09 April, 2009

Breakfast Sandwich Cage Match: McDonald's vs. 7-11

Most weekdays, I haven't got the time to make a real breakfast at home, so I usually have toast spread with some labneh and a touch of jam. Occasionally for a treat I'll stop at McDonald's on my way to work and buy a Sausage McMuffin with Egg, which is the Emperor of all fast food breakfast sandwiches.

This morning was hectic. I was running late and didn't have the time even for my usual toast, and McDonald's was insanely crowded with long lines both inside and at the drive-through. So I stopped at the much-less-crowded 7-11 a mile down the road instead. 7-11's coffee is aces, and I thought at the very least I could grab a coffee and maybe a bag of popcorn or something to hold me over until lunch.

In the center of the coffee service island, though, there was a warming oven filled with various breakfast sandwiches. Cool, thought I; I wouldn't have to skip breakfast after all. I selected a Fresh To Go Sausage Egg and Cheese on an English Muffin sandwich and was soon on my way to work.

The Comparison:

Freshness: 7-11 is a convenience store, not a restaurant, and they bring their breakfast sandwiches in to be reheated and held at serving temperature until purchased. Because of this, they just can't taste as fresh as a McDonald's McMuffin, which is made to order. So as far as "freshness" goes, I simply accept that 7-11's product starts off with an obvious handicap and take it from there. No points awarded.

English muffin: McDonald's toasts or grills theirs, however minimally. That bit of golden toastiness goes a long way toward flavor, though, and 7-11's muffins still have that "raw" flavor that untoasted muffins exhibit. +1 McD.

Cheese: 7-11's cheese is strange and plasticy, with an artificial taste and a strange slippery texture. Reminds me of Cheese Wiz or Velveeta, neither of which are in my Top One Million Foods list. McDonald's uses straightforward orange Kraft American Cheese produced for them under contract. +1 McD.

Egg: The cooked eggs are the same diameter, cooked to the same degree of doneness, and have the same fresh eggy flavor. The only difference I can see is that the 7-11 egg is thinner. Maybe they're using smaller eggs? +1 McD, +1 7-11 (tie.)

Sausage: McDonald's sausage is a nearly perfect blend of herbs, spice, meaty flavor, and salt. If I could buy it in the store in bulk, I would, because it's just that awesome. 7-11's sausage has a very good texture, not quite as salty as I expected it, and a strong cayenne pepper presence. Spicier than McDonald's, but not as well-balanced a flavor. Thing is, it works in context. Although I wouldn't buy 7-11's sausage for its own sake, it's quite enjoyable on the sandwich. +1 McD, +1 7-11 (a tie.)

The score:

McDonald's Sausage McMuffin with Egg: 4/5
7-11's Fresh To Go Sausage Egg and Cheese on an English Muffin: 2/5

McDonald's wins by a decision.


1 comment:

auntjone said...

I also occasionally indulge in a McD's breakfast sandwich and agree that they are tops. I really can't stand any breakfast item at Burger King. Sadly (?) those are the only two fast-food breakfast options I have on my way to work. I haven't checked the local gas stations (no 7-11 nearby) to see if they have better fare but I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for the review!