Can we all agree that breakfast burritos, particularly breakfast burritos from fast food places, are generally hot bags of nonsense? We can’t think of a single time that we’ve driven through a McDonald’s or Taco Bell, opted for the breakfast burrito option, and ended the meal by saying, “Well, that was a good decision.”
While mom-and-pop shops’ or homemade breakfast burritos can carry huge payloads of potatoes, meat, egg, cheese, rice, beans, rotisserie chickens, miniature ponies, or catapults, the fast food version can never truly disguise what it most essentially IS: Powdered reconstituted eggs, limp microwaved sausage, with heaping helpings of artificial smoke flavoring and fake grill marks galore.
It was with this healthy cynicism, then, that we approached the Sausage GranDDe Burrito* from Dunkin’ Donuts, a 10-ounce breakfast burrito that begins with a tortilla filled with a spicy omelet with jalapenos, red bell peppers and pepper jack cheese with habanero. Dunkin’ Donuts then packs in a rice and bean blend that also includes corn, fire-roasted peppers and onions, and an enormous slab of sausage.
In a shot at McDonald’s all-day breakfast offerings, Dunkin’ seems determined to make not just a hearty new breakfast item, but a craveable, portable meal that customers will track down at any time of day.
The first thing you notice about the Sausage GranDDe Burrito is its size. Clocking in at over half a pound, the thin tortilla is jam-packed with food. The ingredients seem to follow the Dunkin’ Donuts tradition of being prepared exclusively dozens of little paper microwave trays, but a burrito form factor for those ingredients actually makes this less noticeable.
We could make out clearly distinct layers of an egg-bag-folded-omelet thing, studded with peppers, as well as a massive piece of sausage running the length of the burrito, with tons of melty cheese, rice, beans, and even a few errant kernels of corn complete with char marks intended to trick you into thinking you are eating food made by human hands instead of your robotic Dunkin’ Donuts overlords.
The burrito also includes two packages of insipid, white-label, no-name “picante sauce” that added just the right amount of vinegar and tomato to the proceedings. For the first few bites, the Sausage GranDDe burrito seemed to be business as usual: A collection of textures and temperatures, with nothing to really differentiate one flavor from the next. But as we worked our way though the burrito, our enthusiasm grew and grew. The Sausage GranDDe Burrito packs a pleasant heat, as well as tons of cheese oozing and rippling throughout the added rice and veggies.
Unlike similar offerings at McDonald’s (that granted, cost less than half of the Sausage GranDDe Burrito’s $3.99 sticker price), we were impressed by the sheer volume of ingredients packed into the whisper thin, lightly crispy flour tortilla. Whereas breakfast burritos from some chains amount to a loosely-connected assemblage of curdled egg bits studded with little pellets of flavorless sausage, the Sausage GranDDe Burrito seems jammed with recognizable ingredients, loaded with flavor. Where competitors may seek to homogenize flavors to appeal to delicate morning stomachs, Dunkin’ Donuts seems comparatively unafraid to hit us with surprising amounts of meat, salt, and heat, which are basically the three things we are looking for at breakfast time. And at over 700 calories, if you can handle this for breakfast, it’s enough food to power you through until at least dinner time.
Bonus! Want to listen to my audio tasting notes from this review (and listen to a grown man’s enthusiasm for a breakfast burrito spiral out of control over the course of five minutes)? They’re right here:
(Nutrition Facts – 1 burrito (sausage) – 710 calories, 370 calories from fat, 41 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 225 milligrams of cholesterol, 1660 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 30 grams of protein.)