Cliff (fellow developer at Fanpop and vegetarian) has been forced to watch their commercials over and over during a two day period where he was working on code supporting Hulu videos. Several times, he pointed the ad out to me, but every time he did it, I looked over too late and was wondering what he was pointing at - an SNL skit? The Office? A tiny banner ad in the corner?
|Screenshot of Chili's Smokehouse Bacon Ad on Hulu.com|
What one of the television ads actually says is:
Welcome to Chili's! Pepper in some triple thick bacon with Chili's new Smokehouse Bacon Burgers. They're mammoth size burgers with the thickest bacon you've ever seen. Like the Southern Smokehouse Burger with bacon seasoned with brown sugar and chili pepper then grilled. Come in now and try them all. Only at Chili's. Pepper in some Bacon; Pepper in some Fun.(A little explanation for those who are not familiar with Chili's is probably helpful here. Chili's logo is a red chili pepper and their slogan is currently "Pepper in some Fun".) Having seen a lot of bacon (as well as uncut bacon slabs - which I would think will beat any bacon Chili's could possibly serve in thickness), I couldn't help smirking every time I heard that claim. It was time to go see for myself.
On Friday night, Tina and I went to Chili's and I looked at the menu for their Smokehouse Bacon Burgers - apparently there were three different burgers. Even though I had seen the commercials a bunch of times, it hadn't gotten into my head that there was more than one burger. I asked the waiter if they all used the same thick cut bacon and he confirmed that they did - so I ordered a Jalapeno Smokehouse Bacon Cheeseburger as well as an extra order of bacon on the side. After the food arrived 30 minutes after ordering, I received a mess of a burger with the patty sitting 40% off of the bun and much of my lettuce under the fries instead of in the burger. Undeterred (for I had not come to Chili's to critique their food but to confirm they had the thickest bacon that I had ever seen), I examined the bacon that I received on the side and the two strips on the burger and determined that they were similar enough.
From my pocket, I produced calipers with which I proceeded to measure the thickness of the bacon (one of the strips I had ordered on the side for this specific purpose - if I was going to contaminate some bacon, I wasn't going to sacrifice one of the ones on my burger!). Having done the measurements, I can now report that (on Friday, April 13, 2008 at the Chili's in Santa Clara, California) they served bacon that was (to an accuracy of 1/128th of an inch) 3/16 in. thick (4.75 mm ± 0.2mm) after cooking. In my experience, that's really thick bacon.}?>
I have to hand it to Chili's the bacon truly is thick. In fact, I'll even call it extra thick. (They called it "triple thick", I'm not sure what that means unless there's a standard bacon thickness of 1/16 in. that I don't know about.) Does it truly hold up to its claim that it's the "thickest bacon you've ever seen"? My guess is that for most people that's true, but for me it was most definitely not the case.
As a comparison point, I'll have to bring up Peter Luger Steakhouse which serves the thickest slice of bacon that I have ever seen. I reviewed the restaurant earlier this year on Orthogonal Thought and had made sure that I had ordered their bacon. Peter Luger's bacon was about 2 times thicker than Chili's. Granted, I did not bring calipers on my trip to New York, so the 1 cm thickness of the bacon was estimated, but there is a clear difference in thickness. Of course, Peter Luger's bacon is $4 a slice while Chili's is 70 cents (I paid $1.40 for an extra two slices).
How did the bacon taste? It was well flavored (nice amount of smoke, but not overdone and not reliant on gimmicks like insane amounts of coarsely ground pepper) and had a good mix of fat and meat. Unfortunately, it was also barely warm and extremely chewy. Extremely chewy - there were some bites of the burger where I had to keep chewing for several ten or more seconds AFTER the burger had disintegrated. However, I did enjoy the flavor quite a bit and as I'm writing this, there's a part of me that wants to go back and try Southern Smokehouse Bacon Cheeseburger. (Personally, I wouldn't order the Jalapeno one again - the marinated jalapenos tasted a little odd in combination with everything. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I didn't enjoy the combination as much as my previous history with hamburgers would have led me to believe.)}?>