Monday, November 22, 2010

I ate Whataburger's 5-3-1 Burger and all you get is this lousy review!


5-3-1 Burger (Whataburger)
Price: $4.99
Calories: 1170
Fat: 81g
(available until Dec. 13, 2010)

One of the reservations I had about moving from Chicago to San Antonio was that I would have to survive without White Castle (yes, really). For a great deal of us, White Castle is, has been and always will be the go-to drunk-food joint in the wee hours of the night, as it provides a healthy smattering of grease twenty-four hours a day. In what may be construed as pure blasphemy to my friends and family north of the Sun Belt, I can truly say that I don't miss White Castle, because I have Whataburger. Sure, I'll probably still eat at White Castle when I go back home to visit, but let's just say I'm not curled up in a fetal position, rocking back and forth in the corner of my apartment after a night on the town because I can't find a good burger to sop up the sauce. And, to give it a bit of an edge, not only is Whataburger just as delicious at three in the afternoon as it is at three in the morning, but it also doesn't wreak havoc on your GI tract, as White Castle hamburgers are notorious for doing.

But I digress, as this isn't a treatise comparing Whataburger and White Castle so much as it is a review of Whataburger's new, limited-edition grease bomb: the 5-3-1 Burger. It was introduced at all Whataburger locations on Nov. 8, and it only took me one time to drive past the location on my way home from work to know that this shit was definitely going down sooner than later. Before I did try the burger, however, I took to the Interwebz to find out about that name. My first thought was that it was 531 calories. Nope. (In fact, the thing weighs in at more than TWICE that in calories.) Then I thought, "Huh... maybe the CEO of the company was vacationing somewhere, thought of the sandwich idea, and named it after the area code of wherever he was. Also a negative, as some quick research (read: Google) revealed that the 531 area code won't roll out in Eastern Nebraska until next year. Then I figured that it had to be combination of ingredients, hopefully with the "5" standing for five slices of bacon. I was getting warmer. Here's the description from Whataburger's Web site:

The Whataburger 5-3-1 is named for its unique toppings: five pickles, three onion rings and topped with one great creamy pepper sauce, all served with two 100 percent fresh, never frozen, American beef patties grilled to perfection, a slice of Monterey Jack cheese and a slice of American cheese between two slices of Texas Toast.

Well, five pickles isn't quite five slices of bacon, but I'm always up for onion rings on a burger. And being a (sometimes selective) stickler of semantics, I don't know how much I like them shilling the sauce as one item. I suppose, yes, it is one type of sauce, but it sounds like a cop-out to me. Couldn't they have called it the "5-3-2" and counted "2" as the two different types of cheese? Or perhaps not counting the sauce as "1", but rather, taking one big slice of bacon, breaking it into pieces and putting it on the burger would have been better. But I'm not here to cry over the bacon (or lack thereof), as five dollars and some change later, I had the beast on my coffee table and LORD HAVE MERCY is this one heckuva sandwich. The two burgers are cooked to perfection (like always), as the combination of the two cheeses and the sauce work wonderfully with the crispy onion rings and pickles (of which at least five are necessary in order for the pickle to not get lost in the shuffle). Oh yeah, and then there's the crispy, buttery Texas toast. The only real downfall here is that the thing sits in your stomach like a sack of nickels.  And I probably lost at least eighteen months of coronary mileage in one fell swoop as this thing went down, but it's a small price to pay for the experience. And seeing as this sandwich is only available until Dec. 13, I'll likely be back.

If you're lucky enough to have a Whataburger within reasonable driving distance of your home, GO. 

Rating (out of 5):

(Image appropriated for demonstrative purposes from


  1. This is a great review! :)

  2. Glad to see you back, Fernandez!

    Gladder to see you call out Whataburger for that "1 = sauce" nonsense.

    Less glad that Cali doesn't have Whataburger.

  3. Fernandez! Eat at Taco Bueno, stat! It is delicious.

  4. Thank you for reminding me of my fondness for Whataburger.

    Oh, and welcome back to the internet.