Hearing the words “prime rib” brings thoughts of a thick slice of premium beef, served medium rare with au jus. For me, those thoughts are even accompanied by memories of special occasions with family during the holidays. But thinking realistically, I set those lofty expectations aside and ventured to the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru to try its new Prime Rib & Cheddar Angus Thickburger.
At first glance, the burger looks a little on the sparse side with only the 1/3 lb. Angus beef patty peeking out of the toasted bun. The cheddar cheese sauce clings to the thin slices of prime rib on top of the burger patty with the caramelized onions hiding underneath.
From the initial bite, you know that it will deliver on a strong beef flavor just as any burger topped with steak pieces should. The thin prime rib slices are tender while still providing a little extra chew to give the burger a nice texture while eating.
It takes trying a piece of the prime rib on its own to appreciate the nice pepper notes that it contains. While appearing medium rare in advertising, there is no surprise that the prime rib is medium well at best. It is, however, neither dry nor tough and meets my tempered expectations of a fast food restaurant ambitiously taking on the fine cut of meat.
The warm cheese sauce does not have the strongest cheddar flavor but is just the right consistency, thick enough to not cause a mess while showing no sign of clumps or graininess. The predominant flavor of the whole burger is the caramelized onions, bringing with them an accompanying hint of sweetness. The onions were cooked properly, providing just the slightest crunch and offering the taste that will linger in your mouth the longest.
A notable aspect of the Prime Rib burger is just how clean it is to eat. Between the less than generous portions and the cheese sauce keeping the prime rib pieces in line, only a few small onions ever escaped the otherwise tidy burger. The days of the “if it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face” Carl’s Jr. seem to be long gone.
Overall, the burger brings a satisfying onion and beef flavor, with a gentle whisper of cheddar cheese. However, while the prime rib is juicy on its own, the burger as a whole is on the dry side. It also is missing a dynamic flavor that would make me crave another one. This might be remedied with the addition of a horseradish sauce or by improving the flavor of the cheese sauce.
Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s also offer their sliced prime rib in both a breakfast burrito and a buttermilk biscuit paired with Swiss cheese and a fried egg.
Purchased Price: $7.59
Size: Single Patty
Purchased at: Carl’s Jr.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 740 calories (Editor’s Note: Yup, that’s the only nutrition info we could find. If someone knows where to find the rest, let us know in the comments.)