Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: Carl's Jr. / Hardee's - Fresh Baked Burger Bun

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are in the middle of a test offering fresh-baked burger buns similar to the way they offer "Made-from-Scratch" biscuits. The fresh-baked buns are available at a few select locations and come standard with their Six-Dollar Burgers (or Thickburgers at Hardee's).

I happened upon a test location and picked up a Guacamole Bacon Six Dollar Burger for roughly $6 after tax ($5.59 before tax).

How was the bun? I'll put it like this: Carl's Jr./Hardee's should offer these buns at every location right now! I was initially hopeful (but at the same time dubious) when I heard that Carl's Jr. was testing fresh-baked buns (because Subway bakes their own bread and it's not so great), but they exceeded my expectations.

I got my burger late in the evening (the buns are baked every morning) and it still sported that soft, pliable quality of fresh-baked bread. I can only imagine how good it would be to get one straight off the tray early in the day.

The bun displayed a thin, egg-washed, slighty-chewy crust and a wondefully soft but sturdy crumb. There's a slight brioche-like sweetness that really satisfied and reminded me of the egg buns Wendy's used to serve, only better.

If you can't tell, I really liked the bun. It would not be out of place at a restaurant serving burgers in the $10 to $20 range.

The rest of the burger was good too. Carl's Jr. still hasn't embraced the thicker bacon trend but while their bacon is paper thin, it's flavorful and they gave me two full strips that were almost twice the length of the burger.

I'm a fan of the Six-Dollar burger patty, although I don't tend to get them as they're a fair bit more than I want to be eating in one sitting and, unlike pizza, the thought of eating half a cold (or reheated) burger later doesn't really hold appeal. It's seasoned a bit more than their regular patties but it's a nice mix that brings out the flavor of the beef. It does get a bit salty if you try and pick off just the patty alone though.

The produce was relatively fresh and well-kept with the standard tomatoes, red onions, and iceberg lettuce. The cheese added a little bit of spice and the sauce an extra tang.

The guacamole was a little bland; over-manufactured and creamy, but fairly standard for the fast food segment. You might be a little offended if you're a fan of avocado, but I think it's fine.

Bottom-line: Fresh-baked bun? Excellent! Best fast food bun and possibly best burger bun I've ever had. Guacamole Bacon Burger? Solid! Pull the trigger Carl's Jr. and Hardee's and bake me some buns!
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