Chili dogs, ghost peppers and more at area fast-food chains

Grilled Dogs are made with 100 percent beef and flame-grilled on the same grill
Chili dogs, ghost peppers and more at area fast-food chains

This is the real world, and dining out isn’t always about white table cloths and candlelight. For some of us, the bulk of our food budget is spent in the drive-through lane. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want it to taste good. Here are some new offerings at area fast-food joints that have drawn our attention.

Founded in 1954, Burger King has become the second largest fast food chain in the world and has been labeled “Home of the Whopper.” Now the food joint has become the largest restaurant chain in America to sell flame-grilled hot dogs.

Grilled Dogs are made with 100 percent beef and flame-grilled on the same grill where the Whopper sandwich is made.

The Classic (310 calories, 32g carbohydrates) is topped with ketchup, mustard, chopped onions and relish and served on a fluffy baked bun. The Chili Cheese Grilled Dog (330 calories) is with the addition of chili and cheese. Suggested retail price is $1.99 and $2.99.

“The introduction of Grilled Dogs just made sense to our guests and for our brand,” said Alex Macedo, president, North America, for the Burger King brand. “We’re applying over 60 years of flame-grilling expertise with the Whopper sandwich to make Grilled Dogs the next great American icon.” As hard as they try nothing compares to Wienerschnitzel and their original, 100 percent all beef or polish sausage. 

For a limited time only, Wendy’s has ramped up the heat with the return of the Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken sandwich (590 calories, 51g carbs), which consists of their classic spicy chicken breast topped with fresh, diced jalapeños, ghost pepper sauce and Colby pepper jack cheese, all on a red jalapeño bun for $4.99.

Never heard of the ghost pepper? From India, the ghost pepper is 400 times hotter than Tabasco with a Scoville heat unit of 1,041,427. It is currently ranked the No. 7 hottest pepper in the world.

If that’s not enough heat, get the sandwich with a side of the Ghost Pepper Fries (520 calories). It’s Wendy’s natural cut fries topped with fresh, diced jalapeños, ghost pepper sauce, and warm Cheddar cheese sauce for $1.99.

Back by popular demand at Taco Bell are the $1 Beefy Crunch Burrito and the $1 Cheesy Double Beef Burrito. Ingredients (460 calories, 58g carbs) include Flamin’ Hot Fritos, Mexican rice, seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, reduced-fat sour cream all wrapped up in a flour tortilla.

According to Taco Bell, a grassroots movement with more than 40,000 members was created since 2011 in support of the Beefy Crunch Burrito.

Jack in the Box has permanently switched its onion rings to Panko onion rings (443 calories, 51g carbs). Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb, which is supposed to be lighter and add more flavor and texture.

Popeyes has announced for a limited time the Southern Fair Tenders. For $4.99, you get three handcrafted tenders marinated in authentic Louisiana seasonings, dipped in a traditional, lightly southern sweet cornmeal breading, then fried. You can pair it with Popeyes all new wild honey mustard dipping sauce, with a side and biscuit.

“A perfect reflection of Popeyes’ Louisiana heritage, the flavor of our new Southern Fair Tenders conjures up memories and images of the ideal afternoon at the state fair,” said Hector Muñoz, Popeyes’ chief U.S. marketing officer. “This new spin on our famous handcrafted tenders is the essence of the southern fair experience — if you love eating a corn dog while walking the midway at the fair, you’ll love our new Southern Fair Tenders.”

The craze in the pizza world seems to be stuffed crust, so Pizza Hut has served out the new Applewood Smoked Bacon Crust Pizza, which will cost you $12.99 (extra for other toppings, etc.). One slice will run you about 300 calories.

Just in time for hot weather, Sonic has issued several new frozen limeades, and lemonades such as strawberry, blue raspberry and cherry.

Four new Master Shakes are Wildberry & Lavender, Bourbon Brown Sugar, Iced Toffee and Dulce de Leche.

And their Master Blaster (our favorite) has upgrades like Chocolate Mint Camp Cookie, Oreo Chocolate, Double Stuff Oreo and Peanut Butter Camp Cookie.