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Another New Whopper? Burger King Menu Leans on Its Iconic Burger

But is it time for the classic chain to innovate beyond new versions of its classic sandwich?

Restaurant Brand International's  (QSR) - Get Restaurant Brands International Inc. Report Burger King clearly has one goal in life: to reinvent the Whopper until the end of time.

From a business perspective, this is understandable. 

Making something consumers like enough to come back for time and time again is a major challenge in the food industry in general, and especially in the fast-paced, constantly evolving fast-food market.

But the Whopper also has respectable longevity. 

Originally launched in 1957 by Burger King co-founder Jim McLamore as a way to capture the flavor of a beef patty cooked on the grill on an idyllic summer day, the sandwich has enjoyed 65 years of success, making it one of the industry's best-known legends. 

McDonald's  (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation Report Big Mac, for example, didn't come around until 1968, and the Quarter Pounder didn't debut until 1972, giving the Whopper 11 years to enjoy the spotlight exclusively.

With such a distinguished history, Burger King is definitely under pressure to find a way to make its legacy menu item appealing to both old and new customers.

And while there's nothing wrong with the good old cheese version, the fast-food world thrives on constant change. 

So in order to continue to compete with all those who came after it, new Whoppers will keep on coming.

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So What's Burger King's Newest Whopper?

Compared to how off the wall some of Burger King's Whopper inventions have been — the low side of that scale is putting the classic burger on sourdough, for instance, and the high end is that scary Halloween version with the black bun — the latest incarnation seems fairly tame.

It's called the Western Smoky Whopper, and debuts today at Burger King Japan locations. 

It's kind of like the Rodeo Burger from American menus, but with some new stuff on it.

Along with the fire-grilled patty, golden-fried onion rings, and lettuce/tomato/pickle combo, this Whopper features a special sauce Burger King whipped up especially for it using Bullseye BBQ sauce. 

As is the trend with these sorts of releases, the burger is a limited edition item. 

Burger King has not specified how long it will be available for, or if it will test the sandwich in other markets.

One source of frustration for Burger King fans is that the chain only releases specialty items like this in certain countries, leaving fans in other regions who would love to try them out in the cold.

Unlike some of the items fast-food restaurants tailor especially for international markets, the Western Smoky Whopper seems like a menu item that would appeal to a wide range of tastes.

A move like this could also improve the chain's reputation, as Burger King has its own legion of haters in America, and surely other countries as well. 

But whether it will actually consider such a move is another matter altogether.