REVIEW: Hardee’s Carl’s Jr. Baby Back Rib Thickburger

Hardee s Carl s Jr Baby Back Rib Thickburger

When I was a kid, I thought Checkers’/Rally’s Wild West Bacon Cheeseburger was the alpha and omega of fast food sandwiches. With two big hunks of beef, a handful of bacon, melted cheddar, two huge fried onion rings, and a fine slatherin’ of barbecue sauce, how could it not be?

Well, much to my shock and horror, I recently found out that not only has the beloved burger of my youth gone AWOL from the menu, apparently it’s been discontinued for years and years. That makes the latest L-T-O gimmick-burger from Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. – the all new Baby Back Rib Thickburger – the closest thing you and I will likely ever get to tasting the second semester of my eighth grade year ever again.

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Except this newfangled burger, in many ways, manages to OUTDO my nostalgic recollections of the fabled fast food that once was. For starters, the boneless baby back ribs are downright superb. You get two fairly large riblets atop your patty, and not only are they flavorful and smoky, they’re also plump, juicy and extremely chewy. Not only is the meat delicious for a fast food joint, it would be pretty dang terrific for an actual barbecue restaurant. (And as it turns out, it actually is on loan from a real BBQ place, the Ohio-based Bubba’s-Q Boneless Ribs.)

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The sauce (courtesy of Cattleman’s) is also exquisite, representing a nice mixture of honey barbecue and mesquite flavoring. The fried onion straws are super crispy and – thankfully – neither salty or greasy. And the pickle slices are huge, crunchy and refreshingly tart; rest assured, the vinegary flavor gels incredibly well with the barbecue sauce.

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Oddly enough, the thing that holds the burger back from being a five star fast food classic is the hamburger meat itself. Granted, the charbroiled patty is plumper and thicker than most burger chain fare, but it just doesn’t seem to complement any of the other elements of the sandwich all that well. How about this for a first; a special edition hamburger that would’ve been even better WITHOUT the actual hamburger!

The buns are pretty bland, too, but at least they do a pretty good job of soaking up the barbecue sauce and pickle juice. In hindsight, this is the kind of burger that really would’ve benefitted from anything other than a brioche bun. Man, it would’ve been awesome if it came with a pretzel roll or especially a potato roll instead?

Still, I’ve got no beef with these baby backs. When it comes to fast food barbecue sammiches, you’d be hard pressed to find a better offering out there – and yes, that definitely includes a certain seasonal McDonald’s product that shall remain nameless.

(Nutrition Facts – 980 calories, 450 calories from fat, 50 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,910 milligrams of sodium, 94 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 34 grams of sugar, and 41 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $5.59
Size: 1/4 lb burger (1\3 and 2\3 lb versions also available)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The ribs are succulent, chewy and smoky. The sauce is phenomenal. The onion straws and pickles definitely add a lot to the gustatory experience.
Cons: The patty itself is pretty unremarkable. The buns aren’t particularly flavorful. Trying to get through an entire review without making an “I Want My Baby Back” Austin Powers reference.

19 thoughts to “REVIEW: Hardee’s Carl’s Jr. Baby Back Rib Thickburger”

    1. Yup. An error on our part. We blame autocorrect. Thanks for pointing that out! Although, we wonder if Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr have the heart (and liver and gizzard) to make a burger topped with giblets.

  1. Just had one from Hardee’s and it was an epic fail. It did not look anything like their picture of even the picture in the article. The rib was about half the size as pictured, two small pickles, it had three onion straws and very little sauce. Lucky I had a coupon or I would be more upset, will not but again.

    1. Epic Fail is correct ,, I just ate my first and only rib/burger . First two little pieces of rib and a large burger and no onion rings left me wondering why I bothered to go to Hardees. I won’t be back for that sandwich again.
      Bob Baron
      Garden City Beach, SC

    2. I with you 100%. I bought two combo’s and two apple pies. $25.47 and threw 1/2 of it away. I won’t be back for another one.

  2. Hey James, have you tried the Carl’s Jr.’s/Hardee’s double Western bacon cheeseburger? Sounds like it might recapture a bit of that old magic for you…

  3. When I got my burger the rib didnt even cover 1/3 of the burgur, rib was gone in 3 bites. Was good and I would buy again had the rib been bigger.

  4. Wow, this sandwich really sucked balls!! First off it looked like a train wreck on a bun. The BBQ pork was tiny and had a small piece of bone in it and the hamburger was as dry as the desert wind. The O’rings were all smashed up and the bun was not even warm. Got taken again by Hardees. I’m done goin there.

  5. Can’t help but notice the glaring differences in meat amounts between the advertised burger and the real-life photo. Hey, if Hardee’s wants to sell junk to willing buyers, I don’t care; I’d just prefer a little truth in advertising.

  6. Pretty good burger, but don’t expect much of the ribs. I just bought two and both had maybe a 1″ slice of rib meat down the center of the burger. The photos in Carl’s advertising show the rib at the edge, so you think there is more in the sandwich. Even the photo in this article shows two strips, but all you’re going to get is one. I was disappointed.

  7. The reviewers Burger looks nothing like the ones all of us received. Here in LA, Carl’s Jr sells the 1/3 pound combo for $9.95! Yes, over $10 bucks with tax. The pork was good, but was smaller than two pinky fingers put side by side. The burger was dry dry dry. Not a bit of juiciest at all. Other than that it’s pickles and a few onion straws. A total ripoff. They should be cited for false advertising with that photo Hardys/CarlsJr uses. I don’t know anyone who liked it.

  8. I tried this the other day was very disappointed got one little piece of rib meat, no onion rings.
    My sandwich looked nothing like the pictures that they show.

  9. what a bait n switch – just like at&t fire em like comey – are these marketing guys for real dumdkofs crash n burn KISS

  10. Carls Jr. should be sued for their advertising. I just had one of these rib burgers. The rib finally showed itself after eating over a third of the burger. But still it was not worth it. The rib tasted like it was microwaved, with that flat, bland, taste. I ordered it with the 1/3 beef patty and the cost was just shy of $10. I won’t be going back to Carls.

  11. I thought it was good but not great. I think it was the burger-I like my burgers medium/rare, so it was a little dry with being well-done.

  12. Carls/Hardees doesn’t care about these reviews, what they do care is when customers like me, open up the burgers and complain about it NOT looking like the burger advertised so give me back my money so voila, my money is refunded so had mostly everyone had done this instead of trying/eating this, won’t be back again because you know you will, if you were dumb enough to keep eating something that wasn’t worth it Carls/Hardees know you’ll be back again but they know customers like me won’t play so that’s what you all should have done. Money talks.

    Next time hit them where it hurts.
    You’re the customer, don’t feel you have to keep eating something that either taste horrible, not as advertised etc.

  13. I bought five of the babyback rib burgers today (to get a good sample size). I got the 2/3 lb beef patties. The result was laughable. The big patty overflows the bun by 1″ on all sides–impressive! The rib meat was lost over in one corner of the sandwich. All five–the rib serving was about the size of an Oreo cookie.

    So, looking at the photos in this review, I’m thinking there’s a lot of “sock puppet” happening here.

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