The Making of Wendy's Smoky Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger

How a one-of-a-kind Wendy’s hamburger is made

The hot beef short ribs were braised in a rich and flavorful demi-glace, then placed on top of a goat cheese herb spread so it melted into the beef. 

The onions were slow cooked until the sugars caramelized to bring out their natural sweetness.

The crispy smoked mushroom was brined and marinated so it would hold onto its moisture, then smoked for two hours before being lightly breaded and fried to crispy perfection with a light, delicate crunch. 

This life-changing sandwich was topped off with arugula, whose peppery flavor complemented the tomato. Finally, the mushroom aioli.

Oh, baby, the mushroom aioli.

The Sandwich

This is the story of the Smoky Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger, which didn’t begin as the Smoky Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger. It began with a question we asked our suppliers and our Culinary Innovation team.

What will Wendy’s sandwiches look like 10 or 20 years from now?

We landed on the beautiful short rib sandwich I described above. But we had to evolve it into something that we could efficiently reproduce for millions of people, so we asked ourselves another question:

How do we make this kind of delicious sandwich accessible to our customers in a way that highlights our Fresh, Never Frozen Beef? 

Challenge accepted!

The Creative Process

We hosted a “Culinary Shakedown” at our Wendy’s Innovation Kitchen. It was interactive. It was fun. It was filling! Our Culinary team put together an incredible menu and we spent a day in the kitchen, working with our chefs to prepare for the working session that took place at lunch the next day. 

 Wendy's delicious Smoky Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger. 

Wendy's delicious Smoky Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger. 

Everything we tasted during the session was delicious, but that short rib mushroom sandwich stood out from the rest. It had the perfect balance of tastes, textures, flavors and aroma. You could tell the sandwich was carefully designed and constructed with the anatomy of each bite in mind.

We knew going in that our customers love mushrooms. We also knew that we had to prepare the mushrooms in a way that our restaurant teams could easily replicate. We started with a small portabella mushroom that we sliced, sautéed, roasted and then sprinkled with a smoky seasoning that has onion, garlic, salt and pepper.

Then we cooked crispy onion tanglers to recreate the original sandwich’s crispy, crunchy texture and caramelized onion taste. These ingredients all combined perfectly with our fresh, never frozen beef patties, Asiago cheese and – of course – our crispy Applewood smoked bacon to boost the smoky experience even more.

This is how the Smoky Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger was born. It’s a testament to why we get up every day – I love that we can work closely with our suppliers and use our passion for food to create food our customers love.  

The Team

Of course, it takes more than an idea to make great food. Our Culinary, Commercialization and Quality Assurance team members worked intimately with the ingredients and suppliers to make the Smoky Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger a reality in restaurants across North America.  

Marketing, Operations, Finance, Training, Supply Chain – they all had a hand in this, too. And we wouldn’t be talking about this new hamburger if it weren’t for our field teams, operations leaders, general managers, regional managers, shift leaders, sandwich makers, fry cooks, grill cooks and prep cooks – all of whom play in making a product launch successful.

They are the true recipe to our success!

Go out and try one today.

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