Look up there, at that picture. Look at that sandwich. Does anything strike you as being, well ... a little wrong?
I stumbled on this photo while occupied with my usual habit of browsing through online menus. Immediately, I had questions. Within minutes, I tweeted about it. Within an hour, I was standing at the counter, ordering this strange, frightening sandwich to experience it for myself.
The inside-out chicken BLT sandwich is served at Wayback Burgers, a global chain with two locations in Irving, one in Addison and one in Frisco, plus stores in places as far-flung as the Netherlands, Brunei and Sudan. Yes, Sudan, a country where even McDonald’s doesn’t operate.
At the location on Riverside Drive in Irving, my chicken BLT arrived and I stared in wonder. The online photo had not lied: There was my bun, flipped inside out, both buttered, toasted open ends facing outward and both the top and bottom turned inward toward a slab of chicken. Well, OK, the online photo did lie a little: My chicken was fried, not grilled.
But why the backward buns? What is happening here, and whose idea was it to serve a sandwich inside-out? To find out, I called Nazneen Ahmed, owner of Irving’s other Wayback Burgers location over in Cypress Waters.
“A lot of people ask that question, about why the bun flip,” Ahmed says. “This is actually designed, all the ingredients and everything, from corporate office.”
Ahmed gamely tried to explain the corporate office’s logic.
“The reason for the bread flipping is this sandwich should be grilled with the butter,” she told me. “When you put the butter — you know how one side absorbs the liquid and the other side does not? That’s why you flip the bun and put the butter on the grill.”
Now, I’m not sure that logic makes sense. It’s certainly possible to griddle a bun in butter, let all that butter get absorbed into the bread and then serve the bun the normal way. But I guess the idea is to get all that buttery crispness on the outside, right up against our taste buds.
There are two self-evident truths about Wayback Burgers’ chicken BLT. First, the flipped bun makes it insanely messy to eat. I had to walk back to the counter halfway through my sandwich to ask for more napkins. Combined with the generous squirt of mayonnaise, all that butter guarantees shiny fingers.
Second, the chicken BLT is a very good sandwich. The fried chicken piece has satisfying crunch, the bacon (made with beef, since Wayback Burgers is halal) is thick-cut and substantial, the lettuce and tomato hold all that salt in balance and, in my wisdom, I added a slice of pepper jack for an extra bit of heat. In spite of my greasy fingers, I couldn’t stop eating.
Shout out, too, to the tater tots, which for a limited time are being tossed in a Cajun spice mix. This is as good as it sounds.
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Not all of Wayback Burgers’ sandwiches are made in such a sacrilegious manner; in fact, only two are. Most of the buns here are toasted the normal way, but the chicken BLT and the Cheeeesy Burger are served with the flipped buns. I’m going to let Ahmed explain the Cheeeesy Burger to you:
“There’s two patties and four slices of yellow American cheese. Two cheeses go on top of the buns when we put the butter on the grill. And then two more cheeses on the meat.” In other words, somewhere near you, there’s a griddle with two patties and two buns lined up in a pool of butter, all four foodstuffs topped with melting slices of cheese.
Maybe this inside-out thing makes sense after all.
Wayback Burgers, multiple locations in Irving, Addison and Frisco