menu items needed to be bigger, bolder, crazier, and the nuclear proliferation of fast food menu whack-jobbery approached Dr. Strangelove territory. Long gone are the days when a Big Mac was actually considered big. 

To make waves, the major chains need to bring out the big guns, and, this being ‘Murica, the bigger the better. Want a taco? No, you don’t. You want a taco in a shell made out of cool ranch Doritos. In the mood for a Whopper but also a burrito? Boom: Whopperito. Chicken nuggets? Snooze. Now you get chicken shaped like rings or french fries. And just because we can, we’re dusting those chicken fries with Cheetos, because we don’t think you’ve quite debased yourself enough yet.

Like any addict, more begets more begets more, and before we know it, we’ve traded a leisurely spliff at home on the weekends for freebasing biker crank at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday in a gas station bathroom. When and where, we’re forced to wonder, will the fast food arms race take us next?

To Bacon Town, apparently. Not to be outdone in the pork belly department by the Wendy’s Baconator, Burger King recently launched a new sandwich, the aptly-named Bacon King, that has two quarter-pound flame-grilled beef patties, four slices of American cheese, and six strips of crispy bacon. Naturally, I had to check this thing out first hand, primarily because I’m your dutiful Bacon Critic and this fits into my purview, and secondly because there’s a BK three blocks from my house.

On first inspection, the Bacon King is hardly what you might call “regal.” Obviously, it doesn’t resemble the burger in the microscopically food styled marketing photos, but of course we all know we’re not getting “the burger in the picture,” not now, not ever. Expect that, and you might go ballistic. Judging by outward appearance, the Bacon King is a rather unassuming monarch. You can barely see any bacon at all, in fact. That is, until you pop the hood.

Lift the top bun off your Bacon King, and you’ll see what BK’s getting at here: two flat beef disks draped in melted American cheese, topped with the promised bacon strips, and drenched in gooey mayo and ketchup. And, well… that’s it. No lettuce, no tomato, no pickles, no onion, just a big hot beef, bacon and cheese injection. Seriously, this thing is about 90 percent meat and fat, and 10 percent bread. Vegetables are for losers, clearly. This is the king, and the king gets what he damn well wants.

The ultimate verdict on the Bacon King? Not bad, as far as fast food burgers go. The only disappointing thing is the bacon. Yes, there are six strips, as advertised, but they’re so thinly sliced, it’s really like eating two strips of bacon the size of which you’d expect to purchase in a grocery store (despite the fact that BK inexplicably advertises the bacon to be “thick cut”). To that end, this king is hardly a formidable monarch. It is, in essence, just a double Whopper with cheese, hold the veggies and add bacon. Still pretty tasty, although I would have been more impressed by, say, 12 strips of bacon on the thing. 

And maybe some Cheetos. Because why the hell not, right?