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Why is In-n-out so damn good?

There is nothing particularly special about it right? I can hand leaf my own damn lettuce and make patties that were never frozen. But why is that taste so hard to replicate? Could it be the cheese or sauce? I wouldnt be surprised if they sprinkled crack in there

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    1. I for one cannot understand all of the glorified hype of In N Out? I've tried to like it but to me, it tastes like a regular take out hamburger. The fries are nothing spectacular even though it's cut fresh with each order. Good but not good enough to drive out of my way just to have it. I do respect their business philosophy but for now I'll settle for a double whopper or Big Mac and be just as happy. Sorry.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Clinton

        One enormous difference comes immediately to my mind. I can't get a double whopper or a big mac cooked my way (medium rare). I can get a double double cooked exactly the way I like it.

        1. re: Servorg

          Another big difference is that (at least at McD's) you're never getting a freshly grilled burger like at InO. Since around '95, McD has been par-grilling and then nuking them. Also, InO doesn't use the usual commodity ground beef, but grinds their own.

          That said, their fries suck unless ordered well-done.

          I consider InO to be the burger of my youth, i.e. what you could get at the average independent drive-in in the 60's, but rarely find these days.

      2. I, too, have tried to get the In N Out thing and just don't get it. It's good, but it's hardly great. It does kick butt over McDonald's, Burger King, Jack In the Box, Wendys - those sort of places, but frankly, I find it on about a par with Carl's Jr. and nowhere near as good or interesting as any number of other independent or small chain burger places. And it's true, it's fries are really not all that good at all - better if you order them "well done" and they follow orders, but still...

        1 Reply
        1. re: estone888

          Because there's not a lot of them, and so it feels like a special treat when you go to one.

          If they blanketed the area like McD's and you saw them on every corner, then it wouldn't be the same even if everything was exactly the same.

        2. Quality you can taste.®.

            1. I was so excited to try In N Out and was sorely disappointed. Mediocre burger, limp lettuce, forgettable bun, just okay fries . . . what's the fuss all about?

              If you want a good burger and you're in NYC, go to Bare Burger in Greenwich Village. Now THAT is one astounding burger. The fries are amazing as well.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Transplanted Texan

                And if you're here, in the Woodland Hills area, you must go to Boulevard Burger for an unbeatable burger.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  Thanks for the recommendation! I'll do that my next trip up!

                  1. re: Transplanted Texan

                    You're not the only one who thinks that InO is nothing special...just an ordinary fast food burger. Many of us can't understand why it seems to be such a cult thing here on the west coast. True they supposedly grind their own meat daily, and hand leaf their lettuce...but as far as taste, I (and many others) find InO no better than most of their fast food competition...but these are fighting words to members of the InO contingent.

                    1. re: josephnl

                      Your opinion has value, as does everyone's, in this discussion. But I don't understand the need to append the "supposedly" to "grind their own meat daily". Are you implying the company is being disingenuous, or the posters providing the information?

                      1. re: silence9

                        He's still waiting for them to release the "long form" grinding certificate... ;-D>

                        1. re: silence9

                          Not at all...I've not personally researched whether or not they grind their own meat daily, but am assuming that what others have said on this site is true. I have no reason at all to doubt what the company says.

                    2. It's NOT!!!!!

                      Do yourself a favor and do a "real" blind taste test. We have conducted it three different times and each time In-N-Out burger came out in the bottom half, this is surprising since most people who rated the burgers were In-N-Out aficionados. Even they had to admit that it must have been mostly psychological but as far as I know, none of them gave up going to In-N-Out.

                      In-N-Out get's a A+ for marketing hype and for value which is what sucks in most teenagers to them and keeps the name going and breeds a whole generation of followers.


                      4 Replies
                      1. re: RetiredChef

                        Hi RetiredChef... My experiences have been the opposite of yours, but I respect many differing (even diametrically opposed) opinions. To each his own... As for one of your comments above (regarding 'real' blind taste tests), you mention "even they (afficianados) had to admit it (their preference of In N Out) must have been mostly psychological". Where would are enjoyment of many-if-not-most-things in life be, without the blessing of a psychological component? For example, in general, most folks do not become empirically more physically attractive (by purely exterior standards) as they age, yet our love and even lust for our partners can grow and blossom until the end of our terrestrial days. Thank God for the assistance of 'the psychological' in keeping the flame alive. Thank God we do not make enduring choices as to preferences in those things we truly enjoy and even love, based purely on the outcome of 'real' blind taste testing. I hope you get my drift. And i hope I have not unintentionally offended anyone by stating this...

                        1. re: silence9

                          because the food you eat has to be all about sex. Marketing is one thing, but some might consider it rather distasteful to conflate such desires. apparently not chocolate manufacturers though.

                        2. re: RetiredChef

                          What other burgers were included in the blind taste tests?

                          1. re: RetiredChef

                            please post up some examples of In-N-Out's alleged 'marketing hype'. other than their occasional billboard, their website, and in-store swag-for-purchase, I don't really see much marketing going on with them. that's considered pretty bare-bones for most customer-facing enterprises of their size & scale these days...

                          2. It's all purely psychological. Didn't like their fries especially.

                            1. fries are not great, but as Steve Queen put it "grinds their own" that and the limited distribution from the plant(s) beats any mainstream chain. freshiness.

                              1. The meat isn't a mystery, the lettuce is fresh, but the best thing about In-n-Out is it comes out HOT. Almost every time we get a burger from any of the other chains it's not hot. Half the time it's been sitting under a heat lamp or in a heat box. Perhaps Carl's Jr., Jack in the Box, or BK start out well prepared but a cold hamburger is just plain gross.