Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 18: In-N-Out Burger and the "Hidden Menu"

This post is for my non-Californian readers. You might have encountered In-N-Out Burger in Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation." He cites In-N-Out as an example of what fast food can be. The beef is fresh, never frozen. Food isn't cooked until you order, which sometimes results in long lines during peak times. And the employees get full benefits and higher than average wages compared to other fast food chains. This is the menu.

Day 18 In-N-Out 1

Or you might have heard of In-N-Out as the burger chain Paris Hilton was headed for in 2006 when she got pulled over for a DUI. In 2003, Angelina Jolie cut out of the Academy Awards ceremony early to stop off at In-N-Out on the way home. In a 2004 interview with Los Angeles Magazine, Julia Child was said to have requested an In-N-Out burger while in the hospital recovering from knee surgery.

The company, which started in 1948, is still family-owned so it's been growing slowly. Only within the past decade did In-N-Out start expanding beyond SoCal. And even now, has only expanded to Arizona and Nevada. But In-N-Out has long had a "hidden menu," that's not so hidden anymore.

I usually just order, a $1.90 cheeseburger "animal-style" - beef patty fried in mustard, grilled onions, secret sauce, and pickles with a $1.19 side of fries.

Day 18 In-N-Out 2

But if you're particularly hungry, you can order the $2.85 double-double. That's two beef patties and two slices of cheese. Again, I prefer mine "animal-style."

Day 18 In-N-Out 3

But the company's official "not-so secret menu" still doesn't list everything. You can also order your fries "animal-style" - grilled onions, cheese, and special sauce for $2.79.

Day 18 In-N-Out 4

If you're doing Atkins or eating low-carb, you can also get your burgers "protein-style" - sans buns and wrapped in lettuce. I haven't eaten a burger this way in years and thought I remembered there being more lettuce? Usually there's so much lettuce that it overpowers the meat so I think ordering it as a double-double evens that out.

Day 18 In-N-Out 5

Since nothing is frozen, using fresh potatoes means their fries can be a bit limp. So you can also order your fries "well-done." Oh, yeah, and the discreet Bible verses are part of the company's beliefs too.

Day 18 In-N-Out 6

You can also get your burgers without the beef as a grilled cheese. And if the double-double isn't enough for you, you can order a 3-by-3 or a 4-by-4. Unfortunately, they no longer offer the 100-by-100. The highest they'll go now is the 4-by-4.

March 16, 2009 Update: Tipped off by Noah Galuten, I found out you can get grilled whole onions in your burger, and even better...

Day 18 In-N-Out 7

...chopped chili peppers!!! Look at the bottom of the picture. Those are yellow pickled chili peppers. Soooooo gooooood!

Day 18 In-N-Out 8

Other "hidden menu" items include the flying Dutchman - beef patties and cheese, no lettuce, no tomatoes, no bun; and Neapolitan shake - chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla swirled. Anyone else know of other "hidden menu" items? 

My favorite other chain "hidden menu" item is The Hat's chili cheese fries with pastrami, pickles, and tomatoes.

In-N-Out Various Locations

1 year ago today, still my very favorite dumpling house - Luscious Dumplings, Inc. in San Gabriel.


  1. I actually prefer 2 cheeseburgers than 1 double double. Now I know how BIG is your appetite -- it's small! :P

    I so miss In and Out! :(

  2. Oh, how I miss In N Out already. I love their burgers for the same reasons you mentioned - quality, freshness as well as sane and sound, corporate practices of paying very decent wages to employees and not franchising their restaurants. I could go on and on...

    I've never order the flying dutchman but I do like the protein burger (every once in a while). Still, I am partial to the double-double, animal style :)

  3. "fries light" is the opposite of well done
    i like animal style fries light
    that is the one thing i miss about california
    in n out burger

  4. I'm dead jealous. You can't get a burger that size (and weight) for less than $7 over here. By the way, what is in the special sauce?

  5. AWWWW.. you beat me to it~! I was gonna do a IN-N-OUT one but hehe.. yours is very nice~

    Other items on the secret menu: Veggie burger. thats everything w/o a meat patty. Similar to a grilled cheese, except, well, no cheese.
    you can also get an "Arnold Palmer" which is a 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 Iced Tea but i do not know if they call it that..
    lastly, you can ask for the patties "well done."

  6. look at that! Weirdly enough, i know it's bad but it still looks soo good.

  7. i tried everything but the double double, i like the cheeseburger animal style too :D i didn't like the bunless or the animal style fries (too much thousand island) :D
    but in and out is yums.

  8. I had the flying dutchman once on a lark. Well I also liked the idea of just saying "Can I get a flying dutchman?" It is literally just two meat patties with cheese. It reminds me of that Jack In The Box commercial for the ultimate cheeseburger a while back where they ask, "Well, we understand the meat, and we understand the cheese, but why the bun?" It was interesting...

  9. Tigerfishy,
    Two cheeseburgers. That's way too much bun for me.

    You were just in Cali a few weeks ago.

    I heart Mies,
    Hmm. I've never thought of ordering animal fries light. Sometimes it can be a bit much.

    $7 as in 3 lbs? Or 7 lbs? Eeek! if so. Special sauce is really just Thousand Island - ketchup and mayonnaise with pickles.

    Hey man, you haven't been blogging in months! Veggie burger with just lettuce and tomatoes? Blah.

    It's not too bad for you since everything is made fresh.

    Yes, it's on the company's website too.

    Yeah, I'm usually quite happy with just a cheeseburger animal-style.

    Well, if I were still doing Atkins, maybe the flying Dutchman would be appealing...

  10. I meant $7 as in £3.50 GBP . still, the only decent-ish burger house we have in our area is Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which serves burger at around £8 GBP a pop (including french fries). Life is not fair!!!

  11. What about the hidden "Jesus" messages on the packaging? You've noticed those, right?

  12. Hedgehog,
    Well, 3.50 lbs isn't too bad since you're making money in lbs. :) It's only bad for Americans since our money is worthless these days. :(

    Geez, lady, shows you don't read or look at the post. I mentioned it and it's in the last photo.

  13. Oh man, I love In-N-Out and now I have a huge craving for it! My normal order is a double-double, animal style, no spread with well done fries.

    I had a 4 by 4 once. It was great going down, but I regretted it afterwards, ha.

  14. They also have a Lemon-Up. 1/2 Lemonade and 1/2 Seven-Up. It's really quite good.

  15. Chuck,
    I can barely eat a double-double, I can't imagine a 4 by 4. Insane!

    I like lemon-ups too. Drink combos aren't really unique to In-N-Out though, lots of places have them.

  16. Where is the love for Fatburger?

    Am I the only person on the planet who thinks that In-N-Out is overrated, and that Fatburger's food tastes 100% better?

    I must be... :(

  17. Sienka,
    I like Fatburger too but there's none near me. :( I love their onion rings.

  18. Doh! I just wanted to Double Double check ;-).

  19. Cathy,
    Ha! Then you should read and read. ;)

  20. In '04, my HS buddies and I met up for a mini reunion at the original in n out and they did a 20 x 20...I'm sad that neither exists anymore! I could just imagine us ditching our 10 year reunion early to go to in n out like the old days. At least we still have those memories! =)

  21. Jeannie,
    A 20 by 20 would have been a great picture to see! I didn't bother to attend my high school reunion. Kept in touch with the one friend I still talk to so I didn't bother. :P

  22. OMG WC,
    I miss In and Out!!! Their burgers are great, and you know that their burgers are great when my wife who hates hamburgers agrees to have seconds! I took a picture of my burger but didn't dare post it because I had already taken a bite out of it. If the burger wouldn't get spoiled I'd have my family air mail me one.
    Cheers =)

  23. HoustonWok,
    Haha. I've taken a few photos with bite marks in them. It's all good.

  24. I'm happy enough with their regular menu, but as you said, lines can be long during peak hours!

    Last fall, my roomie invited one of her fellow students over for dinner. And he asked if another student could come, too. As it turned out, his friend was from Holland and was working at In-N-Out HQ because the family had discovered he was a relative. Apparently, they were teaching him the business.

  25. Oooo...grilled whole onion too now! That will be something for me to order next time I visit In and Out. It's interesting that they even have chili peppers too! I've never thought they would have peppers when they don't serve anything "peppery" on their regular menu.
    Lots of things to see next time I visit in and out :). I'll also have to see if the free unlimited veggies option is true, which I have heard from a friend of mine.

  26. I am a fast food junkie and the pictures are absolutely YUMMY!!! Too bad there isn't anything close to that here in Canada. :0(

  27. they finally opened up an In N Out URGE (I mean, Burger) near our place. Finally! I'm there every other week with my co-workers. when i first went there i didn't know you could get grilled onions (thanks for the tip WC) with your burger. they taste so much better than the raw onions. their fries are okay - i actually like mcdonald's better (and rally's too). great post showing the 'not so secret' menu! very helpful!

  28. yum!! my favorite burger joint! I'm so glad that you have a pic of the burger with chilis because I was looking all over the internet a couple weeks ago for someone who documented it. You can ask them to grill the peppers too...i'd probably get that next time i'm in CA. =)

  29. I think I will have to make up some secret menu items, like the WC Double Double, with a side of nuoc cham!

  30. Nikki,
    Fascinating! Maybe they need to dig up family members b/c the only person left is the granddaughter?

    I love the grilled whole onion. The diced onions before sort of got lost amidst the cheese. I've never heard of free unlimited veggies. I doubt that since they have a price for a veggie burger, so obviously they're pricing something.

    Screamin' Mama,
    Aww. Well, poutine fries are pretty hard to come by here.

    Canine Cologne,
    Grilled onions all the way for me. I can't handle them raw. I know a lot of people don't, but I actually like their fries. :P

    Oooh, grilled peppers. I think next time, I'm gonna ask for extra peppers. I like it spicy.

    Haha. There's a new place here called Umami Burger and every time I see the name pop up, I think they should marinate the ground beef with nuoc mam. That's the original umami, right?

  31. Being a former employee of In N Out, I'd have to say I've seen people order grilled cheese and also vege burger (I don't personally get that....). Animal style was the most common one, but I remembered peeling the larger leaves of the lettuce for the protein style. Right now, I could use a 3x3 or something, animal style right now! :)

  32. Danny,
    I don't get that either. The veggie and grilled cheese burgers are almost as expensive as adding meat. And you do not still have a craving after your monstrous dinner!

  33. Factory Junkie,
    Whole grilled onions and chili peppers. Yippee!!


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