FOOD: Burger King – YUMBO Hot Ham & Cheese

Are you over the age of 50? Were you around the first time that bell bottoms were a fashion statement? Do you remember when the tracks on the oldies rock stations were top 40 hits? If so, you just might remember the Yumbo, a short-lived hot ham and cheese sandwich offering from Burger King. It had an official run in America from 1969 to 1974, but saw more time at individual franchises and overseas in places like Puerto Rico. Now, in December of 2014, Burger King has decided the time is ripe to re-introduce the Yumbo sandwich as part of their “2 for $5” sandwich promotion.

Like a lot of discontinued food items, the Yumbo has had a somewhat prominent following who remember the sandwich and want it back. Burger King has responded to their cries, but we have to wonder – is 40 years too long to really bring back a menu item with such fanfare? People who would have been around to taste the first version of the Yumbo would be well into their 60s by now, and while we won’t discredit the influence the over 50 crowd would have on Burger King’s decisions, it doesn’t mesh all too well with Burger King’s “cool, hip” image.

But hey, everything old is new again, right? Retro stuff is all the craze! Disco music and 70s fashion is still being re-invented today, so who’s to say that a 70s sandwich can’t be re-introduced? We’ll give the Yumbo a try, and see if it’ll be worth a revival – or if it should’ve been left in the past. Well, here goes…

Yumbo 02

We kept mistakenly calling this sandwich “the Hambo”.

The “Black Forest” ham is immediately disappointing. It has a rubbery texture, with a very faint hint of smoke, and that’s about as far as it goes. It’s thin, watery, and has no meaningful hint of spice. This is a good opportunity to mention that calling it Black Forest ham is misleading – it’s in the style of the ham produced in the Black Forest region of Germany, which isn’t saying very much. In Europe, Black Forest ham is a regionally-protected term, but in America, it doesn’t mean much of anything.

The cheese is your standard American cheese. It’s cold and barely melted, which leaves it with a less-than-smooth consistency. It’s a good taste match for the salty ham, but it was more of a nuisance in the long run: on the 5-minute drive home, the “hot” cheese got cold immediately. Throwing it in the microwave to get it reheated for consumption made it warm, but as soon as the cheese had a chance to just barely begin to melt, it immediately went cold again. Argh!

Yumbo 03

Behold, the Sadwich!

The lettuce is crispy and crunchy, but flavorless, adding unnecessary texture. Aggravating the issue was the fact that the distribution of the lettuce was sporadic, with some bites being bare and some being unnecessarily loaded.

Calling the bun “toasted” may be accurate enough, but it feels misleading. The terminology and promotional material seems to suggest a dry and buttery bun that could hold its own, but the actual product is chewy and soggy, giving all of its potential consistency up to the onslaught of mayo it’s been smothered in. The only real thing of note that can be said about it is that it mercifully doesn’t overpower the flavor of the meat, and isn’t thicker than the contents of the sandwich, unlike other fast food places.

2 out of 5 – Not Worth Trying
All of these unpleasantries add up to a mediocre experience that could be only described as a rollercoaster of disappointment. The first bite suggests that it’s actually going to be quite delicious, but by the time you’re done with it (and yes, we’re going to have to admit that it’s a very filling sandwich), it’s long overstayed its welcome. We’d love to say that this is a menu item that should have stayed in the past, but what makes this even more insulting is the fact that this isn’t even the original Yumbo. If they sized it down to a burger-sized value menu item, this may have been something noteworthy. As it is, we’d rather eat a Hot Pocket.

As this sandwich was part of the 2 for $5 sandwich promotion, the second sandwich that we ordered was an Original Chicken Sandwich. Expect a review for that at a later date!

One Comment

  • This was one of my favorites in the 70’s . I don’t however remember the sandwich having lettuce or mayo . Don’t think I will try what I can’t remember .

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