Sep 3, 2012

Review: Carl's Jr. - Memphis BBQ Burger

Carl's Jr.'s Memphis BBQ Burger is their latest "meat-on-meat" limited-time burger offering pairing barbecued pulled pork with a charbroiled hamburger patty. Accompanying the meaty duo are crispy onion strings, American cheese, Sweet Baby Ray's Memphis-Style BBQ sauce and a sesame seed bun.

I tried the Six Dollar Burger version and it set me back $5.99 (remember when it was the idea for the Six Dollar Burger was that you paid less than six dollars for it?). A single and double patty version are also available for $3.99 and $4.99 respectively.

As I idly watched the employees at my local Carl's Jr. assembling burgers, I noticed one grab a small tray of meat and put it in the microwave Subway-style. Not the most promising association, but I was to be pleasantly surprised.

Of all the pulled pork fast food items I've reviewed (not that there are that many; I can only think of two off the top of my head), Carl's Jr. makes the best rendition. There were some good sized pieces here and there, and more importantly, when I bit into the pieces I could taste a deep smokiness that I have yet to encounter elsewhere in fast food land.

As far as the sauce goes, I've never been disappointed by Sweet Baby Ray's and have used it to good effect on my own barbecue (I've tried other brands and always find myself coming back to Sweet Baby Ray's). Carl's Jr. uses it on the pork and on the top side of the beef patty as well. You might think such usage is a tad excessive, but there's a lot of meat going on with this burger.

I'm a fan of Carl's Jr. Six Dollar Burger patty. It's made with Black Angus beef, but more importantly it's seasoned in a manner that enhances the flavor of the beef. It's also oversized and bigger than the bun. The thick beef patty plus the barbecue pork makes for an extremely meaty burger; you might suffer meat overload eating of these, but I think it hits Carl's core demo (young men, ages 18 to 24) right on the money. A lot of the subtler flavors of the patty are lost against the stronger barbecue flavors though. I think you could probably go for the single for a more reasonable meal (calorie and money-wise) without much of a loss taste-wise.

The crispy onion strings don't add too much flavor, but give just the slightest crispiness. I wonder if onion rings a la the Western Bacon Cheeseburger might be a better way to go. The onions strings seem to break easier though so that I wasn't pulling out the whole piece instead of getting a good bite.

Overall, I enjoyed the Memphis BBQ Burger. It's a lot of meat to be eating in one sitting (along with being a total gut bomb), but it's a nice variation on a barbecue cheeseburger. Smoky pork, tasty beef, and tangy barbecue sauce make for a potent burger.

Nutritional Info - Carl's Jr. Memphis BBQ Six Dollar Burger (360g)
Calories - 1030 (from Fat - 500)
Fat - 55g (Saturated Fat - 23g)
Sodium - 2340mg
Carbs - 81g (Sugar - 30g)
Protein - 52g