Fast Food Review: Carl’s/Hardee’s Most American Burger


I have always wondered if Carl’s Jr. actually paid for their mention in the movie Idiocracy, which theorizes that in the future, their marketing slogan will be “Fuck you! I’m eating!” I’m pretty sure that when arch-conservative founder Carl Karcher was alive, he would not have permitted such a thing, but ever since then, the chain bearing his name has “ironically” used lowest-common-denominator marketing, featuring models taking bites out of burgers bigger than their heads and trying to make it look sexy.

With their new burger, though, I feel like Carl’s has actually gone full-Idiocracy. If you haven’t seen the ad yet, watch. It’s very short and to the point.

Here’s an alternate version:

I can see President Camacho making this the national dish in no time. The real question is, will YOU like it?

I ordered the 1/3 pound version rather than the half-pound – I’m wimpy that way. It comes on the allegedly fresh-backed bun, which squishes flat pretty quickly but has a bit of stretchy resilience to it. In addition to the split hot dog and kettle chips, the burger has cheese, lettuce, tomato and ketchup – if anything beyond that was in there, I didn’t taste it. (Mustard, apparently.)

The most impressive thing about this burger is that there seems to have been actual thought put into matching the ingredients. The tomato and lettuce help to water down the saltiness of the dog and the chips, while the mix of textures – soft wiener (huh huh), crisp lettuce, semi-firm tomato, solid-but-not-too-dry burger and crunchy chips – is a study in exactly how to make contrasts work together.

It’s the kettle chips that are the revelation. Crunchier and more resilient in the face of moisture than ordinary Lay’s…oh dear god, they only came up with this burger because somebody laughed at both “lays” and “wieners,” didn’t they? Maybe Carl’s should just change its name to Burger World, and make all the clerks wear AC/DC or Metallica shirts.

What was my point? Oh yeah, the kettle chips add a nice potato flavor that make this taste like burger and fries in one. Burger King tried for an effect like that with actual fries on a burger, but it doesn’t work – they get soggy and limp fast, not like the hard Lay’s found under the salty wieners…I’m so sorry.

As the hypothetical “she” is rumored to have said, the wiener here is almost irrelevant. It adds a softness but not a lot of taste – burgers-and-fries is the main takeaway vibe, and there’s just the right amount of ketchup to complete the illusion that said fries, as imagined by an eater of kettle chips, were suitably dunked.

By the time you’re done, it should be noted, the burger will have completely fallen apart. Boiled hot dog, thick hunk of lettuce and tomato, along with the ketchup, make the sammich drip, and drip hard – like, through the cardboard container hard. Make sure something else is between your lap and the wet box, or your crotch will get moist…from the dripping wieners in the midst of stacked Lay’s. Look, I didn’t try to make the sex jokes here – they’re just completely unavoidable. Because AMERICA!

Penis penis penis intercourse. There. Out of the system. I hope.

More kettle chips on things, please.

Note: I cannot confirm any of the chips are Lay’s. I thought I remembered they were, but I have no proof. Anyway, I would eat this burger again, and because Carl’s has Powerade on tap, I can also get my electrolytes. Our far-future commander-in-chief would want that for me.