The Great In-N-Out Burger Controversy of 2019

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
#6
Sigh.

Some people just don't get it, I guess...
Exactly. The ones waiting in long drive-through lines for very average food. The only plus about it is that it is very fresh. The burgers are OK. The fries are OK. The milkshakes are pretty good. But why the cult following? Fresh, average-tasting food is still, well, average-tasting.

Of course I also don't understand the popularity of Starbucks and Dutch Bros, either. Who really needs overpriced coffee that badly??? I wonder what the Venn diagram is for people going to both In-N-Out and these overpriced coffee joints.

But I don't want to get too far off topic.
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
#7
Exactly. The ones waiting in long drive-through lines for very average food. The only plus about it is that it is very fresh. The burgers are OK. The fries are OK. The milkshakes are pretty good. But why the cult following? Fresh, average-tasting food is still, well, average-tasting.

Of course I also don't understand the popularity of Starbucks and Dutch Bros, either. Who really needs overpriced coffee that badly??? I wonder what the Venn diagram is for people going to both In-N-Out and these overpriced coffee joints.

But I don't want to get too far off topic.
I think that ship already sailed. :p
 
#8
Exactly. The ones waiting in long drive-through lines for very average food. The only plus about it is that it is very fresh. The burgers are OK. The fries are OK. The milkshakes are pretty good. But why the cult following? Fresh, average-tasting food is still, well, average-tasting.

Of course I also don't understand the popularity of Starbucks and Dutch Bros, either. Who really needs overpriced coffee that badly??? I wonder what the Venn diagram is for people going to both In-N-Out and these overpriced coffee joints.

But I don't want to get too far off topic.
Well, part of the appeal for me is the nostalgia. I've been living out of Cali for almost 8 years now, every time I'm back it's nice to hit the In-n-out! And if you go late, there's no line!

Totally agree about Starbucks though! Don't get the appeal of candy bar drinks and burnt, acrid, coffee. So I guess I see where you're coming from!

Anyways, what's this thread about again? Oh yeah, Fox!

Looking forward to his duel with Westbrook tonight. Those two always seem to go at it! It'll be nice to see Fox drain a 3 or two tonight as well. He was deadly when he had confidence in his shot. Russel can't stop that!

(Ok, hopefully that takes with getting the thread back on track! My bad everyone, I started this burger nonsense haha)
 
#9
But I don't want to get too far off topic.
I do. Though I haven't read this thread in a while so my timing is bad. Mr. Fox, I hope you read this too. Take it from somebody who was born and raised in Sacramento; In-N-Out Burger is indeed meh at best. But for a similar price, higher quality offerings can be had at Willie's Burgers on 16th and Broadway. I don't like animal fries from In-N-Out, but Willie's zoo fries are amazing. In-N-Out's milkshakes hardly taste like the flavor ordered, but Willie's taste like they are made with quality ice cream. The fries and burgers are also no competition. They are tastier and come as larger portions. Order a large fry and get a paper bag filled with fries. Even their onion rings beat similarly priced rings at other joints. The outside has both a crispy and a soft layer with a really good flavor. They also have good hot dogs and decent tamales, and you can have chili put on anything. So for the rising stars trying to bulk up this summer, I expect to hear about you eating zoo fries and chili burgers with milkshakes at Willie's.
 
#10
There are a handful of chains that are better than In and Out. Fat burger, Five Guys...to name a few.

That said, In and Out is great, because they've mastered the model of knowing what they do well and doubling/tripling down on it. The day In and Out diversifies is the day they're in deep sh*t.
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
#12
Hey, a burger thread! (Thanks for splitting this off, VF!)

So my take on In-N-Out is basically this: The burgers, at many locations, are probably the tastiest burgers out there. The problem is that some locations have bland burgers. I'm almost certain it has to do with location-by-location policy with regard to how much salt they add to the burger on the grill. Don't add enough salt, the burgers are bland. I would say that I have enough experience with about...7 different In-N-Out locations throughout California to pass judgment, and 5 of those 7 I will happily go to. One of them is marginal at best, and one of them I will simply avoid unless somebody else wants to go there. The real draws on the burger are the meat, the sauce, the glorious, glorious processed-cheese-food-stuff (like, seriously, best, thickest cheese on a burger anywhere, hands down) and the sliced (not grilled) onion. The onion is also pretty variable, but this doesn't seem to be related to location - but when it's nice and pungent, with the meat cooked right, yeah, that's the best chain burger out there at any price.

The fries are not worth buying. They're edible, but they're pretty much my least favorite fry. On the bright side, they are consistent. Many fast food joints will drop a stinkbomb of a package of fries on you 10% of the time, but with In-N-Out I've never seen that. Still, my M.O. is to skip the fries altogether and just get two cheeseburgers instead (sometimes a double-double but I actually like the bun/onion to meat ratio better on the singles). I can't really speak to the shakes as I'm not a fan of shakes in general.

Yes, In-N-Out burgers are small, but that is offset by the fact that they're also quite inexpensive. I don't think you get a whole lot more meat (if any more) on a Five Guys burger that costs twice as much. Sure, Five Guys has a lot more topping options, and it's a good burger, but it doesn't reach the marriage of value and simplicity that In-N-Out hits.
 
#15
They were never my favorite but I love their shakes. Which made me almost tolerate their fries.

We got a new concept in Portland called Super Deluxe that has a super tasty fast food burger (I do believe the secret besides fresh ingredients is actually the bun) and they actually have fries worth buying. No shakes, unfortunately :(
 
#17
De’aaron doesn’t realize how his take is typical behavior from Texans in regards to the great In-N-Out burger. We might play along but all Californians know foreigners have some self fulfilling prophecy to hate on the GOAT burger.

I have hosted northerners,southerners, easterners, midwesterners, mideasterners for In-N-Out...first they scarf it down so quickly you would think they were afraid the burger would run away from them..and then they proceed to call it overrated and then hype up the burger chain from whatever hell hole they come from. We’re not buying it, Swipa.
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
#20
So my take on In-N-Out is basically this: The burgers, at many locations, are probably the tastiest burgers out there. The problem is that some locations have bland burgers. I'm almost certain it has to do with location-by-location policy with regard to how much salt they add to the burger on the grill. Don't add enough salt, the burgers are bland. I would say that I have enough experience with about...7 different In-N-Out locations throughout California to pass judgment, and 5 of those 7 I will happily go to. One of them is marginal at best, and one of them I will simply avoid unless somebody else wants to go there. The real draws on the burger are the meat, the sauce, the glorious, glorious processed-cheese-food-stuff (like, seriously, best, thickest cheese on a burger anywhere, hands down) and the sliced (not grilled) onion. The onion is also pretty variable, but this doesn't seem to be related to location - but when it's nice and pungent, with the meat cooked right, yeah, that's the best chain burger out there at any price.

The fries are not worth buying. They're edible, but they're pretty much my least favorite fry. On the bright side, they are consistent. Many fast food joints will drop a stinkbomb of a package of fries on you 10% of the time, but with In-N-Out I've never seen that. Still, my M.O. is to skip the fries altogether and just get two cheeseburgers instead (sometimes a double-double but I actually like the bun/onion to meat ratio better on the singles). I can't really speak to the shakes as I'm not a fan of shakes in general.

Yes, In-N-Out burgers are small, but that is offset by the fact that they're also quite inexpensive. I don't think you get a whole lot more meat (if any more) on a Five Guys burger that costs twice as much. Sure, Five Guys has a lot more topping options, and it's a good burger, but it doesn't reach the marriage of value and simplicity that In-N-Out hits.
Meh. I've eaten at several In-N-Outs (Elk Grove, West Sac by Ikeas, Santa Clarita, others) and they have all tasted pretty much identical.

The food is fresh, and I like that. And I do like the sliced fresh onion. And they are relatively cheap.

But that doesn't mean that they are "good" to "great". For the price, they are above average. But that's pretty faint praise. They are OK overall. I have no problem eating them. But they are WAY overrated. They are not worth the wait in line (seriously, why is there always a line a mile long?). And they are very small burgers. I also don't think "simplicity" should be a goal for a burger joint. That's one way of saying "this is what you get, take it or leave it". I like BBQ bacon burgers, etc. No dice at In-N-Out. You get a plain burger and you better like it.

5 Guys is better all the way around, especially including the Cajun fries and shakes. I like Carl's Jr. burgers more for a "drive through" burger, especially since they have much bigger burgers and some actual variety to choose from. There are also lots of places that serve MUCH better burgers at higher prices, and frankly, unless I am in a hurry, I'd rather pay the extra for better food. Value is nice, but not necessarily at the expense of variety, quality, and quantity.
 
#21
It’s hard to find a better burger at that price point. Sure I can spend twice as much and get a better burger, but in and out has maybe the best bang for your buck burger.
 
#22
I'll take my Double Double w/ extra toast on the bun and whole grilled onion over any trendy burger shop out there.

I've been going to In-N-Out for almost 2 decades and it's always the same great quality every time.
 
#23
In-N-Out is a fast food chain, it's not trying to be a boutique burger bar or anything. Based on the standards of fast food, it's pretty good. Maybe there are better options in other states but if they don't have them here and I'm not crossing the country on chartered flights every week, that's not really relevant to me. Part of the appeal is probably nostalgia. Part of it is that they're open later than just about everything else. Part of it is that their food is delivered fresh every day. An underappreciated aspect for me is that they aren't changing the menu every month with some fancy re-packaging of the same basic thing. It's always the same menu, it tastes how you expect it to, and it's fairly cheap. Especially if you skip the fries and just double up on the cheeseburgers as Capt. suggested (which is undoubtedly the way to go). The only caveat is that you have to like their special sauce since you're losing half the flavor without it and they don't do anything else.

I will add though that Habit Burger has brussel sprouts right now and that's a game-changer for me!
 
#24
The best burger i've had is from the box kitchen in san franisco, but it costs more than twice as much as a in n out burger. For the price, a double double animal style is very hard to beat in my opinion.
 
#25
I'll take my Double Double w/ extra toast on the bun and whole grilled onion over any trendy burger shop out there.

I've been going to In-N-Out for almost 2 decades and it's always the same great quality every time.
double double, raw onions and fries animal style please. Or if going low carb a 4x4 protein/animal style
But yes the lines are absurd. Every time I drive by one I go off on a rant “what these losers have never been to an in and out before?!” Yet I am one of those losers lol
 
#27
The Habit >>>>>>>> In and Out.

Quite honestly, I also prefer Carl’s Jr. 6 dollar burgers to the overrrated In and Out.

And I’m born and bred CA.

Swipa is far from out of line or crazy with his belief. Lots of folks agree, even those from CA.
 
#28
De’aaron doesn’t realize how his take is typical behavior from Texans in regards to the great In-N-Out burger. We might play along but all Californians know foreigners have some self fulfilling prophecy to hate on the GOAT burger.

I have hosted northerners,southerners, easterners, midwesterners, mideasterners for In-N-Out...first they scarf it down so quickly you would think they were afraid the burger would run away from them..and then they proceed to call it overrated and then hype up the burger chain from whatever hell hole they come from. We’re not buying it, Swipa.
Um, no. It’s typical of all those that don’ find it all that appealing. Doesn’t matter where someone comes from. Cause I’m not from TX or the Midwest or East Coast, etc and neither is my family who largely aren‘t fans either.
 
#29
Of course I also don't understand the popularity of Starbucks and Dutch Bros, either. Who really needs overpriced coffee that badly??? I wonder what the Venn diagram is for people going to both In-N-Out and these overpriced coffee joints.
Totally agree about Starbucks though! Don't get the appeal of candy bar drinks and burnt, acrid, coffee. So I guess I see where you're coming from!
Couldn‘t agree more with you guys on this. I‘ve never understood coffee in any form, let alone overpriced and chock full of nonsense.