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Aug 20, 2009 09:13 AM

Carls Jr The Big Carl?

Anybody try the Carls Jr The Big Carl yet. It is a knock off of McD's Big mac but with twice the meat and cheese for 50 cents to a buck lower in price.

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  1. Looks like a poor imposter to me. The Big Carl is missing the middle bun layer -- seems like a better facsimile of the McDonald's Quarter Pounder since the double patty in the Big Carl adds up to 7 ounces of meat, or thereabouts.

    1. Had one for lunch today. The meat was even more over-done than Carl's normally is, leaving it crispy both on the inside and the outside. Cheese is normal Carl's cheese. The iceberg came as a leaf, not shredded like Micky-D's and the sauce wasn't as good as in the Big M. Despite that, I did actually like it better than the Big M and it is definitely about 25 percent more food than a Big M. They really need to work on the sauce, though.


      1. I have to agree with YMMV the sauce is just basic thousand island dressing, McDees tarts up their sauce somehow and it is better, the lettuce should be shredded and they should add pickles. I believe the object was to wean away big mac lovers to CJ's version but it tastes nothing like a big mac. I was disapointed only in that it wasn't even close to a big mac but for $2.49 you get a lot more for your money. Double the cheese and 7oz of meat vs. big mac's 3.2oz.

        1 Reply
        1. re: malibumike

          Just ask them to add pickles and onions. They will do it no questions asked (and no charge).

        2. At least they didn't call it the Hot Carl.

          2 Replies
          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            Thank you for saying that and relieving me of the compulsion to.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps


              If it's supposed to be a bigger/better version of the 'Big Mac' - it totally fails IMHO. It's missing the middle bun, no sesame seed bun, it's overcooked (as all Carls burgers are), the lettuce is a whole piece instead of shredded, and their thousand island sauce is missing something. It doesn't even taste/feel at all similar to the Big Mac even though it's bigger and cheaper.

            2. I'm not the biggest fan of McDonald's. Sure, it's a fast food institution but I usually leave thinking, "never again!". In contrast, truly fresh burgers like those from In N Out have always been favorites of mine.

              Anyway, I had high hopes for the Big Carl. Sounded like a Big Mac, only better, right? After all, you get superior meat, more cheese, and a larger size....for less money! So you fix the flaws of the Big Mac (such as awfully thin patties and low-grade quality) while preserving the Big Mac's strengths (such as a distinctive & familiar taste).

              I'm sad to report the Big Carl is a dud. It's not awful or anything, but it totally lacks any BigMac-ness, if you will. There is almost zero resemblance. Problems:

              1) The #1 problem is the sauce. Big Mac sauce has a very distinctive flavor that defines the burger. It's what makes it work. The Big Carl sauce may as well be mayonnaise. You can't really taste it. Maybe they're not using enough, but it definitely doesn't have the same tang and flavor of the Big Mac. It's weak as hell.

              2) The lettuce. Big Mac lettuce comes in little strips and somehow preserves its crunchiness....again, you can taste it. The Big Carl had a hot & soggy layer of lettuce below. Again, because it was hot and droopy, you couldn't really even taste it. For example, In N Out Burger, which uses layers of lettuce, usually presevres the crunch and flavor.

              3) The meat tastes exactly like Burger King meat. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but makes it feel like you're eating a Whopper (minus the tomato). Again, this detracts from the BigMac-ness of the burger. I never realized that the piece-of-crap patties that McDonald's uses may, in some strange way, actually be a strength. Maybe it helps you taste other ingredients, like the sauce and the lettuce, more precisely because the meat is so bland and nondescript. Weird. However, I can't really blame them for this, so this isn't really a huge negative for the Carl.

              The verdict is that the Big Carl makes an implicit promise to be, "like the Big Mac, only better". It promises the best of both worlds:

              A) Big Mac style flavor
              B) Improvements on McD's weak points (eg, cheap meat, size)

              The problem is that the Carl totally delivers on point B, but fails miserably on point A. It improves on Big Mac's weaknesses, but fails to duplicate Big Mac's strengths (such as the great sauce). It's strongest attributes are that it's more filling and the price point, but I prefer to focus on taste.

              Overall, I was very disappointed and don't recommend it if you're expecting anything resembling the Big Mac. The Big Carl is a fantastic idea that was poorly executed. Can't believe I'm siding with McDonald's on this one. HOWEVER...the 6 dollar burgers stomp all over the Big Mac, though (as does the double double from In N Out). The Big Carl should have come with the angus patties from its 6-dollar brethren and a MUCH better sauce.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Pitou

                then they couldnt have charged 2.49 though. i dont know why everyone loves the big mac anyway. i always get the angus bacon and cheese. i have BOGO coupons so a 1/4 angus burger costs over 2 dollars with tax i get 2 for 4.69 dollars.

                1. re: Pitou

                  Pitou has it right--the sauce is all wrong, and the wet, wimpy lettuce (at least on mine) made the whole burger a slip-and-slide experience. It's reminiscent of BK's Big Mac clone (the Big King?) years ago.

                  McD's should offer what a couple of locations near me used to: the MegaMac (made w./ 2 QP patties. Good stuff!

                  I'm one-and-done with this one; there are much better things on their menu.

                  1. re: Pitou

                    I always thought the neutralness of the McDonalds patty was one thing that made it work well. Then I did a side by side comparison with BK, and ack in the Box. Surprisingly the McDonalds burger is slightly seasoned.