Does In-N-Out Actually Suck? An Investigation


This week, friend-of-Uproxx and leader of the SoCal food cognoscenti Gustavo Arellano set the internet aflame when he wrote — in a California-endemic magazine, no less — that In-N-Out, the fast food girlfriend of every dude to ever have a soul patch, was overhyped.

Seriously, the article actually became news of its own.


Suddenly, it was as if the levees had been breached and every person on Twitter who had ever fathomed the possibility that a double cheeseburger that costs $3.45 might not somehow be the peak of haute cuisine was like TOLDJA! It was a wild few days and a welcome distraction from… everything.

Naturally, this came up in the Uproxx Life slack room, so we decided to have two writers unpack In-N-Out’s food, to try to come to some consensus. Directly contrary to their beloved editor’s orders, they spent 1000 words insulting one another and only the last 150 talking about flavor. Still, if you read on you’ll get to enjoy some sick burns (with the tiniest bit of discussion about how in the world In-N-Out gets their fries to taste so much like packing material).

As for my take, it’s a tasty burger. Not good enough to buy from the In-N-Out less than a mile from my house, which I have literally never visited. But definitely good enough to get on the way home from the desert — Palm Springs or Vegas or Death Valley — which is exactly what I did literally this past weekend.

— Steve Bramucci, Editorial Director UPROXX Life

Allison’s take: It’s not “so-so,” it’s terrible.

Oh man, that patriot who admitted in and out is bad, should get a medal of honor. Or a Pulitzer or something. Sainthood? The Pope’s been pretty cool, so I feel like he’ll be into it. All I’m saying is: God Bless “Man who gave a hot take about a burger joint on the internet.” God bless him. He. Is. A. Saint.

Anyway, back to in and out — Oh, I’m sorry, Steve. Are you about to edit the “in and out” lower case letters to “In-N-Out”??? WELL then STOP. It was intentional. We earn our capitalization and cutesy spellings around these parts. We command that sort of respect by being delicious. And in and out has not earned that distinction. You’re not Dunkin’ Donuts, in and out. And you. Never. F**king. Will. Be.

Look, let’s start with the obvious. I don’t like mustard. I admit it. I think it’s disgusting and in n out grills their burgers with it. I also dislike mayonnaise (animal style is thousand island dressing which is basically that) and I cannot tell you how much I hate pickles. Eating a pickle is my idea of Hell. Eating a pickle slathered in a mayo-sauce glopped atop a mustard patty?

Jesus, if I have to do that, I’m taking you all with me. And it will be painful.

Here’s the thing, I am baffled by the In-N-Out love. The fries are objectively terrible. And fries are a really easy thing to make delicious. Just make them curly, like my hair (which is also delicious, probably…if you like eating hair). The buns aren’t of good bread, and the actual burgers must be smothered in sauce and onions to be made even tolerable.

And are the shakes good? Sure. They’re FINE. But not remarkable.

In-N-Out is the Mount Rushmore of fast foods. It’s talked about a whole lot, people say you have to get there, but then when you arrive you’re like, OMG, this is it? This is what I traveled thousands of miles for??? And waited in a line? This isn’t good. It’s not even mediocre. And actually, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s kind of offensive. I have wasted a part of my life that I’ll never go back on this. And finally — Oh god, Oh god. Why is there so much mustard?

So, to wrap up, In-N-Out is bad. Here are some images of a work fight I got in today about this subject, but like….I’m right. I’m always right. You can set up a go fund for me and fake pretend I’m a homeless man who gave you free advice when your car broke down at In-N-Out if you want to reward my rightness. I’m into it. Give me my 400 thousand dollars. Money, please!

A beautiful soul who tries to help people
Monster. But also, accurate.
Again, angel.
I mean. Again, Accurate. And honestly? Fair?

Dane’s Take: Allison is insane and In-N-Out is delicious.

First of all, excuse me Allison — who or what is a Dunkin’ Donuts? You’re living in the past, kid. Don’t you know it’s just Dunkin’ now?

The number of rambling asides and details about your own mustard proclivities reveal that there’s no meat to your argument. Nothing animal style about it, so to speak. Is that mean? Well you insulted the establishment that opened my eyes to the wonder of cheeseburgers, and I won’t have it.

It’s sooooooooooo cool to hate on In-N-Out now. What next? Are you going to tell me the Beatles are overrated? Take that hipster-contrarian shit out of here. Gustavo Arellano beat you to it. But sorry Allison and Gustavo and all you other haters, people who already love In-N-Out don’t care what you think. You will never find a more intense brand of fast food loyalists anywhere. In fact, as I write this, we’re all at In-N-Out together — celebrating the fact that we can get the super exclusive and cool secret menu items without having to wait for you nerds to stumble through an order.

You’re going to tell me the late great Anthony Bourdain was wrong? On Uproxx? Please.

Also, I’m not entirely convinced you’ve eaten at In-N-Out, Allison. I too despise mustard, but only the Animal Style burgers are grilled with mustard. You’d know that if you ever actually ordered an In-N-Out cheeseburger. I’ve certainly never seen you eat one. Has anyone?

Some people will tell you that Animal Style is a must at In-N-Out; that the perfect In-N-Out experience includes chopped chilis and grilled onions atop two mustard-grilled patties and two slices of perfectly melted American cheese. And you know what you should do about those people, Allison? You should listen to them, instead of trying to force us to eat your hair.

By the way, I order my Double Double with lettuce and cheese only. Why? Because In-N-Out is THAT good. I don’t need spread, the burgers are so damn juicy that lettuce and cheese suffice. And let us talk about that lettuce by the way. What burger chain has better lettuce? Most of the time you’re given a single leaf, it’s insulting. In-N-Out don’t play that game, they ball that crisp green lettuce up and shove it in the burger. And excuse me, did you say the buns aren’t of “good bread?” Old-fashioned slow-rising sponge dough suddenly isn’t good bread? Everyone make way for the queen of artisinal cracked wheat!

I’ll give you that the fries suck, I will not die on that hill of freshly peeled and prepared potatoes fried in a cholesterol-free oil — which also come in Animal Style, by the way, without mustard! You know who has worse fries though? Shake Shack. They’re frozen. The only thing frozen at In-N-Out are the milkshakes. And your heart if you ever deign to enter the premises, because I think you might be dead. It would explain why your taste buds don’t work.

Is it the best burger in the country? No. Will it measure up to the impossible hype set upon it by food writers across the internet? Never. But at the end of the day, it’s a delicious burger that far eclipses the competition. Did I mention how they pay their workers a fair wage and implement sustainable beef practices? I don’t need to, but I will.

Conclusion: Eat whatever you want.

Oh, you thought we’d find common ground on this? Never. The debate rages on.