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carls jr big carl poster

Possibly in response to McDonald's recent incursion on Carl's Six Dollar Angus turf with the Third Pound Angus burgers, Carl's Jr. debuts the new Big Carl. And if you think this two beef patty, two cheese burger's similarity to the Big Mac is pure coincidence, Carls' own ads remove all doubt.

This sort of rivalry between fast food chains goes on all the time, but usually not so overtly. After all, isn't the Big N' Tasty just McDonald's response to the Whopper? And don't forget Burger King's own version of the Big Mac. Dubbed the Big King, the sandwich did not last in the U.S. (but it was pretty good.)

Anyway, I tried the Big Carl the other day. First, while it is advertised in the TV ad above at $2.49, my local Arizona store was offering the sandwich for $1.99 and a combo for $3.99.

carls jr big carl

If you're thinking "Whoa - this things gotta be huge if they're using the Six Dollar patties" you can relax. They are not. The Big Carl uses the classic patty of the Famous Star and the Western Bacon Cheeseburger. Note the side-by-side comparison of a Famous Star and Big Carl in the last frame above. The assembly and ingredients are basic: heel, thousand island, lettuce, meat, cheese, meat, cheese, more thousand island, crown. Note the absense of McD's pickles and onions. The Big Carl can more plainly be described as a double cheeseburger with thousand island and lettuce.

It is well known that McD's Special Sauce is not simply thousand island dressing, so the taste of the two sandwiches is a bit different out of the gate. But I am a big fan of thousand island burgers so I really enjoyed this fast food burger. The meat, always tasty and juicy, lived up to Carl's reputation. And the blend of meat, cheese and thousand without any other real taste distractions left me wanting more.

I'm wondering if Hardee's will also release a version on their side, but as of this writing they have not. For those of us in Carl's Jr. territory get one while you can. However I predict it will go the way of the Big King largely due to it's inability to compete with the more superior siblings on the Carl's menu. Time will tell.

get the burger nick

Guest author Nick K. provided some thoughts on a recent visit to a very specific California fast food favorite:

Nick writes, "Get The Burger is located in Big Bear Lake, CA. They have cheese burgers, fries, hot dogs, and, of course, soft drinks." The fast food menu is all about the burgers, themed with hollywood movie studio names like The Director and The Leading Lady. Nick continues, "My favorite thing to eat there is the double cheese burger called The Producer. I think Get the Burger has some of the best burgers I‘ve ever tasted."

get the burger

On the decor, Nick says, "They have painted murals of forests across all of the walls. Get the Burger has a very unique set of decor, with some pieces that look like they come from Starbucks, and other pieces that look like they come from Hollywood."

Needless to say, he's a fan. "On a scale from 1 to 10, I give Get the Burger a 9.5."

Who? Get The Burger
Where? Big Bear Lake, CA
What? Burgers & Fries hot and made to order

mcdonalds angus burgers

I tried McDonald's new Third Pound Angus burger the other day and I was unimpressed.  The sandwiches come in three varieties, Deluxe, Mushroom & Swiss, and Bacon & Cheese.  I opted for the Deluxe, as I was curious how this would rate compared with other classic standard-topping burgers.

First, the patty, while thick and meaty, was also overly salty.  And if you know me, that is saying a lot as I usually like salty food.  The meat was also rather dry.  However, it sat well on the custom and sturdy bun and was sized right for the sandwich.  In other words, I felt like I was getting more burger than my usual McDonald's fare.

mcdonald's angus actual pictures

Here are some unedited pics of my sandwich.  Note the attractive box and the handy little flip down tab that tells you what kind you ordered.  Inside, the burger was partially wrapped in wax paper, suggesting I was in store for a messy juicy treat.  Upon closer inspection (sorry about the blur in the last frame) we see that this is truly a basic burger.  The assembly is heel, cheese, meat, cheese, tomato, leaf lettuce, sliced onion, pickles, mayo, mustard, and crown.  This assembly order befuddles me.  McDonald's knows that you want to put the flavors down lower on the sandwich closer to the tongue.  So why is there only a slice of cheese between the bread and the meat?  Everything else rides top-side.  I tried eating it upside down and it tasted a little better.

Aside from the salt, there was also too much mayo.  Now, I am a fan of the mayo/ketchup combination made popular by the Buger King Whopper.  But McDonald's seems to be saying they've already addressed that with the Big N' Tasty.  So ketchup is strikingly absent from this burger.  And mustard/mayo is NOT as satisfying.  In fact, the lack of ketchup or anything sweet only upped the pucker factor of the mustard/mayo/pickles.  That, combined with the saltiness of the patty kept me reaching for my Coke.

All in all, I say this is a decent effort and I definitely felt full, but I was not blown away.  Compared with, say, a Six Dollar Burger at Carl's/Hardee's this sandwich is playing catch-up.  Or should I say ketchup?!

hardees

Hardee's restaurants are introducing a serious southern comfort food. The classic fried bologna sandwich, dubbed "The Oscar Mayer Fried Bologna Biscuit". Although I have never been a fan of this, I have to say this looks pretty tasty.

hardees bologna

 

According to the press release, this is "a slice of melting American cheese and a folded egg atop a thick-cut slice of grilled Oscar Mayer bologna, all sandwiched between a signature Hardee's Made From Scratch biscuit."

If you have a Hardee's near you, check it out!

 

On a recent trip to Orlando, I had an opportunity to check out the first-ever Burger King Whopper Bar that recently opened at Universal's CityWalk.

burger king whopper bar


The Whopper Bar is a regular Burger King with a twist.  Aside from the standard burger offerings, you can customize your Whopper with a bunch of different toppings and over a dozen different sauce flavors.  Sandwich prices are not unreasonable for a theme park location.  A customized Whopper could be had in the $8 ballpark.

whopper bar condiments

While the premise is good, I was unimpressed with the execution.  First of all, you do not get to build your own Whopper.  Instead, you customize your sandwich at the register and the assembly happens behind the counter.  For anyone who has ever had a fast food worker mess up an order, a leap of faith is needed here.

Second, the store itself is small and in no other way unique.  I would've liked to have seen more thought put into how the guests could get involved with their creations.  For example, if Burger King wants to maintain control over the physical assembly of the sandwiches (meat, cheese, garden, etc) then they could've at least moved the sauce rack onto the public side and let patrons control that part of their Whopper experience.

All in all, though, I like seeing chains creating unique experiences and my hat's off to Burger King for giving tourists a reason to mention a fast food restaurant when talking about their Orlando vacation.

I had to take down the blog comment and bulletin board features temporarily, due to security concerns. So it's not like I don't want to know your opinion. In fact, you can still send comments to this site here.

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Providing fast food blogs, menus, locations and other information for over80 major chains

Since 2000, Fast Food Source has been the premier independent site dedicated to fast food lovers, offering fast food restaurant menus, and nutrition information, as well as fast food blogs, articles, forums, and fast food industry news. We offer fast food location information for over 50 cities and more than 80 fast food chains.

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