In my present state of ketosis, I’m not ashamed to admit that I dream of McMuffins. Because in my previous state of frequent hungoverness, they were the things that restored the life that the last giant Bacardi and Diet of the previous evening had stolen from me. And so, like a good smelling salt, before I’d make my way into the office, I’d pull into a nearby McDonald’s drive-thru and order two Egg McMuffin Meals (a large orange juice replacing the coffee) and allow that perfectly constructed breakfast bungalow of English muffin, ham, cheese and egg to clear the fog that clouded my synapses and to return the motor function a man of my age should possess. (I ate them in the parking lot Kobayashi-style, finishing both quicker than whatever inane pop song blared from my radio — the post-Bacardi haze dictating my poor music choices.)
But obviously, in my pursuit of a better body, McMuffins are now completely off-the-menu. And while I could cheat and make the case that the McMuffin contains more than enough fat to easily qualify as “dirty keto,” I don’t get down with that kind of dirt as my keto is as pure as an apple is filled with carbs. That doesn’t mean the longing stops, though — especially in the first few hours of the morning after my two designated drinking nights. On such mornings, I’m aching for that Mickey D’s grease. Its healing powers greater than Advil, Gatorade and sleep combined. But alas, I’m forced to seek out protein that might actually be a better cureall — i.e., not a hockey-puck like egg and shriveled slice of ham. Yet it never feels as though it’s doing the lord’s work of sopping up the copious amount of rum roiling amongst my innards, and certainly not even remotely with the same kind of efficacy as a McMuffin.
All of which is to say, when I heard that McDonald’s was releasing its latest version of the McMuffin, the Triple Breakfast Stacks, on Thursday, I couldn’t deprive myself of it — ketosis and my physical well-being be damned. It is, without a doubt, remarkably decadent, with not one, but two sausage patties as well as two slices of cheese and two slices of bacon. (Strangely, they stop at just a single egg, though; personally, for symmetrical purposes alone, I would have continued the doubles motif throughout.) Further decadence includes an option where you can forego the English muffin for a McGriddle. Essentially then, if you so choose, you can wrap all that sausage, cheese, bacon and egg within a pancake.
I’m a traditionalist, however. And so, I went with the standard English McMuffin presentation. My first thought was, “Holy shit, I already finished half of this thing.” But once my Pavlovian instincts relaxed, I was mostly taken by how the second sausage makes everything top-heavy both aesthetically (it looks like it’s about topple over) and practically (it does quickly topple over). The double dose of patty also overwhelms the overall taste. That is, this thing is real motherfucking sausage-y. Also, the bacon wasn’t nearly crisp enough, which gives the proceedings a soggy, half-assed texture.
Still, when a moment of weakness calls, I’d do it again — just not like that. Because the McMuffin itself needs no reinvention. It is, without a doubt, the perfect breakfast sandwich and simplicity personified. I feel the same about the Egg White Delight version, which I attempted to use as a replacement for the real thing in the earliest days of my health kick. But it, too, was a soggy imitation whose existence was unnecessary. So if I have any regrets — beyond, of course, the 530 calories from fat and 59 grams of total fat I ingested in one sitting — it’s that I allowed a gimmick to wear down my resolve, which left my true Egg McMuffin dreams unfulfilled.
Here’s what the rest of our staff thought of it — as in order to assuage my guilt and justify cheating on my diet, I forced them to eat the Triple Breakfast Stacks too as part of a journalistic taste-test…
Quinn Myers, Contributing Writer: When the lab rats deep in the catacombs of McDonald’s corporate came up with a way to make some synthetic pancake-bun amalgamation, that was it. We made it. The Sausage Egg & Cheese McGriddles® is the perfect breakfast sandwich — sweet with a tinge of spice from the sausage. It’s a pipin’ hot, greasy mushfest in my mouth, and when I eat it in the car, I do this funny little thing where I moan ohfuUuck after every bite while my fiancée ignores me.
That said, the McGriddle weighs in at 420 calories alone (nice), making it one of the top three breakfast sandwiches calorically. The shame I feel after eating one is only outdone by the havoc being wrought on my intestines, and it’s for this reason, I only treat myself to the McGriddle if it’s very early in the morning and I’m on my way to the airport.
But because McDonald’s is losing money, they sent the lab rats back to the catacombs to burp out the Triple Breakfast Stack McGriddles®.
I’m never really one to eat food with the words “triple” or “stack” in the description, but I did — for a paycheck. With TWO sausage patties, TWO slices of American cheese, bacon, egg and the aforementioned technological feat of syrupy “griddle cakes,” the Triple Stack McGriddle weighs in at a whopping 850 calories. (You can feel the weight of it in your hand.)
On first bite, it tastes much like a normal McGriddle, except, you know, more. More sausage and more cheese in the slimy hot orgy of flavor happening in your mouth. The bacon is there, but there’s more bacon taste than bacon crunch. I don’t need bacon added to what was the perfect breakfast sandwich, especially with the 70 additional calories it brings, according to McDonald’s “Nutrition Calculator.”
After three bites I’m nearly done. The hot mush is rapidly cooling into sweet room-temperature moosh. It’s all chemicals. Chemicals and fat. I can’t finish it. I turn 30 in ten days, and it’s all downhill after that — this meaty mushfest is just greasing up the slope.
Andrew Fiouzi, Staff Writer: The McDonald’s Egg McMuffin is delicious. It was delicious 20 some odd years ago when I tried it for the first time, and it’s just as delicious today. Sure, post-McMuffin, I feel like I’ve ingested a bad batch mushrooms, but honestly, it’s worth it. Few things are better than that singular foggy feeling of eating cheese that’s barely melted atop spongy shitty eggs and “I don’t know what this substance is but it sure isn’t meat,” all of which is held together by two slices of bread I wish were just a little bit crispier.
Having said all of that, this new thing — this Egg McMuffin on steroids — feels the same way all American fast-food concepts on steroids do: one cup of greasiness too far to still be considered good-shitty. Put another way, when you’re already weighing the grease-bludgeoning-to-tasty-delight ratio, adding more grease is likely to tip the scale in the direction of “maybe I should just get a smoothie instead.”
Sam Dworkin, Senior Designer: As someone who’s spent most of their adult life hungover/baked crushing Double Quarter Pounders With Cheese (and extra onions), the idea of a monster breakfast sandwich was very appealing. I went with the biscuit option, thinking the fluffy dough would be able to combat the three layers of meat sludge and microwaved eggs.
Much like the Double Quarter Pounder, the first bite was like breaking down a dam of grease that released down my esophagus, and after a few bites, I began to realize that my fluffy biscuit was acting as a giant greasy sponge. I made it about halfway when my biscuit could no longer support the weight of the fluids and began to fall apart.
At this point, I acted quickly and decided to go with with the low-carb route, removing the deceased biscuit and pecking at the bacon and sausage like a stoned condor. Besides the foundation of my sandwich falling apart, however, it wasn’t nearly as terrible as the Donald Trump meal I experienced, and I expect the English muffin option would be a much better choice. Still, I wouldn’t suggest anyone eat this grease puck if they plan on having a productive day at work. But if you plan on lying on your couch all day, YOLO.
Ian Lecklitner, Staff Writer: This is essentially a traditional Sausage McMuffin with double the sausage, double the cheese and double the depressive capabilities — none of which benefits from the addition of two limp slices of microwaveable bacon. Don’t get me wrong: It was delicious, but the aftertaste was that of impending doom.
Magdalene Taylor, Editorial Assistant: For starters, I don’t even eat meat. I’ll occasionally order an Egg McMuffin, but always without the Canadian Bacon. In other words, I’m not the person the Triple Breakfast Stacks is for. But still, there it was before me, already paid for, dollars already transferred to the slaughterhouse to send another pig to death. So I ate the sandwich. I largely enjoyed the experience, as the product is designed to hit that sweet spot for carbs/fat/salt in my brain. Obviously, I felt vaguely ill for the rest of the day, eating nothing else but a sad bowl of cereal before bed.
Miles Klee, Staff Writer: I go through McDonald’s breakfast phases. A couple of summers ago, in upstate New York for an artist’s residency, I was getting the bacon-egg-and-cheese biscuit every morning, convinced that these greasebombs would aid my productivity. (In practice, they just made me take more naps.) I’m not currently at that level of obsession, so a major hurdle to consuming one of these triple-deckers was that I just… didn’t want one. Without a legitimate McDonald’s craving, their food seems appalling in every respect.
It didn’t help that I was slightly late to the smorgasbord, so my biscuit sandwich was lukewarm by the time I started in on it. Revulsion was immediate, led by the oversweet sausage — I never order their sausage products for this reason — and the fact that the bacon was laid directly atop this patty made for an extremely cursed mouthfeel. The meal then became a race against time: Could I finish this monstrosity before my body revolted? Halfway through, having swallowed roughly the equivalent of a regular McD breakfast sammy, I sensed a panic coming on as my brain realized there was a lot of processed meat and egg-like gelatin left. “There’s more??!” my guts cried. Two more bites and I hit my limit, tossing the final mangled remains. I ended up wolfing two cold hash browns in the hopes of restoring some digestive equilibrium. No such luck.
Anyway, I no longer fear death.
Tracy Moore, Staff Writer: I grew up thinking of fast food, and breakfast fast food, as the equivalent of foie gras. It was a rare luxurious treat, and getting to pick whatever we wanted off the menu at Hardee’s or Mickey D’s some Saturday mornings, like we suddenly could when my mom snagged that one rich boyfriend, still warms the cockles of my (artery-clogged) heart. So eating this new triple stack biscuit situation, that, best as I could tell, had sausage, egg, cheese and bacon on a greasy cloud of heaven, was like going home again. It’s just a combination of everything I’ve always loved about McDonald’s breakfast times three. Or two. I’m not great at math. That said, you can have too much of a good thing, and I found myself having to power through the last ’roided-out third of the biscuit, becoming sluggish and lethargic with each additional bite. For that reason, I consider this menu addition unnecessary capitalistic overreach: It wasn’t broke, and it didn’t need fixin’.
Alana Hope Levinson, Deputy Editor: I had the flu for days before this and was finally starting to feel better when I decided to eat the Triple Breakfast Stack. (I am mentally ill.) It single-handedly made me full-blown sick again, and for that, I will never forgive McDonald’s, my employer, and most of all, myself.