REVIEW: Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.’s All-Natural Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger

Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.’s All-Natural Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger

From the same folks who gave you sandwiches doused in bourbon and moonshine infused sauce comes Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.’s latest alco-hamburger, the All-Natural Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger.

From the get-go, it’s a much less ambitious burger than we’re used to from the chain – lest we forget, this is the same brand that once sold us a sandwich topped with a split weenie and a handful of potato chips.

Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.’s All-Natural Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger 2

The non-deluxe versions come with a charbroiled beef patty topped with a sliver of Swiss cheese and a hearty dollop of caramelized onions and thick coating of the eponymous Bud cheese, which I’d describe as a sweet nacho cheddar blend with a sugary hops and barley aftertaste (and before you ask, no, you can’t get loaded eating a small mountain of burgers). On top of that you’ve got your customary lettuce and tomato slices, with a cameo appearance by two fairly salty strips of bacon. The whole shebang is shoved into a brioche bun, which has a distinct honey-kissed flavor that gels incredibly well with the Cheese-weiser sauce.

Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.’s All-Natural Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger 3

As you’d imagine, it’s a pretty messy meal. Just removing the top bun guarantees at least a splash of cheese sauce is going to spatter on the table, but the impromptu Gallagher performance is easily forgiven considering how filling the burger is. The solo patty version pretty much immobilized me for a good half hour, so I can only imagine the severity – and satisfaction – of the after-effects of the double patty permutation or the 1/3-pounder Black Angus Thickburger.

Your mileage will vary on the saccharine nature of the burger dressings, though. An hour after eating my burger I still had a pronounced honey wheat hangover in the back of my throat, and be forewarned, when the beer cheese fully congeals, it becomes almost as sweet as cake frosting.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed the chain’s latest brew-burger. It strikes a very nice balance of savory, smoky and sugary without any one flavor becoming too dominant. As long as you can handle a little umami with your ale – and you’re not averse to a strong sucrose sensation from time to time – I’d say this Bud’s definitely for you.

(Nutrition Facts – Single Patty Burger – 710 calories, 340 calories from fat, 38 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1430 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 40 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.59 (single patty)
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Very filling. A nice medley of flavors that are surprisingly harmonious. Being able to literally chew Budweiser.
Cons: An unexpectedly prolonged sugar rush; being forced to eat it with a fork to keep cheese from glomping to your fingers. Still having to wait for a Heineken-flavored chicken sandwich.

REVIEW: Hardee’s Jalapeño Turkey Burger

Hardee’s Jalapen?o Turkey Burger

I have to say, I’m quite disappointed after having eaten the new Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. Jalapeño Turkey Burger.

I’m not disappointed because it has more calories than a standard Hardee’s quarter-pound cheeseburger, which contradicts its own claims of healthiness. Nor am I bummed that the obviously pre-formed turkey patties are tenderized with more mazy grooves than a 2D Pac-Man screen. Hell, it doesn’t even boil my blood that the whole damn burger concept is basically a repackaged version of the on again/off again Santa Fe Turkey Burger from Carl’s Jr.

No, what really pisses me off is that Hardee’s finally made a decent tasting turkey burger, and they didn’t even bother to make a provocative commercial about it.

I know what you’re thinking. Turkey + Burger shape = Crap. In the interest of full disclosure, I will point out I don’t always agree with this equation — provided, of course, that I make and grill the burgers themselves.

The way I see it, if a lazy line cook at a fast food place can’t even nail a moderately juicy beef burger (and most can’t) then there’s no way they’re going to get turkey right. I didn’t need more than a 2011 visit to try the “Original” Carl’s Jr. Turkey Burger to confirm this suspicion, and thanks to the memory of that disgustingly dry and insipid excuse for a burger, I held out little hope for the latest variation from sister chain Hardee’s.

At best, I expected the new take to feature glooby mayonnaise, a stale bun, and decrepit produce working in perfect consort with a flavorless hockey-puck of poultry meat.  At worst, I expected to choke and die, but that’s another story completely.

Hardee’s Jalapen?o Turkey Burger Bun

I was wrong. Well, for the most part I was wrong, that is. The bun, in perfect little-used wheat bun fast food fashion, was stale and falling apart. It lost any malted flavor it once had thanks to an over-toast, while the burnt tasting wheat base could hardly contain the innards of the burger from slipping out. A real shame because I was still burping up the aftertaste of that piquant and flavorful collaboration of southwesterly flavors hours later.

(Aside — Don’t act like you don’t do it, and don’t pretend like burping up the taste of a morning donut or afternoon burger isn’t on par with some of life’s simplest pleasures.)

Hardee’s Jalapen?o Turkey Burger Side

Ironically enough, the burger actually wins on the taste of the turkey, which, despite a crusty and seared-looking exterior, was juicy and slightly sweet, coalescing in the kind of pleasing poultry flavor one might associate with Thanksgiving and all those Thanksgivng-ey herbs and spices.

Hardee’s Jalapen?o Turkey Burger Jalapeno

The patty itself is adorned with a slice of Pepper Jack cheese, which, while not of the optimum goo capacity one often looks for with American cheese on a burger, was nevertheless tasty enough to impart more than just salt and fat. It added a mellow milky flavor that actually helped to cut the blow of the otherwise inferno provided by the Sante Fe Sauce and jalapeño coins.

Hardee’s Jalapen?o Turkey Burger Jalapeno top

Speaking of infernos, there’s definitely some heat with the triple threat of jalapeños, sauce, and cheese. I’ll admit my tolerance for spiciness or heat isn’t as high as others, but the good news for fire-eaters and non fire-eaters is that there’s enough flavor in the smoky-spicy sauce to bring either eater back for an additional bite. My only qualm was with the consistency of the soybean-oil based sauce, which was too loose and perhaps too liberally dispersed on only the top side of the burger.

Hardee’s Jalapen?o Turkey Burger Patty Top

Iceberg, tasteless tomatoes, and a meager portion of red onion didn’t add the kind of freshness that could really help dissipate the heat of a burger like this, but when it comes to a fast food burger, I unfortunately accept as much. At least the burger feels substantial, and outweighs (size-wise) most burgers in its calorie range.

I’ll stop short of calling this a very good burger and just call it a pleasantly surprising, if not reasonably priced, and substantial burger that heat-seekers should enjoy. Its limits and failings – a stale bun, meager produce, unmelted cheese – are nothing new to fast food, and they’re the kinds of shortcomings one takes into account when ordering a $3.49 sandwich as opposed to a $7.49 sandwich. The surprise, however, is the turkey. Whether it’s healthier or not is debatable, but in this case, Hardee’s/Carl Jr. seem to have created a tasty and juicy alternative to beef that someone doesn’t even need a New Year’s Resolution to seek out.

Now, if they could only get on that damn commercial, they might actually sell a few of these things.

(Nutrition Facts – 450 calories, 220 calories from fat, 24 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)

Other Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. Jalapeño Turkey Burger reviews:
Man Reviews Food

Item: Hardee’s Jalapeño Turkey Burger
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Hardee’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Hefty – one might say, “hearty” burger. Turkey is surprisingly juicy and flavorful. Triple threat of heat imparts good flavor. Under 500 calories. Affordable.
Cons: Classic case of fast food Wheat Bun fail. Sante Fe Sauce is loose and messy. Cheese would be better if it were fully melted. Produce sucks. Still more calories than a quarter-pound cheeseburger. Lack of provocative advertising campaign.

NEWS: Hardee’s New Turkey Burgers Make It Seem Like Happy Star Had A Lot of Thanksgiving Leftovers

Wild Turkeys

I learned two things from my subscription to Men’s Health Magazine, when I read it during the late 1990s:

1. Reading about how to do exercises is significantly less effective than actually doing the exercises.

2. How to be a better lover.

So I hope when Hardee’s teamed up with Men’s Health Magazine to create their new line of turkey burger, they also learned how to be a better lover.

The turkey burgers come in three varieties: Original, BBQ Ranch or Mushroom & Swiss. All three burgers come with a thick, charbroiled turkey patty and a toasted wheat bun. The Original Turkey Burger also contains red onions, tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and dill pickles; the BBQ Ranch has Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, red onions, tomato, lettuce and buttermilk ranch sauce; and the Mushroom & Swiss also includes sauteed mushrooms and two slices of Swiss cheese.

All Turkey Burger varieties have less than 500 calories, which to some may still sound like a lot, but for Hardee’s that’s impressive since many of their beef burgers exceed 700 calories.

The Original Turkey Burger weighs in at 254 grams and contains 480 calories, 17 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 930 milligrams of cholesterol, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 31 grams of protein.

The BBQ Ranch weighs 261 grams and has 460 calories, 15 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 950 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 31 grams of protein.

The Mushroom & Swiss weighs in at 246 grams and contains 480 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 1380 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 37 grams of protein.

Update: Carl’s Jr. will also be adding Turkey Burgers to their menu. Along with the Original Turkey Burger, Carl’s Jr. will have the Guacamole Turkey Burger, which features freshly-prepared guacamole, pepper-Jack cheese, tomato and lettuce, and Teriyaki Turkey Burger that has teriyaki sauce, grilled pineapple, Swiss cheese, red onion, tomato and lettuce.

Source: Grub Grade and Fast Food Maven