Spicy has become a basic QSR flavor, along with barbecue. McDonald’s is doing a spicy LTO version of Chicken McBites; Jack in the Box has its Chipotle Chicken Club sandwich. But fiery is another matter, and that’s the territory into which Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is wandering.
The chain has added two new “styles” or toppings bundles that can be added to its $6.99 Tavern Double burger added in April or the even newer and larger Red’s Big Tavern burger (one 6-oz. patty compared to the Tavern Double’s two 2.67-oz. patties). Both styles incorporate the zing of the infamous ghost pepper, reputed to be the hottest chile (800 times the Scoville heat units of a jalapeňo). Ask for the burger Fiery Ghost Style and toppings include not only ghost-pepper sauce but also freshly cut and dried jalapeňos atop pepper-Jack cheese.
The slightly less threatening Cry Baby Style calls for toppings of crispy onion straws in a dry seasoning infused with Southeast Asian sriracha chili sauce. There’s also onions sautéed in Cholula hot sauce along with the pepper-Jack and a ghost-pepper ketchup.
The styles—including the original Pig Out, Cantina Jack and Buzzalo varieties—are a $1 upcharge with the burger, allowing the chain to create new LTOs without having to create a new burger.