Thursday, August 20, 2009

TBG Eats: The NEW "Big Carl" from Carl's Jr.

Current Weight: 166.8 lbs.

Before we begin, a reader whose name I should probably withhold writes:

I came across your blog last week and I've been laughing my ass off at all your recent physical misfortunes. Please don't take that the wrong way. The post that actually drew me in was your review of McDonald's Hunger Pains or Pangs ad. One of your readers asked why you never review food from McDonald's.

I happen to work in the Pacific Sierra Regional (Northern California) Office of the McDonald's franchising arm and attached to this email you'll find several promotional certificates for both our new and classic menu items. Please bring your family down to your closest McDonald's restaurant and enjoy an entire meal on us. I hope you'll share your experience with your readers. Keep up the good work.

I've maintained this lightly-read blog since December 2006. During TBG's existence, I've written more than 700 posts. And, now – finally – I'm realizing every blogger's dream: free swag. In all seriousness, though, this pretty much made my night. Unfortunately, it's about to get all awkward up in here.

Back in the day, the Big Mac was fast food's most ubiquitous burger. No one questioned its superfluous third bun slice or the overhyped "special sauce" that looked and tasted like ordinary Thousand Island dressing. McDonald's competitors used every attack ad in the marketing manual –
even Boyz II Men! – to push their own meat-flavored products upon the American public.

Then, at some point, the major fast food chains threw in the towel and began creating imitation Big Macs for their own menus. Burger King had
The Big King. Jack in the Box just brought back their ersatz B-Mac called the Bonus Jack. And, Carl's Jr. is now rolling out The Big Carl. From CJ's website:

Two charbroiled beef patties, classic sauce, two slices of American cheese, and lettuce all on a toasted sesame seed bun.

According to my gastronomic scorecard, the Big Mac wins in the pickles and onions departments, while The Big Carl has more meat and an extra slice of cheese. What The Big Carl lacks, however, is flavor. Oh, it's plenty meaty n' cheesy. Lord knows Carl's Jr. can cook some cow, but their special classic sauce didn't taste much different than mayonnaise. It doesn't help that The Big Carl is drenched in this sauce.

I don't get the absence of onions, either. It would've been a simple, yet effective way to liven up the tasteless orange mud that CJ's smeared all over my meal. Hell, if you're out to make a "better Big Mac" why leave off any of the ingredients that actually make a Big Mac edible? This was a surprisingly unexceptional effort from my usually never-fail friends at Carl's Jr.

And, I'd be writing this even if I wasn't in possession of three PDF pages of coupons for free McDonald's food. Probably.

Grade: 2 (out of 5) Calories: 920, Fat: 59g


Joe said...

Cam, the guy gives you coupons to McDonald's and you write a review about Carl's Jr? Don't you know companies give swag so you'll pimp their products?

That Bootleg Guy said...

Free sausage McGriddle eaten today. I'd pimp it, but my McGriddle love isn't really a secret. Look for an inordinate amount of McDonald's reviews in the not too distant future.

Uhh, after the one I'm doing for Subway this weekend.