jack in the box

Just when you think that the bacon craze could go no higher, with everything from bacon lube and bacon perfume to bacon dental floss and bacon gum, BACON rears its salty head again in a place where it’s least expected: your milkshake!

While fast-food milkshakes are not known as pillars of a healthy diet and usually contain heaps of artificial flavorings and added preservatives, Jack in the Box’s new bacon milkshake takes the cake. Listed on the Jack in the Box website not as a dessert but as a drink, the bacon milkshake will have a “super” limited run. It will not be placed on menus – rather, the customer must already know about the secret item, which lends an added illicit touch to this “sinful” bacon shake.

What does Jack in the Box bacon milkshake contain? First of all, there is no bacon in the bacon milkshake, only “bacon-flavored syrup,” which is mixed with vanilla ice cream and finished with whipped topping and a maraschino cherry. What the bacon milkshake lacks in bacon, it makes up for with plenty of calories, sugar and fat: the “regular” 16 ounce size contains 773 calories, 75 grams of sugar and 40 grams of fat, while the large 24 ounce size packs a whopping 1,081 calories, 108 grams of sugar and 54 grams of fat.

Other restaurants have beaten Jack in the Box on the bacon dessert trend; Denny’s serves a bacon ice cream sundae and the Nickel Diner in downtown Los Angeles grew to fame on its popular bacon maple doughnuts. But nothing has received the media attention of Jack in the Box’s bacon milkshake – and as a result there has been a run on this unusual dessert, with many franchise locations reporting that they are already out of bacon syrup.

Outrageous fast food dishes are becoming more and more popular, from KFC’s Double Down (two slices of cheese and two slices of bacon surrounded by two fried chicken patties) to Domino’s Pizza’s Mac-N-Cheese Breadbowl pasta (because macaroni and cheese isn’t rich enough). These high-fat, high-calorie, high-everything dishes counter the other nationwide trend towards healthier and more sustainable eating habits. With gluttony gone the way of greed, it’s almost as if a nation of kids-in-adult-bodies are refusing to eat their vegetables, stomping their feet and running off with a mouthful of dessert.

While many people aim to enjoy treats like bacon and ice cream in moderation, plenty of others just want to pile it on and on and on – waistlines, future health costs and medical bills be damned. This immature “gimme-gimme-now” outlook that so many people espouse when it comes to their health may have dire consequences, but as long as the bacon milkshakes are flowing, no one seems to mind.

IN THE NAME OF RESEARCH of course, I headed to Jack in the Box to try out the new beast and was happy to hear that the bacon-flavored syrup was still flowing at my local franchise. I am a bacon lover; I cook bacon quite often for breakfast and have even been known to make bacon Bloody Marys.

For $3.99 plus tax I was granted a thick, heavy milkshake and the high hopes of a new dessert euphoria – but unfortunately, the milkshake was cloyingly sweet and had the overpowering flavor of artificiality that is also found in Jack in the Box’s other milkshakes, whether eggnog or pumpkin spice. Salty and sweet often combine into a symphony of flavors; alas this is not the case with the Jack in the Box bacon milkshake. It just does not taste good, and I imagine that this is the true reason for the trendy item’s super limited run – because no one is going to order it twice.

image: e900