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The Dish: Battle of the breakfast bombs

We sample five fast food options and three local creations to tell you if they’re worth the calories.

The Big Sam sandwich at Cascone’s Grill is piled high with Italian sausage, eggs, cheese and hash browns.

The chorizo breakfast burrito at Pancho’s Mexican Food, 3540 Main St., is hard to finish in one sitting.

The bestselling Southwestern Benny at Eggtc. is big enough for two: Two biscuits, two sausage patties, eggs and chorizo gravy served with breakfast potatoes or fruit.

Sonic’s Ultimate Meat & Cheese Breakfast Burrito weighs in at 800 calories.

McDonald’s Steak, Egg and Cheese Bagel has more than twice the calories of an Egg McMuffin.

The Monster Biscuit at Hardee’s lives up to its name with sliced ham, sausage, bacon, egg and cheese exploding out of a buttery biscuit.

The Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich debuted at Dunkin’ Donuts last summer.

Burger King’s Double Croissan’wich wedges sausage, bacon, fluffy folded eggs and two slices of American cheese together between a croissant bun.

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Last month, a Philadelphia eatery called PYT unveiled a burger with deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for buns.

“Once the new year started we decided to throw off all the New Year’s resolutions and start off with a fatty burger,” PYT’s manager told Time. “That’s what people want.”

Apparently they want it first thing in the morning — have you noticed the proliferation of mega-calorie breakfast sandwiches on fast food menus?

McDonald’s, Burger King and Hardee’s all serve a twist on the breakfast bomb, a hunger- and resolution-destroying sandwich exploding with eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese and more bacon.

Last month, I sampled eight of the biggest breakfast bombs I could find — five from fast food joints and three from local restaurants — to find out if they’re worth the caloric damage. Bombs away!

Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich at Dunkin’ Donuts

The specs: Fried egg and a few bacon slices wedged between a sliced, glazed doughnut. The sandwich debuted last summer, and it isn’t on the menu at all Dunkin’ Donuts’ anymore, but employees at a Lawrence location made the sandwich upon request, no problem.

The damage: $2.69, 360 calories, 20 grams of fat (8 grams saturated)

Worth it? Not really.The warm doughnut tasted really good, but its soft texture was too similar to the fried egg, so the sandwich was a little spongy. I’d rather have the doughnut plain, with a cup of coffee.

Double Croissan’wich With Sausage and Bacon at Burger King

The specs: Fluffy folded eggs, sausage and smoked bacon topped with two slices of American cheese on a croissant bun.

The damage: $3.99, 580 calories, 40 grams of fat (15 grams saturated)

Worth it? Almost. The sausage had tons of spicy flavor, and the bacon was thick and crispy, not thin and floppy. But the fragile, buttery croissant bun was way too flimsy to rein in all of that meat.

Steak, Egg & Cheese Bagel at McDonald’s

The specs: A hefty steak patty joins folded eggs, American cheese and grilled onions between slices of a buttery bagel.

The damage: $4.59, 680 calories, 35 grams of fat (13 grams saturated)

Worth it? Nope. This sturdy sandwich gets points for presentation, but biting into the too-firm bagel takes some serious jaw strength. The onions were a nice touch, but calling the compressed beef patty “steak” is a stretch. I’d rather have a Big Mac (550 calories) or, better yet, an Egg McMuffin (290 calories).

Monster Biscuit at Hardee’s

The specs: This huge breakfast sandwich has three kinds of meat (bacon, sausage patty, sliced ham), plus lots of egg and two slices of American cheese busting out of a biscuit.

The damage: $3.49, 730 calories, 49 grams of fat (18 grams saturated)

Worth it? On occasion. This Monster looks scary (that poor little biscuit doesn’t even pretend to contain all that meat) but, surprisingly, tastes scary good. The ham is smoky and sliced paper-thin, the bacon is crispy, the cheese is melty and the biscuit has a fresh-baked, buttery taste.

Ultimate Meat & Cheese Breakfast Burrito at Sonic

The specs: It’s not a sandwich, but at 800 calories (that’s 250 more than a Big Mac), this burrito definitely qualifies as a breakfast bomb. Picture a warm white flour tortilla stuffed with cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon strips, sausage crumbles and tater tots.

The damage: $3.89,800 calories, 56 grams of fat (18 grams saturated)

Worth it? Not for 800 calories. The cheesy tater tots are pretty irresistible, but the burrito was smaller and skimpier on the fillings than expected.

Chorizo Breakfast Burrito at Pancho’s Mexican Food, 3546 Main St.

The specs: A huge, heavy burrito full of crumbled chorizo, hunks of potato, scrambled eggs and cheese. I didn’t have a scale on me, but I swear that thing weighed at least a pound.

The damage: $4.25, nutrition facts unknown

Worth it? Hell, yes. This spicy burrito doesn’t skimp on the chorizo, and the warm, super-fresh tortilla protects against premature detonation. Take that, Chipotle.

‘The Big Sam’ sandwich at Cascone’s Grill, 15 E. Fifth St. in the River Market

The specs: Named for family patriarch Sam Cascone, this bella breakfast sandwich comes with a split Italian sausage, egg, cheese and hash browns on Italian toast. That’s amore.

The damage: $6.95, nutrition facts unknown

Worth it? Yep. Especially if you add hot sauce and buy a $2 bag of Italian sugar cookies at the cash register.

Southwestern Benny at Eggtc. (locations in Kansas City and Shawnee)

The specs: To assemble this best-selling breakfast bomb — which was accidentally invented by an employee at the KC location — cooks stack two buttery homestyle biscuits with two thick sausage patties and scrambled eggs. Chorizo gravy smothers the open-face sandwich, which comes with fruit or breakfast potatoes.

The damage: $7.99, nutrition facts unknown

Worth it? Definitely. But maybe alternate it with one of Eggtc.’s healthier choices, like the Finish Line egg white omelet. Everything in moderation, right?

Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes about dining in Kansas City every first and third week of the month. Contact her via email at sgish@kcstar.com or tweet @sarah_gish.

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