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» Hardee’s: Grilled Cheese Bacon Thickburger
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Hardee’s: Grilled Cheese Bacon Thickburger

By • Sep 26th, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog

One of the unforeseen hazards of having a job as a professional cheeseburger eater is that it’s actually not easy for me to just dash out on a burger run when the mood strikes.  Before this gig came along, when I felt like a cheebie for lunch, I’d hit whatever joint was closest and grab a trusted fave off the menu board.  But now, it has to be something new.  Something I haven’t had yet.  Something I can write about. I’m not complaining, really.  Variety is, after all… well, you know.  And I’ve tried a lot of burgers at a lot of places that I’d never have made time for without this job.  But after 125+ articles, “just grabbing a burger” requires actual research and planning for me.  Recently, in looking over my options for a quick midday bite, I found this:

That’s the Grilled Cheese Bacon ThickburgerI waxed poetic about it back in February when Carl’s Jr. first announced it to the public, but then forgot about it, honestly, even after sister chain Hardee’s put it on their menu, too.  I suddenly decided that the comfort-food combo was just what the doctor ordered at the end of a long and busy week.

Hardee’s touts the burger as “Charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef topped with crispy bacon, slices of melted Swiss and American cheese, and mayonnaise served on grilled sourdough bread.“  It’s offered as a quarter-pounder, a third-pounder, or the half-pound “Six Dollar” version I got.  Heavy in my hand, it felt like a very substantial sandwich.  And unlike most fast-food burgs, this one actually looked good, too, not much different from how it’s pictured in the official company literature:

The beef was exceptional, a solid reminder that Hardee’s really cranks out a juicy, meaty burger, totally deserving of its Top Ten spot in Consumer Reports’ recent poll.  The bacon was nothing special- typical fast-food bacon that’s more limp than anything.  The sourdough was a nice touch, but I would have liked it crustier. To me, that’s a grilled cheese hallmark- that little bit of crisp and crunch to the bread, the way the outer layer kind of shatters as you bite through just before you hit that rush of gooey melted cheese.  This bread was pretty squishy all the way through.

But most surprising to me was the cheese.  Obviously, this is meant to be a very cheesy eat.  And with two slices of American and two slices of Swiss, it doesn’t disappoint.  But the Grilled Cheese Bacon Thickburger was… well… I’m not sure how to say this… too cheesy.

……………………..??????

Sorry, I’m back now.  I was waiting for the bolt of lightning to strike me down for typing such a blasphemous statement.

Cheese is good.  Lots of cheese is better.  But after a few chews, each bite of this burger turns into a mouthful of nondescript goo.  I wanted more texture, a little crunch in there somewhere.  Those sourdough buns spending an extra minute on the griddle and crispier bacon would have been nice, but just a start.  The best grilled cheese I ever ate had Granny Smith apple slices tucked inside it. Yeah, sounded weird to me, too, until I tried it.  The apple added a welcome crunch to counteract the multiple melted cheeses, and a blast of tartness and sweetness that I’ve tried to duplicate in homemade grilled cheese sammies ever since.

Hardee’s Grilled Cheese Bacon Thickburger is a super-tasty and extra-filling burger. I really liked it.  But I wondered if, with a few little tweaks, I might absolutely love it.

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