Chili's Big Smasher Review: This New Burger Is A Smash Hit

Big Smasher burger with seasoned fries
Big Smasher burger with seasoned fries - Michael Palan / Static Media

McDonald's Big Mac was first served to hungry steel workers, and ever since its introduction in 1967, there have been all kinds of "big" copycat burgers from both competitors and home cooks alike. Burger King once made a royal take that was called the Big King, and Carl's Jr. went large with its own Big Carl. In 2024, Chili's is throwing its hat into the ring with its new Big Smasher burger. After positive feedback from a small hyper-market trial run, this new entrée is now ready for the "big" time. In a statement provided to The Daily Meal, Director of Culinary Operations, Brian Paquette said, "Our new Big Smasher takes the Chili's hand-smashed burger our guests already love and layers on Thousand Island, diced red onions, lettuce, pickles and American cheese, making it a more delicious version of a fast food classic, with twice the meat of a Big Mac."

Big words, big boasts, and a bigger burger — but is Chili's Big Smasher better than a Big Mac? I recently visited Chili's HQ in Dallas, and not only got a sneak peek of the burger, but even strapped on a black chef coat and made one for myself in its test kitchen. I guess my chew and review will be a judgment of my own culinary skills, and is based on the burger's flavor, Big Mac-ness, value, and overall lovability.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer.

Read more: The Ultimate Ranking Of American Fast Food Restaurants

What Does Chili's Big Smasher Taste Like?

open faced Big Smasher showing fillings
open faced Big Smasher showing fillings - Michael Palan / Static Media

In the Chili's test kitchen, I got a behind-the-scenes look at how the Big Smasher comes together. A nicely sized raw burger patty is dropped on the flat top grill, seasoned, and then smashed in the four cardinal directions. Eventually, a slice of American cheese joins the grilling and gets so melty, it basically meshes in with the top of the newly smashed burger. Meanwhile, the bun's innards get a layer of butter and then are lightly toasted. Generously wide zig-zagging strokes of thousand island dressing are applied to both halves of the bun, and then the toppings are added to the affair.

Put together, the Big Smasher looks nothing at all like a Big Mac. A Big Mac's extra middle bun is superfluous to begin with, and I was happy it was absent here. However, some sesame seeds dotting the top of the bun would have been a nice touch, and given some added texture. Then again, the Big Smasher has no shortage of textures. The burger has a beautifully crisped exterior, and a nice medium-cooked, juicy interior, which is sandwiched between a bun that plays both soft and a tad toasty. The vegetables were as fresh tasting as they looked before being placed inside the burger, and the sauce, while perhaps not as winsome as the famous Big Mac sauce, is still a delicious glue that brings it all together.

Chili's Big Smasher Nutritional Info

Burgers being assembled in kitchen
Burgers being assembled in kitchen - Michael Palan / Static Media

The Big Smasher is a single, half-pound seasoned beef burger that's smashed, then topped with Thousand Island dressing, a two-finger pinch of diced red onions, a four-finger pinch of shredded lettuce, three pickle slices, and a slice of American cheese, all housed in a buttered and lightly toasted bun.

The Big Smasher nets 950 calories, 64 grams of fat, 24 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of trans fat, 140 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,400 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 46 grams of protein.

How To Order Chili's Big Smasher

Wall art inside Chili's HQ
Wall art inside Chili's HQ - Michael Palan / Static Media

The Big Smasher Burger joins Chili's other newbie, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, as a permanent addition to participating nationwide restaurants, starting April 29. The burger is an option on Chili's 3 For Me deal, or can be ordered à la carte with a side of fries. The 3 For Me menu is a three-course meal that starts at $10.99, which includes an entrée, a bottomless non-alcoholic beverage, and a choice of one side, like Chili's thick seasoned fries, mashed potatoes, black beans, and several other options to choose from. The burger can be customized to add or remove condiments and toppings, and some may incur additional costs. Personally, three pickles per burger isn't nearly enough for me, so I added four more to my version of the Big Smasher.

The Big Smasher Burger can be ordered anytime Chili's is open, in the restaurant for dine-in or take-out. Advance pre-orders for in-store or curbside pick-up are available by calling your local Chili's, or using Chili's app or website. Delivery is also an option, in partnership with DoorDash. My Chili's Rewards members are also treated to free chips and salsa with every visit. Terms and conditions apply.

The Final Verdict

Big Smasher on TV display
Big Smasher on TV display - Michael Palan / Static Media

While the Big Smasher takes aim at knocking down McDonald's Big Mac, I don't even see any competition between the two burgers. It's not that Chili's new burger isn't in the same league as the Big Mac, it just exists as its own crisp, juicy, and delicious burger. And let's be honest, even though the Golden Arches changed up its meat to make a Best Burger version of the Big Mac, it still just mainly tastes like multiple buns playing host to an endless pile of shredded lettuce.

Like Chili's new and solid Crispy Chicken Sandwich, the Big Smasher is a great addition to the chain's menu. It's made even better by being an option on the 3 For Me menu, which is currently one of the best deals to be found in the world of casual dining. With so many comely options, it's possible that multiple trips to Chili's are in order.

Since it seems that Chili's now has its sights set on making its own versions of popular sandwiches, I eagerly await its next in-house moves. How about a Chili's patty melt, or perhaps borrowing from the other part of the menu and conjuring up a fajita sandwich? Insert head-snapping, sizzling fajitas noise here.

Read the original article on Daily Meal