That IS a Tasty Burger

Matt Yglesias might have a fancy Harvard diploma, a gig with the best magazine in the country, and a bestselling book out but he’s clearly led a sheltered life:

It turns out that Hardee’s, where I’d never eaten before, serves a much better fast food burger than what you get at a McDonald’s.

Every kid in the South knows that before his first day of school. Urban life has its disadvantages, it seems.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jim Henley says:

    Well there’s a paucity of Hardee’s in the DC area. The situation in Manhattan seems worse.

    Our family didn’t appreciate the goodness of Hardee’s until we began driving to places like Florida and Illinois. I assume Matt finally learned the truth during last week’s trip to and from the Outer Banks.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    What do they teach kids these days?

    I would also recommend the hamburger stand of my youth, Steak ‘N Shake, or the recent invader to this area, Culver’s.

    IMO the sad thing is that McDonald’s has convinced millions of Americans that the tasteless pap they serve is what food should taste like.

  3. davod says:

    Try the Burger King Whopper, just great.

  4. FireWolf says:

    If Hardee’s was so great they wouldn’t be downsizing in the north central midwestern states. The place that seems to be doing well up here is a li’l shop called “Burgertime”. (No relation to the video game)

    That being said, we sure would love to get a Sonics up here though 🙁

  5. DC Loser says:

    While Matt may be a bit naive about the state of fast food in the great nation, growing up in NYC has its benefits as far as food goes. We didn’t need chain restaurants as there were an abundance of good to great mom and pop and local restaurants of every variety. THAT is what I miss the most about leaving NYC.

  6. Bithead says:

    I wonder his reaction when told that the reason Hardee’s is so much better, is because HArdee’s hasn’t been prostrating themselves on the altar of the ‘healthy eating’ numbskulls as McD’s has been doing.

    I wonder what his reaction would be to Hardee’s MOnster Thickburger” I wrote about back in November of 04?

    If you will but recall…

    Michael Jacobsen, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says this is a heart attack in a bun.

    “These ‘Thickburgers’ are quintessential food porn — oozing with artery-clogging fat,” says Jacobson.

    Indeed, the number of heart attacks rose by a large number… mostly among the food police.

    But as I said in the article, even then… that wasn’t the biggest offering in the chains;

    Thing is, that for all the tut-tutting going on…. this new offering from Hardees isn’t even the biggest fixins out there… I’ve engaged a Wendy’s triple from time to time over the years… (That’s a 3/4 lb burger, gang)…so this Hardees thing at 2/3 of a lb is no big feat.

    Now, as it happens, there’s a Hardees near Geneva on the Lake, Ohio which is about 225 miles form here, more or less. Nice Sunday drive.Perhaps when we make our annual run to Fostoria, later this year.

  7. G.A.Phillips says:

    What do they teach kids these days?

    Very bad thing’s.

    I’ll recommend white Castle, just make sure you map quest it before you go and smoke when you get there.

  8. TJIT says:

    Bithead,

    If you had read Mathew’s post (all one paragraph of it) you would have realized he linked to an article that went into great detail describing how Hardees marketing philosophy is to poke a finger in the eye of the food police as often as possible.

    Fat Profits

    You want onion rings with that? They’re already in the burger—along with bacon, cheese, BBQ sauce, and a corporate philosophy that says to hell with the health police. How a fast-food chain is pushing gluttony to new extremes and changing America’s attitude toward eating.

    If you had read the above article linked to by Mathew you would realize that one of the reasons McDonald’s, have salads and light items on their menu is to provide wives / girlfriends menu items they will like.

    This makes it more likely the wives / girlfriends will agree to go to McDonald’s for a meal. The wives / girlfriends will order the food police special and the husbands / boyfriends will order a burger and fries.

  9. TJIT says:

    bithead,

    The difference in taste and quality between the chains is not related to what each chain is doing to make the food police happy. It is directly related to how each chain prepares and handles it food.

    McDonald’s: Prepare burgers on griddle, after cooking store burger in steam tray. Assemble sandwich and microwave it when order is placed.

    Hardees: Charbroil burger when order is placed, assemble sandwich when burger comes off of charbroiler.

    That is the major reason for the food quality difference between the two chains, not any particular effort to make the food police happy.

  10. Bithead says:

    If you had read the above article linked to by Mathew you would realize that one of the reasons McDonald’s, have salads and light items on their menu is to provide wives / girlfriends menu items they will like.

    That’s part of it, yes. But what pushed them in that direction in the first place? Threats of congressional action if they didn’t ‘get healthy’. It’s why they insist on continuing to try to sell ‘Big and Tasty’ which in my view is neither. Do a little research into who was threatening suit against McDonalds at the time of the creation of that mess, and you’ll see what I mean.Let’s also remember (And perhaps you should research the complaints from the health food police about what McD’s was making their fries in.

    Given the low sales of the thing, it seems I’m not unique in that view.

    If you had read Mathew’s post (all one paragraph of it) you would have realized he linked to an article that went into great detail describing how Hardees marketing philosophy is to poke a finger in the eye of the food police as often as possible.

    Actually, there’s two points you’re missing out on. First, I didn’t need to read his post to know that. I’ve already written about taht point rather extensively over the years. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, my response is a celebration of Hardee’s responses to the food police. Bithead’s correlary to Newton’s Law states that for every action, there is at least one power hungry yutz trying to make you feel guilty about it.

    The difference in taste and quality between the chains is not related to what each chain is doing to make the food police happy. It is directly related to how each chain prepares and handles it food.

    To the contrary; It’s more of an influence, frankly, than is good for us.

  11. Anderson says:

    BACK YARD BURGER, people.

    If you’re going to eat a burger from a place with a drive-thru, then that is the place to obtain your burger.

  12. TJIT says:

    bithead you are meandering all over the place.

    Mathew posted about the superior quality of the hardees burger.

    You did not bother to read the article and wandered into a completely unrelated food police tangent.

    Now you are meandering into additional unrelated tangents including the french fry lawsuits and McDonald’s products designed to compete with the whopper.

    The fact that McDonald’s is preparing large burgers that are less tasty then hardees has nothing to do with the food police and everything to do with how McDonald’s prepares their food.

  13. DesertJeff says:

    Aw man, this takes me back to 1987, when I was a teenager working as a stock boy at Winn-Dixie. Many of my dinner breaks were spent enjoying a mushroom and swiss burger at the Hardee’s next door, which I could get away with since I had a higher metabolism back then and burned hundreds of calories per shift. I especially enjoyed that orange-ish sauce they put on the burger. What was that stuff anyway? Man it was delicious.

    Even then, pre-health police, Hardee’s’* burgers left McDonald’s’* in the dust.

    *How do I punctuate that anyway?

  14. JKB says:

    McDonald’s started offering salads and other healthy choices to appeal to moms, not wives and girlfriends. McD’s target demographic is kids and they found that giving mom something to select besides a Big Mac would aid in their capitulation when the kiddies were yearning for a Happy Meal.

  15. Grewgills says:

    Who doesn’t/didn’t make a better burger than McDonald’s*?

    Out west, In and Out and Fatburger are much better for a traditional burger and Astro makes good burgers for both the traditional burger lover and the more health concerned (sub bison, ostrich, or gardenburger on any burger).

    * before or after the relatively recent menu changes

  16. Bithead says:

    Mathew posted about the superior quality of the hardees burger

    Yep.
    And WHY is it superior?
    One major factor is the constrols placed on the product.

    McDonald’s started offering salads and other healthy choices to appeal to moms, not wives and girlfriends

    So they say. It'[s called ‘putting a positive spin on things when you ahve no choice in the matter.

    Ever heard of “Super size me’?
    Of course the long trail of lawsuits… I’m sure, had no effect on their product lines and quality.

  17. TJIT says:

    Bithead you said,

    Yep.
    And WHY is it superior?
    One major factor is the constrols placed on the product.

    Hardees burgers are superior because they are charbroiled to order. McDonald’s burgers are griddle cooked ahead of time and held in a steam table.

    McDonald’s cooking practices (griddle cook / pre make food / hold food in heat or steam table) were in place decades before either the french fry lawsuits or fast food nation came on the scene.

    In other words the facts on the ground flatly contradict the point you are trying to make.

  18. An Interested Party says:

    In other words the facts on the ground flatly contradict the point you are trying to make.

    That’s never stopped him from making the same kind of contradictory points before…why should it now…

  19. An Interested Party says:

    Also, this is all simply about a blogger who found a tasty burger…must everything be reduced to snarky ideology?

  20. Bithead says:

    In other words the facts on the ground flatly contradict the point you are trying to make.

    You misunderstand my response. I’m not suggesting you’re wrong. But What I am suggesting is hw they got that way.

    Oh, by the way, another interesting factor, here, is how the food police seem to be so fixated on MD and BK, and leave these others alone, despite MD having modified their way of doing things to satisfy the food police, already. I wonder if the driver there is that they know they’ll get the desired response from MD, and likely not from most of these others.

    Rather reminds me of the old joke about PETA going after rich women in fur, rather then bikers in leather, based on the idea that PETA figures they’re more likely to survive the fur encounter.

    Also, this is all simply about a blogger who found a tasty burger…must everything be reduced to snarky ideology?

    Mostly because the kind of ideology I’m railing against here has become so pervasive. Note the things that such people attack; Our food, our transportation, our personal habits. Attach guilt to them and they have perhaps more control over we peasants than with any other scenario.

    Personally, best Burger I ever had came from a little truckstop outside Watertown, NY, around Tinker Tavern, or so as I recall. The place used to get all kinds of business from folks traveling up I-81 on vacation… This would be just after 81 was completed. It became kind of a milestone on the trip into the north country. Alas, it’s gone, now. Place closed, and the building burned down a few years later. I think the sign is still up out front of where it used to be, or it was a few years ago.

  21. An Interested Party says:

    Note the things that such people attack; Our food, our transportation, our personal habits.

    I assume you are as equally disturbed by those on the opposite side of the political spectrum who attack our personal habits, lifestyles, etc.?

  22. G.A.Phillips says:

    I assume you are as equally disturbed by those on the opposite side of the political spectrum who attack our personal habits, lifestyles, etc.?

    There is a big difference between telling people whats bad for them, and forcing them to do what you want them to, ones called sharing wisdom ones called subversion.

  23. Fence says:

    I’ve done plenty of Hardee’s, In n Out and lots of the rest but I’d be hard pressed to say there is a better burger chain than Five Guys Burger in DC area. They started just as company owned, now have switched to franchising so hard to know if they keep their quality up. There’s one in the US Air terminal at National Airport, so if you’re passing thru there it is worth checking out. Just get lots of napkins, order tons of toppings, and as far as fries go only order 1 “small” fry for each 2 people. Don’t get me wrong, I still know the closest In n Out to the airports in SFO, LAX, LAS, SAN and now PHX, but Five Guys is finally an east coast answer.

    If you haven’t had kids yet don’t knock McDs.

  24. DC Loser says:

    If you haven’t had kids yet don’t knock McDs.

    Amen, brother. It may not be the height of culinary cuisine, but Mickey D’s does a good job keeping the kids happy. And those salads are good for me when I don’t feel like loading up on grease or carbs. And their coffee has improved significantly so much that I much prefer their $1 cup of joe over the drip at Starbucks.

  25. An Interested Party says:

    There is a big difference between telling people whats bad for them, and forcing them to do what you want them to, ones called sharing wisdom ones called subversion.

    Left and Right are equally guilty of not only telling people whats bad for them but also trying to force them to do what they want them to…

  26. Timmer says:

    Out here in the West, Hardee’s goes by the handle of Carl’s Junior. And I’ll take one of their burgers over a McDonald’s any day. Same with Jack in the Box and Burger King…anything over McDonald’s. Now that Boyo’s (12 year old son) taste buds are developing beyond the scope of chicken nuggets, he’s starting to ask for other fast food as well.

    Although…I’ll add my preference of Culver’s. Their Butter Burgers are the BEST.

  27. Roger says:

    We have Five Guys here in State College, PA. Great burgers. Sheetz (located throughout PA and parts of WV) also features pretty decent burgers but Five Guys is at the top of my list right now.