In-N-Out Cheeseburger Animal Style

by Rodzilla on August 7, 2011 · 13 comments

I can’t think of any establishment anywhere, with “fans” as loyal as In N Out’s. Sure, people have their fast food preferences; places like Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle get some pretty high praise. But when was the last time you heard about someone skipping their son’s graduation to make the opening of a McDonald’s? How about bursting into tears over being able to order a whopper at their convenience?

“Cult” brings too many negative connotations for these seemingly harmless followers. I think of these In-N-Out fanatics as a pseudo fast-food religious group. Well I’ve got some free time on Sundays; let’s see if I’m ready to join.

I decided to go with the classic cheeseburger done in the ever so popular Animal style. For the ass who is planning to ask, “Why not super-secret menu 4×4 animal style with a chocolate shake, animal fries, and a side of diabetes Rod?!” Because I wasn’t even that hungry when I ordered and was planning to eat again this month.

My initial lack of appetite turned into ravenous hunger during the 5 minute ride homeIn-N-Out hot boxing session. As soon as the bag entered my car, I could smell the mustard grilled beef patty melting with the cheese, grilled onions, and spread. I have mixed feelings about the smell having dissipated since.

Even the paper hats are a notch above

The sum of the burger’s parts are better than any of them individually; it’s the epitome of balance in a fast food burger. However, I’m still going to break it down into some key components for wandering minds.

In-N-Out uses fresh never-frozen-beef, I appreciate the commitment to quality, but can’t say I could really tell. What I could tell is that the classic fast food style griddled patty was flavorful enough so that even the single 2 ounce patty made its presence known among the extra accoutrements.

American cheese is the only fitting for this type of burger, and these slices are a notch above your typical kraft single. They’re the perfect gloo (I’m coining that, goo+glue) for melting the sweet grilled onions to the toasted bun.

The whole mayo/relish/mustard/ketchup debate can be laid to rest with one simple condiment – Spread. Think thousand island or fancy sauce…but better. .

The toasted bun is great, and all of the veggies are fresh, but the last truly key component to the animal style formula is the grilled onions. The onions have been caramelized so much that they’re damn near candy. It’s the perfect sweet accent to the savory burger.

Hardcore burger porn

I paid $2.32 for all of this gloriousness, a few extra packets of spread, and the most bad-ass paper hat known to the food industry.

As for joining the In-N-Out kingdom, I’m not quite ready to baptize myself in spread just yet. I’ve got too many burgers to try before giving my soul to just one. That said, I no longer think these people are quite so crazy. If an In-N-Out opened in my hometown, and I knew how to cry – I would.

Grade: A+ 

for more on In-N-Out check out Kenji Lopez and SeriousEats

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim Valentine

I’m a bit disappointed that we don’t get a video of you crying of joy, preferably with the hat on. Those tasty pictures make up for it though. I will have to get my burger animal style next time.

2 Adam

I was fortunate to get to In-n-Out twice while living in Utah, and like you I found the experience to be amazing. And the key word is experience, because I really believe part of flavor and taste is in the experience, and In-n-Out nails the classic burger experience. Did you get fries too? Some people knock their fries but I love ‘em well done.

3 Katie

In-N-Out should really come over to the East Coast.

I like that they gave you the paper hat though. Even if the burger sucked, I feel the hat would’ve made up for it.

4 Adam

Also, if I cant go 2×2 Animal Style and Fries then so can you. Sorry, I had to be that ass.

5 Kevin

I’ve gotten In-N-Out maybe 5-10 times, and I’ve gotta say, I’m probably one of the few people who just don’t get what’s the big deal. Yes, it’s a lot better than your typical fast food burger (McDonald’s, BK, Wendy’s) and is at a comparable price, so if you’re comparing In-N-Out to other fast food burgers, than sure, it’s great, but that’s because the bar is set so low. Compared to other GOOD burgers, In-N-Out doesn’t come anywhere close IMO. The beef just isn’t all that flavorful, and it ends up still tasting like any other fast food burger, albeit with fresher ingredients. I know that Shake Shack is in a completely different price class, but if you’re going strictly by taste, then Shake Shack blows In-N-Out out of the water. I think In-N-Out’s appeal is mostly because of its tremendous tastiness-to-price ratio. The ratio is definitely higher than most other burgers (including Shake Shack), but if you’re picking a favorite burger, shouldn’t it be based strictly on taste?

6 Rodzilla

Kim – I’ll only try to cry if they build one in my hometown

Katie – I wish they would too, but all of their locations have to be within a days drive of their meat production plant in CA (see Kenji’s articles)

Adam – agreed, I didn’t mention it because I already wrote far, far too much – but the employees weren’t the typical disgruntled fast food staff

Kevin – Do we judge anything strictly on taste? Even when reviewing fine dining there is an expectation that the price is somehow reflected by the ingredient quality and service. Ex: I’ve seen several of your posts mentioning the value of a prixe fixe menu.

Given that I wrote this as a product review, and I generally gauge anything I review against comparable products/places. That said, I was still impressed enough by the taste alone to give it a very good rating.

I haven’t had Shake Shack yet (see last paragraph) but I too think it’s a different type of establishment. Perhaps I should place it against the burger at DB Bistro, or Hatfields before I mention that I like the taste? Exaggeration – but see my bit about comparable products.

Cliffs: A mustang may not be a ferrari, but it’s not a pinto.

7 Chuck

Ah yes, the melted cheese and re-”hardens” when the order is taken to go, but is still so delicious. Ever been to Five Guys? I’ve never been, but I have seen, in person, its cultish followers

8 Kevin

Sure, I get that In-N-Out is a great fast food burger. It’s lightyears better than Mickey D’s or BK, so compared to those, I’m 100% behind it. But when so many people declare it as the best burger wit no caveats attached, it just kind of baffles me. Like the prix fixe meals that I get, the tastiness : price ratio, aka the value proposition, is indeed impressive, but I wouldn’t consider, say, Del Posto’s prix fixe lunch as the best high-end Italian restaurant meal period, given that there are certainly better Italian meals to be had. I don’t know if that’s the best example…but this is wandering into subjective thoughts on taste and such, so I won’t go there; it’s just my opinion.

Of course, none of this stops me from going to In-N-Out every time I’m in California haha.

9 Kirbie

I love that first shot you have of the burger.

10 JC Deen

EVERYONE who knows about my travels beginning tomorrow says I MUST eat at this place. It shall go down.

11 James

You should get an order of well-done animal style fries to go with it next time. Or maybe you can just review that separately. You better eat in the restaurant though because they don’t really last (even for the 5 minute drive).

12 Liz

In-N-Out is consistently the best fast food burger I have ever had… I’ve been a fan since 1994 (I was four years old then) and continue to eat it every so often (I hit the gym every day, don’t worry!!!).

I order a cheeseburger (sometimes animal style) but always WITH sliced banana peppers on it. Seriously, so so good.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: