Most people have been there: Innocently going about your day when suddenly, hunger strikes. Luckily, there are plenty of options all across the country where you can satisfy your hunger for cheap in the form of a tasty, portable and easy-to-order burger.
Not all burgers are built equally, however. In order to tell which burger is buns above the competition, GOBankingRates scoured the top fast food menus in America and handpicked four of the most popular options that won’t put a dent in your wallet.
Keep reading to see how some of the best fast food items in America compare.
The Playing Field: Four Burgers
The competition featured entries from four prominent fast food joints: Carl’s Jr., In-N-Out, McDonald’s and Five Guys. Each earned their spot for different reasons — In-N-Out and Five Guys share a cross-coast rivalry with their equally devoted cult followings, and Carl’s Jr. and McDonald’s have locations scattered throughout the states and beyond.
Each burger was judged based on the following criteria: juicy flavor, a taste that stood alone, robustness and richness and price.
The Basic Burger Rundown: A Fact-Sheet of Flavor
Carl’s Jr. calls themselves the “Pioneers of the Great American Burger,” proudly wearing their tagline like a badge of honor, but do they live up to the hype?
The quintessential Carl’s Jr. burger is the 1/3 lb. Original Six Dollar Thickburger. This 670-calorie sandwich is comprised of an Angus beef patty, melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise — and, as its name indicates, you can snag one for a cool $6.
Five Guys is an East Coast phenomenon known for its utter simplicity: burgers and fries. Where the menu lacks in complexity, it makes up for with quality — at least, that’s according to the Five Guys faithful.
The staple cheeseburger at Five Guys is a greasy, tasty affair that features “two slices of Kraft American cheese melted between two freshly grilled patties on a soft, toasted bun,” and has 840 calories to go with a whopping 1,050 milligrams of sodium, according to the company’s website.
Quality is costly, though, and at more than $7 (depending on your location), Five Guys’ cheeseburger is the priciest of the bunch.
For those visiting the West Coast, partaking in In-N-Out is a rite of passage, whereas California residents often regard the In-N-Out burger as a way of life. The chain cultivated its cult following in a similar manner to Five Guys — high quality, delicious burgers and simple fries.
For less than $3, a regular ol’ cheeseburger gets you an all-beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and a dollop of In-N-Out’s special spread that, according to the company, hasn’t been changed since 1948.
If you visit, odds are you might find yourself ordering off the not-so-secret menu and spicing up your burger with unique additions. Animal Style, anyone?
The Golden Arches have long been a comforting sign for the hungry and budget-conscious all across the globe for decades. Even though Mickey D’s isn’t considered to be top notch cuisine, their beefy burgers still can satisfy.
The quintessential Quarter Pounder will run you around $4, depending on your location, and is touted as “thick, juicy and cheesy” and comes “with absolutely no fillers, additives or preservatives.”
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