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Fast Food Features Hit-Or-Miss

15 Items Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s Doesn’t Want You To Remember

Whether you live in a Carl’s Jr. region or a Hardee’s region, one thing is certain: This fast food chain is truly the Dr. Frankenstein of the drive-thru set. It’s as if Carl Hardee himself heard that hybrids have become popular and assumed that wasn’t isolated to the auto industry (Carl Hardee isn’t actually the founder of or even a real person associated with this company, but we are officially worshiping this name as belonging to the God of satisfied cravings, amen). As a result, in many, many experiments, the company combined two or more food items into a single food item, and in some cases just made stuff up entirely, with no regard for nutrition, convention or sense — and we would like to personally thank Carl Hardee for each and every attempt. Check out some of the highlights:

1. Pepperoni Pizza Fries

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

In the spring of 2015, Carl’s Jr. answered the question: “What would poutine be like if it was invented by the highest of Americans?” Pepperoni pizza fries were born. These are exactly what they sound like — pepperoni pizza toppings, including the sauce, on fries instead of dough, for those times when pizza crust just isn’t deep-fried enough.

2. The Bisnut

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

The Bisnut is what you get when you force a doughnut and a biscuit together like some sort of delicious pastry centipede. In 2014, Carl’s Jr. tested the hybrid dessert (during breakfast hours, because in a civilized society we eat dessert after every meal). It cost 99 cents, or two for $1.89 , and is probably as delicious as it is fun to say. Bisnut!

3. Ice Cream Brrrger

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

Back in 2012, Carl’s Jr. introduced the Ice Cream Brrrger, an ice cream sandwich that looks like a hamburger, presumably meant to fool picky children into eating more dessert. This filled a gaping hole in their “all burgers all the time” philosophy. All they need now is a liquefied burger and we’ll be able to satisfy any craving in burger form.

4. Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

In the summer of 2014, the chain tested out the Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a great idea that you could easily re-create in your own kitchen without having to watch any YouTube videos explaining how to make it. But here’s the thing: It’s not like Carl’s and Hardee’s just have Pop-Tarts lying around. So someone in R&D (best job in the world?) had to say, “I’ve got an idea, but we’re going to need some Pop-Tarts.” It’s these types of simple and beautiful vignettes that make life worth living.

5. Most American Thickburger

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

The Most American Thickburger, which debuted in summer 2015, immediately became the leader of Carl’s Jr.’s gang of burgers that aren’t satisfied just being burgers. What makes it so American is the addition of a hot dog and potato chips and, presumably, the option to be “thick.” Still, claiming it’s the “most American” might be a stretch. Add bacon, apple pie, and the inability to locate Syria on a map, and then come see me.

6. Chicken Stars

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Credit: Yelp

These are just breaded and fried digestion-compatible food facsimiles, and they probably are mostly made of chicken, as far as the legal department is concerned. But it takes a special kind of “Aw, fuck it” to tacitly admit you’re not working with actual pieces of chicken and that whatever it is you are working with is easily moldable into any shape you please. So then, we have to ask: Why stop at stars, you know?

7. Double Loaded Omelet Biscuit

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

 

In October 2014, we were treated to the Double Loaded Omelet Biscuit during a time when, frankly, innovation in drive-thru breakfast was lacking. The basic recipe: Stack two meat-and-cheese omelets on a biscuit and then stuff it all down your gullet. This was, apparently, an alternative to the Loaded Omelet Biscuit, which is a biscuit with a measly single meat-and-cheese omelet on it. What are we, on a diet or something?

8. Burgers With Other Sandwiches on Them

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

If Carl Hardee were an artist, the burger would be his canvas, the blank slate on which he builds his masterpieces. So now we have things like the Philly Cheesesteak Burger and the Pastrami Burger — just two examples of many Trojan burgers carrying a hidden army of other meat. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I suspect the company’s secret plan is to make it so no meal is ever burger-free, and where do we sign up to help out this righteous cause?

9. Mashers

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

Mashers, which were first tested in summer 2014, are basically your average burger or fried chicken sandwich, but with mashed potatoes and gravy on top, presumably because serving the potatoes on the sandwiches is much cheaper than investing in bowls and utensils. The biggest surprise here is that they stopped short of putting an entire Thanksgiving dinner on a sandwich, but surely that’s coming.

10. Jim Beam Bourbon Thickburger

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

The Jim Beam Bourbon Thickburger was a 2013 revelation that needs no further introduction, because burger plus booze equals heaven. And not to be ungrateful, but we have to ask: Can we get some of that bourbon in our Coke … and might as well add it to the fries and milkshake too. Just in case.

11. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos burger

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Credit: twitter.com/WrecklessEating

The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Burger was available in a few locations in Southern California in summer 2015. This burger features the titular munchie fodder and nacho cheese sauce and is clearly the masterpiece of someone who wanted to challenge the idea that adding potato chips and a hot dog to a burger is the most American it can get. The verdict? *breaks into “God Bless America”*

12. Blueberry Muffin Buns

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The Blueberry Muffin Bun is a recent addition to the list of experiments, and it’s starting to feel like they’re just messing with us. It comes standard as a breakfast sandwich, because we’re not savages — obviously blueberry muffins are for the morning meal. But they’ll happily make you a regular burger on a blueberry muffin bun too, because maybe we are savages after all.

13. Monster Biscuit

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

The Monster Biscuit is basically breakfast Tetris: bacon, egg, sausage, ham, and cheese piled on a biscuit. It made a 2009 list of the worst food in terms of calories — no surprise there. And it’s named after what kids think is going to creep out from under their bed and kill them in their sleep. Well done all around.

14. Footlong Cheeseburger

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

Back in 2010, Carl’s Jr. sought to turn heads with a new burger phenomenon: They could have gone six inches, or even eight. But “footlong” has such a nice ring to it (this was well before all the current controversy surrounding footlongs). Enter the Footlong Cheeseburger: everything a regular cheeseburger is but longer. This is a chain that’s already known for its large burgers, so the Footlong Cheeseburger is sort of the stretch Hummer of fast food: I don’t really want one, but I’m glad Schwarzenegger has the option.

15. All-Natural Burger

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

After all that, the oddest thing on the menu is definitely the All-Natural Burger, which is just a regular-length burger with no other sandwiches crammed in it, and no side dishes or desserts or booze to be found. Not only that, it’s hormone- and antibiotic-free. And no option to get it flavor-blasted or kraken-sized? Hard pass.

Bonus: Boxers

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Credit: Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s also dipped their toe into the apparel game, offering branded boxer shorts for $20. The pricing is outrageous, but in their defense, their pricing department isn’t used to this type of product. “I don’t know? Maybe $20?” We weren’t able to test them (even though shipping was free), but word is they’re a little bit chewy and pretty bland.