Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and the Bacony: A Candid Review of Jack in the Box Bacon Shake

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

When I recently heard the news of Jack in the Box releasing a bacon shake, I knew I needed to try one ASAP and give everyone a full review. I mean, even if we can't all agree on politics and religion, can we at least agree that we're all kinda wondering what the bacon shake tastes like? A few days passed with no time for bacon shake searching or consumption, but yesterday, as I pulled into a parking lot for something else, I saw the Jack in the Box sign. I never go to Jack in the Box (this is not a matter of moral or religious conviction, in case you're wondering -- I just don't go there), but as I saw the sign, I suddenly remembered: BACON SHAKE!

So I pulled into the drive-thru. While the people in the car ahead of me placed their order, I frantically scoured the menu for a bacon shake. Nothing. Oreo shake. Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, blah blah blah. Where's my BACON? Another car pulled up behind me, so now there was no turning back. What if this location didn't carry the bacon shake? What if this whole bacon shake thing was a hoax, and the drive-thru girl was just waiting to laugh and laugh at anyone who tried to order one? I looked at the menu again, looked around for any special signs or banners. Still no bacon shake, but I did see the weird picture of the guy trying to marry his bridal-veil-wearing bacon burger, so I considered that a sign of hope.

The car ahead of me pulled forward, and so did I. The moment of truth had arrived. I almost chickened out and just ordered an Oreo shake to save myself the risk of embarrassment, but then I decided to go for it. "Hi, welcome to Jack in the Box. Would you like to try our [some kind of special uttered so fast that I could neither understand nor recall it now]?" "Hi. Um... Do you have... a... a bacon shake?" "Yes, we do." "WOO-HOO!" Silence. "Uh, then I'd like one bacon shake, please." "Would you like to add cookies to that?" [Are you trying to kill me, lady? I'm about to consume a bacon shake!] "No, thanks."

I pulled forward and got out my 3 bucks, trying to prepare myself for the bacon shake experience. I gave her the money. She gave me a dime. I waited for what seemed like a bacon eternity. And then, she handed me the shake. It looked just like in the picture:

I thanked the drive-thru girl, and she said, "Thanks for coming to Jack in the Box. Come again!" I almost said, "I doubt it," but I was so enamored with the bacon shake that I didn't have time to be smart-mouthed. After eating the maraschino cherry, I noticed something -- the shake was entirely uniform in color; it had no bits of bacon in it. I realized that, had I looked closely at the picture, I might have noticed that ahead of time. Still, I tried to give Jack in the Box the benefit of the doubt and think that maybe they had pureed the bacon into the shake. (A girl can dream, right?)

I took my first sip. As the shake went into my mouth, the ice cream reminded me of pancakes with syrup and bacon. "Yeah, that's a good taste combo. I'm down!" And then I swallowed the bite. That's when it hit me -- the strange bacon-flavored aftertaste, and the cold [pun intended] reality that this was just some gross kind of bacon flavoring! I started to suspect that no actual pigs were harmed in the making of this milk shake and quite frankly, I was offended. I took another sip to confirm my suspicion. The same experience repeated itself -- pretty tasty while in mouth, pretty grody aftertaste. I still drank the whole thing (I was gonna get my $2.90 worth, after all), and I decided three things:
  1. I'm still glad that I tried the bacon shake, despite the aftertaste, and found the mysterious ordering process alone to be exhilarating;
  2. The Jack in the Box bacon shake is definitely gonna be a one-time experience, and it's for good reason that they have it 'for a limited time'; 
  3. I'm gonna make my own bacon shake! With vanilla ice cream! And maple syrup! And maybe even little pancake chunks! And lots of bits of actual BACON!!!
My friend Maureen confirmed the absence of actual bacon with this article from HuffPo. So vegetarians, Jews, and Lenten-Friday Catholics can try out this bad-boy. But only once. You'll see why.

Peace and all good,


  1. You are hilarious! I think you need to be a food critic in addition to the other 10,000 things you do. I would read your column every day. Please don't give up on Jack-In-The-Box, Leslie...their 2-for-99 cents tacos are amazing! Blended into a shake? Maybe not so much but you need to try them at least once :)
    P.S. thanks for the shout-out. I feel so special!

  2. I wanna try the one YOU make......

  3. Maureen, you are more than welcome for the shout-out, and as soon as I reach the point in life where I am not regularly snacking on my girls' dino chicken nuggets and other similar fare, I will consider giving more regular food reviews. ;) Kristin: there will be a party, and you WILL be invited! :)

  4. Bravo, well done! Your review was excellent and gave me all of the foreknowledge required to actually try this mystical elixir..... Although I think that it should also be printed, rolled up and buried in a jar in a cave for future archaeologists to find and ponder....what a wonderful look at humanity on the (pending) final year of the Mayan calendar!

  5. Thanks for stopping by Coffee Talk, 'grendell71', and for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the review, and I wish you all the best with your upcoming bacon shake tasting! :)