Tag Archives: Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Burger and Hot Mess Wedges

Jack in the Box Hot Mess BurgerOut of all the fast food marketing currently out there, I’ve always enjoyed Jack in the Box’s the most. I feel like Jack, the walking, talking antenna ball head, should be creepy, but unlike the King, he’s not. He’s personable! And he even makes some commercials that are actually funny. That’s no small feat.

When I saw the commercial for Jack’s new Hot Mess Burger, which aired during the Super Bowl, I instantly liked it. Jack in a hair band named “Meat Riot”? Sounds like something I would make up. Naming your burger after your fake one-hit wonder “Hot Mess”? Giving your burger a derogatory name shows that you can laugh at yourself, and I appreciate that.

After showing the lovingly mocking 1989 music video, the commercial cuts to Jack and his son watching the video. Jack says to Jack Jr., “And that’s how I met your mother.” Imagining Jack and his giant ball head bangin’ some Meat Riot groupie on the tour bus is an image I’m working really hard to keep out of my mind, but it is the perfect ending to the commercial.

What really makes me love the Hot Mess marketing campaign, however, is its website. Seriously. Just click it, even though I’m going to describe it in detail anyways.

It’s cute that you can download the song, and the lyrics, etc., but my very favoritest part is the “Legendary Moves” section. There are four animated .gifs to click on, but what I care about are the names of the moves: “Sourdough Slap”, “Jalapeño Hammer”, “Onion Slicer”, and the one I fell in love with and actually laughed out loud at, “Spicy Spasm”.

I swear to god, this is all stuff my friends and I would come up with whilst sitting around shooting the shit. And I don’t even smoke weed.

It’s hard to make fun of something that’s already making fun of itself, but I will go for the low-hanging fruit and quip that “Spicy Spasm” sounds like something that happens to your colon after eating a Hot Mess Burger. Alternatively, I think I did the Spicy Spasm once when I accidentally inhaled some Tapatio sauce. Don’t ask.

The “Meat Riot Memories” gallery section also has some gems, my instant favorite being Jack rocking out on top of a volcano while lightning shoots from the sky and a dragon and a gargoyle do a little animated .gif dance. There’s a sick part of me that wants to tattoo this upon my person. Thank god I really don’t smoke weed. My decision-making skills are obviously poor enough as it is.

The last little funny part of this promo site is a section entitled “It Still Exists: MYSPACE”, with a button that will, indeed, take you to Meat Riot’s myspace page.

It’s all brilliant.

But what about the burger, you say? Fuck you, forget the burger. 5 out of 5 on the Hot Mess marketing campaign. End of review.

…Okay, fine. I’ll tell you about the damn burger.

Hot Mess Burger

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Burger

The promo picture for the Hot Mess Burger deserves a two-page spread in Food Porn Magazine, but we all know promo pics are a far cry from the real thing. I still found mine enticing, though.

Jack describes the Hot Mess as “Beef patty seasoned with salt and pepper topped with mayo-onion sauce, melted white cheddar and pepper jack cheese, fried onion rings and sliced jalapenos on sourdough bread.”

I love Jack in the Box’s sourdough buns. They always look toasted, but are usually just greasy and buttery. Some might consider this a minus, but I love them. The bun on my Hot Mess burger did not fail to live up to these rather low expectations.

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Burger Inside

If I was meant to take the words “Hot” and “Mess” literally, I would definitely credit Jack in the Box for getting the second word right. The sauce complimented the melted cheeses nicely, and boy was there a lot of melted cheese. It seems almost impossibly melted, like some cheese slice/sauce hybrid. It will get on your hands. It will possibly get on your shirt. And it was the shining star of the Hot Mess Burger. There’s not much heat from the pepper jack, but it was still a gooey delight.

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Burger Inside Close-Up

As you can see, the onion rings and jalapeño slices were present, as promised. They positioned the rings well, since I got a piece in almost every bite. Unfortunately, the crunchiness that should be present in a fried onion ring didn’t stand a chance against the sauce and melted cheese, so while it did add a nice fried flavor, the texture wasn’t really there.

The onion string inside also added some nice flavor, although I had some problems preventing the entire string from sliding out upon my first bite, which is a component of onion rings I’ve always found annoying.

The “Hot” part is mainly supposed to come from the jalapeños. When I got one in a bite, it did add some pleasant heat and even a little crunch. The key problem here is the word “when”. As you can see, my burger had four jalapeño slices. This is most definitely not enough.

I really liked the Hot Mess Burger – enough to order it again, even. There were some flaws – mainly the sogginess of the onion rings and the lack of jalapeño slice coverage – but the messy, gooey cheese and the sourdough bun worked so well with the burger itself that even the bites that weren’t spicy were still satisfying. I’m glad that I enjoyed this burger so much, because making a “hot mess” joke about the Hot Mess Burger would be a horrible thing to have to do.

Hot Mess Wedges

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Wedges

Reviewing Hot Mess Wedges is kind of an afterthought; I ordered them because I’ve always liked Jack’s Cheddar Bacon Potato Wedges, so I figured, why not?

Jack describes them as “Potato wedges topped with a melted white cheddar and pepperjack cheese sauce and sliced jalapeños.”

Notably, they use the phrase “cheese sauce” here. Since the cheese on my wedges was pretty identical to the cheese on my burger, I’m now wondering if my mouth (and my napkins) were right – is it a cheese sauce, or melted cheese? It is a delicious, gooey mystery.

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Wedges Close-Up

Hot Mess Wedges suffer some of the same faults as the burger, and a problem all too common with Jack’s Wedges – three or four of the wedges are absolutely coated in cheese, and the rest remain sadly dry, although still crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. There were also exactly three jalapeños to cover at least a dozen wedges, which just doesn’t cut it.

Instead of spreading the sauce love thin, I’ve come to enjoy Jack’s saturated wedges on their own and then dipping the dry ones in some ranch dressing or mustard. This is obviously not ideal, since an order of Hot Mess Wedges should be able to hold their own, especially if you’re going to be eating them somewhere where extra condiments aren’t an option.

The best parts of Hot Mess Wedges are pretty much the best parts of the Hot Mess Burger – gooey sauce and crunchy, hot jalapeño slices. Like the burger, they suffer a severe jalapeño shortage; unlike the burger, however, the Wedges suffer a serious lack of cheese distribution. Maybe if I ordered some Hot Mess Wedges with double the toppings next time, they’d be more worthwhile. But also more expensive.

Despite its flaws, I very much enjoyed the Hot Mess Burger. The combination of buttery sourdough, excessive amounts of melty cheese, onions, and jalapeños all combined to make a tasty, messy burger. I would have liked to have seen more come from the onion rings as well as the jalapeños, but that crazy cheese was what really got me.

As for the Hot Mess Wedges, they suffered from a severe lack of topping distribution, which is not uncommon for Jack in the Box Wedges. The toppings that were there were just as tasty on the wedges as they were on the burger, but I’d probably opt out on them next time around.

The real winner here, however, is the Hot Mess marketing campaign. I’m scoring the food, of course, but the mythos surrounding the burger is a definite 5 out of 5. Jack in the Box’s ability to make fun of itself and create an extensive and well-crafted marketing campaign is a skill that I wish other fast food corporations would pick up. I’d like to give them all a Sourdough Slap.

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Burger

  • Score: 4 out of 5 …What else? SPICY SPASMS
  • Price: $4.29
  • Size: 1 burger
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #1165
  • Nutritional Quirks: Get your daily recommended intake of saturated fat all in one burger!

Jack in the Box Hot Mess Wedges

  • Score: 3 out of 5 Sadly absent Jalapeño Hammers
  • Price: $2.69
  • Size: 1 box
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #1165
  • Nutritional Quirks: 44 delicious grams of fat from one innocent box of potato wedges.

Man Reviews Food and The Impulsive Buy also got messy with the Hot Mess Burger.

Jack in the Box Bacon Shake

I’m sure we can all agree that this bacon thing has gotten out of control. Bacon has become an Internet meme, putting it right up there with cat breading. Don’t know what cat breading is? Look it up. You won’t thank me.

What does this have to do with absolutely goddamn anything? Jack in the Box has a new BLT Cheeseburger. That’s fucking boring. You know what other companies call that? A bacon cheeseburger with toppings. However, there’s more to this story. So much more.

Jack in the Box has made a special website encouraging you to marry bacon. I know some gay couples who might believe Jack has his priorities a little out of order, but we’ll leave that hot button topic alone.

Political portion of this post now over, let’s take a look at this website. First off, there’s a video of a man marrying a BLT Cheeseburger, ending with the line, “You may now eat the bride.” There are jokes here ranging from generically unsettling to just plain crass, so I’ll let you choose which way you want to go on that one.

There’s also a section of bacon-related .gifs called “Wedding Gifts” with the “t” crossed out (get it? GET IT?!) and a Tumblr site, both containing items either boring or disturbing, the latter being a .gif of a woman eating a piece of bacon and then presumably devouring the face of the man next to her like a praying mantis that has just copulated.

Impossibly, things get even more disturbing with the “Make a Bacon Baby!” feature. You get a pretty clear idea of what this entails with the picture on the website, which looks like a female version of the Elephant Man’s face if she’d also been in a terrible fire and then had her head stuck on the body of a baby.

As if this weren’t horrible enough, Jack gives you the opportunity to make your own Bacon Baby. I’ve written seven paragraphs without mentioning what I’m actually reviewing, but since the title of the post is a jerk and always gives it away, you already know that all of this is really about Jack in the Box’s Bacon Shake.

I’ve had a previous experience with a bacon-flavored beverage, namely Jones Bacon Soda. To this day, it ranks #1 on the list of most horrible things I’ve ingested for Junk Food Betty, and quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. And I have made some serious mistakes with expiration dates.

I knew right away who would be my Bacon Baby: Jones Bacon Soda Creepy Pig-Nose Girl.

Appropriately terrifying.

The Bacon Shake itself looked surprisingly innocent, a light pink color with whipped cream and a cherry on top. One could walk around with it and no one would know you’re holding a complete abomination. Not even any bacon sprinkles on top. Although now that I think about it, it does mimic the skin tone of a pig pretty accurately. Ugh.

It actually took a little sucking up to, well, suck it up. I stood in my kitchen, taking deep breaths, while flashbacks of the Jones Bacon Soda experience ran through my head like I was a Vietnam vet on the 4th of July. It occurred to me that I have food PTSD. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.

I finally got up the nerve and took the plunge. The first few sips through my straw were not unpleasant; the shake was thick and creamy, a little bit less sweet than your usual shake. As I got further in, however, the porcine flavor started to come through. It was like tasting a pork belly that had been smoked to preserve it on a olde tyme boat making a venture to the New World, but made more subtle, and then mixed with vanilla ice cream. A little smoky, a little bacon-y, but not overwhelming and not very salty.

I didn’t throw up, so that’s always a plus.

Honestly, the Bacon Shake was not the horrorshow I thought it would be. The smoky bacon flavor is subdued enough that it almost works with the vanilla flavor of the shake. Almost. The shake isn’t made with actual pig; Jack in the Box uses Torani Bacon Syrup to flavor it, which is scary in and of itself, because Torani syrups are the flavors you’ll often see behind the counter at your local coffee shop, which means…well, we can all see the terrible possibilities there.

The worst part of the Bacon Shake was that it had a lingering ham flavor that stuck in my mouth long after I’d finished dumping most of it down the drain. A lingering ham mixed with ice cream flavor. I did not appreciate it.

Jack in the Box’s Bacon Shake didn’t give me PTSD, but it did make me rinse my mouth out afterwards, and I can think of about 700 other flavors I’d like in a shake besides bacon. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, bacon does not belong in everything, and I can now put milkshakes in that category. At the very least, I can say that the smoky flavor was subtle enough that it wasn’t completely discordant with the ice cream. Hell, if you like the combination of smoky, sweet and hammy, you may even enjoy the Bacon Shake. You may also have a bad palate.

Jack in the Box Bacon Shake

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 Creepy Pig-Nose Girl Bacon Babies
  • Price: $2.79
  • Size: Regular (16 oz.) cup
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #161
  • Nutritional Quirks: Bacon syrup. It exists. Enough said.

The Impulsive Buy also reviewed the Bacon Shake, unfortunately for them.

Jack in the Box Chorizo Cheesy Fries

Jack in the Box revamped their french fries last year, which I reviewed over at The Impulsive Buy. I gave them a 7 out of 10, which some people objected to, but I don’t even remember what they tasted like. People have strong opinions about fries, and they really want you to know those opinions. Fair enough. The point here is not that I possibly suck at judging fries, the point is that Jack in the Box has now put stuff on their fries. Namely, cheese sauce and chorizo. Chorizo! I do not believe I have ever seen a fast food restaurant that had anything with chorizo on or in it before. Kudos to Jack. In the competitive world of fast food one-upmanship, it’s hard to find something unique.

There are Cheesy Fries and Chorizo Cheesy Fries available on the menu. I chose the latter because I figured I could tackle two birds with one stone. Interestingly, I’ve seen very little media coverage about these. No commercials, no emails…there’s no promo on JitB’s website, but the Cheesy Fries are in the menu section. No chorizo to be seen. The only real advertising I’ve seen is a big poster in the window of the restaurant itself. Just seems…odd.

Anyway. I love chorizo. I love chorizo even though it gives me terrible heartburn, every time. It’s an abusive relationship, but chorizo always tells me baby, I’m sorry, it won’t happen again. In the back of my mind I don’t believe it, but I can’t quit chorizo. So I was pretty excited to try these fries.

My husband was with me when I ordered the Chorizo Cheesy Fries, so he got an order, too. I opened mine up and was greeted with a sad box of fries with barely any chorizo on it. The other box fared a little better, so he made the ultimate sacrifice and let me have his box to photograph and eat. He’s an honorable, courageous man. I’m organizing a 5k in his honor.

Even with the switch, there wasn’t as much chorizo or cheese sauce as I would have liked. It may look like a fair amount in the picture, but it really wasn’t. Look at all those naked outliers. I want my fries smothered and covered, and these fries were like, wearing a towel around their waists. Terrible analogy that I will not continue.

I know this picture looks disgusting. I know a lot of pictures I take of fast food look disgusting. But this one has an actual defense in that chorizo always kind of looks like a dog barfed up a bowl of chili. Don’t judge a book by its cover, people. Chorizo has a really great personality and a great sense of humor. Your blind date with it will go fantastic, I’m just sure of it.

I was surprised by how authentic the chorizo tasted. I guess I’ve kind of gotten used to fast food that kind of tastes like real food. Taco Bell’s ground beef kind of tastes like ground beef. McDonald’s chicken nuggets kind of taste like real chicken. But this chorizo actually tasted like chorizo, with that delightful spicy sausage flavor. It was a pleasant surprise. It was also greasy as hell, but that’s just the way chorizo is. And I wonder why I get heartburn.

Unfortunately, since there was so little cheese sauce and chorizo has a very strong flavor, the cheese sauce basically disappeared. That made me sad, because I really like JitB’s Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges, and I assume they used the same cheese sauce on these fries as they do on the wedges. Granted, the cheese sauce on the wedges isn’t super flavorful, but they always pile it on and for some reason I really like it.

Overall, I enjoyed Jack in the Box’s Chorizo Cheesy Fries. The fries were soggy, but that’s to be expected, and that’s why you get a fork. It was also really salty, but I dig that. It’s the perfect drunk food, but I think I’ve established that I don’t have to be drunk to enjoy that particular niche of edibles. I think if I get them again, I’ll request double cheese and double chorizo, so that I can get the proper smothering (and extra heartburn) I was looking for. Hopefully, with a double cheese sauce, it will become a bigger player. The strong and authentic flavor of the chorizo helped me feel less sad about all those naked fries. I think Jack has the formula right, but the application wrong. A simple portion fix would really elevate Chorizo Cheesy Fries to the next level.

(Note: The Impulsive Buy also reviewed these fries AND the Cheesy Fries.)

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 swigs of Mylanta
  • Price: $1.99
  • Size: 1 box
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #196
  • Nutritional Quirks: Since Chorizo Cheesy Fries aren’t on Jack’s website, I looked at the Cheesy Fries. With them already at 1,145 milligrams of sodium, I can’t imagine what the chorizo would bring to the salt party. Have water nearby!

Junk Food Freebie: Jack in the Box French Fries

Jack in the Box French Fries

Today, Friday, April 16, 2010, you can go to Jack in the box and get a free small fry!  It’s Free fry Fryday!  GET IT?  I knew you would.

Why the random free fry giveaway, besides the obvious opportunity for what I would call a low-level pun?  Apparently JitB has gone and modified, they might say “improved”, their fry recipe.  I haven’t had JitB fries in quite a while, but I seem to remember them being pretty good, so I’m interested in what “improvements” have been made.  Don’t fuck it up, JitB.

You can watch the commercial right on their website.  It has a puppy in it!  Jack is smart.  He knows nobody can resist puppies.

So go get your fry on today.  Fryday.  And let me know what you think about Jack’s new fries!

Junk Food Freebie: Two Free Tacos from Jack in the Box

All day tomorrow, you can bring in the coupon pictured below and get yourself not one, but two free tacos, no questions asked!  You can print the coupon out from here.  I wouldn’t advise printing it straight from this blog, as it’s a little smaller on here than the real one is, and wouldn’t you be sad if they wouldn’t give you any tacos because your coupon was the wrong size.  You would be heartbroken.  You could try crying, but if the cashiers at Jack in the Box are anything like the cop that pulled me over today, that’s not going to work.  So print that coupon and have yourself a free lunch tom0rrow!

JitB 2 Free Tacos

Jack in the Box Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich

JitBMiniBuffaloStackAmongst the junk mail that arrived in my mailbox recently was a coupon for buy one order, get one free for Jack in the Box’s Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches.  Free, you say?  Buffalo sauce and ranch, you say?  Don’t mind if I do, Jack.

I’m glad I hadn’t seen the commercial for these sandwiches, because if I had, I might have thought differently.  You can view it on YouTube here.  The song alone is supremely annoying, even compared to your average commercial jingle.  I mean, it’s no freecreditreport.com, but I still wanted to strangle the woman singing it.  Lucky for her, I was soon distracted by the image of Jack dancing with cowboy midgets.  Just to reiterate that point, the Jack in the Box ball-head guy was dancing with some midgets dressed up as cowboys.

I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know where this is headed.

Before my brain starts melting out of my ears from thinking about that for too long, let’s move on to the sandwiches. One order contains three sandwiches, because, as the name of the sandwich proclaims, they are miniature.  This is not the first time Jack in the Box has gone tiny-sized – they also have Mini Sirloin Burgers.  Their commercial, my research shows, also contains midget cowboys, but we’re just going to leave that one alone.

I have a beef, pardon the pun, with the recent trend of fast food restaurants miniaturizing their burgers.  You can call them mini burgers, you can call them “Burger Shots” like Burger King does, but let’s face it – they’re Sliders.  Or Slyders, or whatever the hell.  White Castle introduced Slyders over 70 years ago, and for a long time, that was the only small hamburger most people knew about.  I live on the west coast, so I’ve never been to a White Castle, but I know people on the east coast, who say that you go to White Castle a.) because you are drunk and crave bad, greasy food, or b.) because you are hungover and crave bad, greasy food.  From what I have been told, there are usually regrets later on in the day.

It seems like recently, Slyders have become popular amongst the hip crowd.  Much like how it’s now cool to buy a shirt that looks like it’s already seen 100 wash cycles, it is now cool to eat the cheap, greasy burger of the proletariat.  Other fast food chains have noticed this, and probably thought, “Hey!  We can make small burgers, too!  Look at us, hipster college kids, we have Slid- I mean, mini burgers!”  I’m surprised they aren’t rushing out to get licensed to sell beer so that they can make a Pabst Blue Ribbon/mini burger combo meal.  Their stores would be flooded with moppy-headed guys wearing girl jeans.

So I suppose you could sum up my problem with the influx of mini burgers by imagining an old woman shouting at the kids to get off my lawn.  I guess I’m just too old to appreciate national chains pandering to the trends of a younger generation, and I don’t see the point in eating a bunch of smaller burgers when one larger burger would suffice.

But what about the food?  The wha?  Ohhh, the food!  Right.


Well, they don’t exactly look like the fluffy little guys in Jack in the Box’s official picture up at the top there, but that’s pretty much to be expected.  Let’s check out the innards.


I see chicken, red sauce, and white stuff, so that’s promising, right?  The lettuce looks a little sad and sparse, which is confirmed upon taking a bite.  I was hoping the lettuce would produce a nice, crunchy foil to the texture of the chicken and the softness of the bun, but that didn’t really happen.  The chicken is acceptable; it sort of falls in the middle of the spectrum between the disturbing flavor of a chicken nugget and an authentic, breaded chicken breast.

The sauces are what I was hoping would be the real stars of the show.  The buffalo sauce is actually Frank’s RedHot, which calls itself a hot cayenne pepper sauce, but does taste almost exactly like buffalo sauce.  I definitely got a hint of it as I ate the sandwich – I would have preferred a stronger presence, but I’m a saucemonger, and I’m assuming Jack’s testing determined that most people don’t want a wave of buffalo sauce flooding their mouth upon every bite.  The ranch manages to be even more elusive.  For those who know nothing about American bar food, ranch is traditionally served with buffalo wings, as a dip, to foil the heat of the sauce, which is why ranch is such a natural addition to this sandwich.  I can detect a hint of tangy ranch flavor, but it gets a little overwhelmed by the flavors of the buffalo sauce and the chicken.  They probably could have gotten away with omitting the ranch altogether, seeing as how there’s not really enough buffalo sauce to require something to quench the heat, but the occasional tang is a nice little addition.

I could only put down two of the three sandwiches, but I have the small appetite of a dainty, proper lady, so three is probably just the right number for most people.  Overall, I was underwhelmed, but at the same time, hadn’t really expected to be blown away in the first place.  The chicken is decent, the lettuce is sad, and the sauces are subtle, but present.  An average sandwich from a national fast food chain – what more can you expect?  If you’re in a hurry and crave a little buffalo, then give them a try – at least until a regular-sized version comes out, in which case, fuck mini sandwiches.  Also keep in mind that they work out to over a buck a sandwich, and you can get a larger chicken sandwich for less off the value menu.   If you’ve got a little time on your hands, this would be a pretty easy sandwich to assemble at home, and it would probably be a lot more flavorful.

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 hamburgers for the sandwich; 4 out of 5 Internet horrors for the commercial
  • Price: $3.89
  • Size: 3 mini sandwiches
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box
  • Nutritional Quirks: Nothing too quirky here; just as unhealthy as you would expect a fast food chicken sandwich to be.