Does bacon really make McDonald's Big Mac, Quarter Pounder and fries better?

Is everything really better with bacon?

For people who are hog wild for it sprinkled on their doughnuts, baked in their brownies or even flavoring their mayonnaise, the answer is clearly yes.

On Wednesday, mega fast-food chain McDonald’s is hoping customers will squeal over the introduction of limited-time bacon-ized versions of its three most iconic menu items: the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder and french fries.

The burgers will each get three slices of applewood bacon, while the fries will be topped with warm cheddar cheese and applewood bacon-bit sauce.

“The whole idea is to make something new and fun, and everybody loves bacon, so let’s plus-up our classics,” said Chris Rowe, who owns eight McDonald’s restaurants throughout San Diego County, from El Cajon to University City.

To stir up anticipation for the smoky, salty supplements, participating McDonald’s are throwing a one-time-only bacon happy hour. From 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, customers will get a free side order of bacon that they can add to anything.

“If people want bacon on their hot fudge sundae, they can do that, or on a Filet-O-Fish, or whatever,” said Rowe. “It’s a way to get people excited about the bacon classics ... and it’ll be fun to see what people do with it.”

We imagine that some people won’t be able to wait until Wednesday to try bacon on their Big Mac or Quarter Pounder, so they’ll add their free bacon to the burgers a day early.

We couldn’t wait either, so we requested an advance taste-test of the bacon-amped classics. Rowe, who’s such a big bacon fan that he wanted it served on a tray at his wedding reception (the bride had other ideas), was happy to indulge us.

Here are the before-bacon and after-bacon results:

Big Mac

Before bacon: B+

After bacon: A

I grew up loving the Big Mac’s “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions — on a sesame seed bun” (great, now I can’t get that jingle out of my head). But the Big Mac has always lacked something for me. Something that would give it umph. Something, perhaps, like bacon?

In fact, the bacon boosted the Big Mac in a big way, giving it the salty, crunchy twist that it needed. Add it to the jingle: It’s better with bacon.

Quarter Pounder

Before bacon: A

After bacon: A+

Already improved last May with the launch of fresh — not frozen — beef, the cooked-to-order Quarter Pounder with bacon tastes like a quality steakhouse burger, at fast-food prices.

We have always added french fries to our Quarter Pounder With Cheese and never knew why. Now we know: They give it a nice, salty texture. Adding bacon does the same, with the addition of smoke. It’s even better with bacon.

French fries

Before bacon: A+

After bacon: A-

How do you improve on perfection? McDonald’s fries are the gold standard of fast-food joints — and the restaurant universe. Even people who swear by In-N-Out’s burgers admit that they wish they could pair them with fries from Mickey D’s (hence, the need to drown In-N-Out’s spuds in special “Animal Style” sauce).

McDonald’s warm, creamy cheddar sauce has nice-sized, smoky bacon pieces (more little slices than bits), but it made the fries too salty, and it sadly masked the awesome fry flavor. While it’s really good, it didn’t elevate the experience of eating them. They’re not better with bacon.

(Prices vary by store, but the average national price for the classic menu items with bacon are: Big Mac Bacon, $5.19-$5.39; Quarter Pounder Bacon, $5.29-$5.49; and Cheesy Bacon Fries, $3.15-$3.45.)

michele.parente@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @sdeditgirl

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