Thursday, January 22, 2009

In Praise of Animal Style

Oh, Animal Style. Why do you have to be so damned irresistible?

Since I discovered this eighth wonder of the burger world just a few weeks ago, I've been counting off the days until it's "acceptable" to go to In N Out again - and going, again and again. I've settled on once a week - with the big compromise that I don't order fries. Just the burger and a diet coke. Since there are about as many calories in the fries as in the burger, (believe it or not - 400) it actually isn't such a bad deal.

For those of you who have yet to discover this delicious invention - ordering your burger Animal Style means the meat is cooked with mustard, and grilled onions, pickles, and extra "spread" are added. It's part of their "secret menu" that includes grilled cheese (no meat), any burger "protein style" (wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun), and the "flying dutchman" (two patties and two slices of cheese and nothing else.) They'll also do the fries Animal Style - topped with grilled onions, cheese and the spread. (The regular menu has only three options - the Double Double, a hamburger or a cheeseburger, with fries, shakes and sodas.)

I've always ordered my In N Out burgers (either a single cheese or hamburger, never a double) with ketchup and mustard instead of sauce, and with onion that is cooked in a slice and laid on the meat - so this whole thing was a bit of a shock for me - in terms of how delicious it was. After deciding that I don't like the processed cheese they use - I decided one day to order a Double Meat, Animal Style and add ketchup and mustard. (Normally, it just has the spread.) I was starving that day, so I also added a "well done" fry (the only way to get them crispy) and a Neopolitan shake, which has all 3 flavors in one cup. Freaking. Amazing. The burger has an almost ethnic flavor to it with the sharpness of the pickles, the mustard and the sweet onions - and the double meat (1/4 pound total) adds the right richness to balance it out. Why they don't just make all their burgers this way to start with I couldn't tell you - but once you know what you're missing there's no going back. I tried one the old way last week just to be sure.

At $2.85 for the Double burger, and $1.29 for the soda, the price simply can't be beat. I know it's not exactly healthy - but if you're like me - just manage your meat (and calorie) consumption for the rest of the day, and you'll have no trouble justifying it at all!

For more on the In N Out Secret Menu - check out this guide, complete with photos.

For locations and more information, click here.

Photo via flickr


  1. I always get my burger Animal Style, but I had no (NO!) idea you could get the fries that way.

    That is pure heaven, right there.

  2. Hi Alice - I love this post. It may not be healthy for the body... but boy does it feed the soul!


    I'm so glad you finally discovered it. It also has the bonus of sounding awfully dirty when you order it, so I always snicker.

  4. Hi Alice, I don't know if they charge extra for the Animal Style fries but what always amazes me is that the burger "up grade" is free! Great post.

  5. "Once a Week"! I am quite sure that your husband does not approve of this!

  6. I'm an in-n-out tramp; can't seem to stay faithful to one way of getting it done. Lucky for me, there's no bad way, just different variations of delicious.

  7. This was really well written - and I like that your refined tastes include a good In-n-Out burger! I think my compromise is the opposite - to eat both the fries AND the burger, but only every other week. LOL. But I prefer a hamburger with regular onions, add pickles, not the animal style.

  8. Scott Harrison1/23/09, 3:52 PM

    This is the last thing I would have expected to see in your blog, but that's part of what makes it so delightful.

  9. why did I leave California? I am dying for this burger especially since my mostly non-carnivorous wife never cooks me any meat. She says "cook your own meat" and I am all, and then she is all, and then I get all like, and she is like, and then I get all drunk and sleep in the car or sometimes under the neighbors azaleas. God damn in n out. God damn them to hell.

  10. I love In 'N Out Burger so much! It's the only fast food I frequent. :) But I had not idea I could buy grilled cheese for my vegetarian daughter! I end up with a Triple Triple every time we go.

    PS. I'm warm & fuzzy from Negroni testing, thank you very much, and the party isn't until Sunday! HAHA. wow, :)

  11. YUM, it's 7 am and I'm wondering if it's open yet.

  12. have been coming to your blog since its inception. fabulous. would love for you to check out my burgeoning attempt if you get the chance [].



  13. Did I ever tell you about the time I was at In-n-Out and an older lady ordered her burger "doggie style"? We of course could not stop snickering!

  14. Can I get a big"Rawr" for Animal Style? Truly, the burger that loves you back.

  15. Jora, that is hilarious!

  16. hi alice -
    i just tried the new in-n-out in otay ranch last month and have been there several times since. i'm a new convert! in fact, today, i went there for lunch with a co-worker; had a burger with grilled onions - i liked the grilled rather than the raw.

    i think the fries animal style were a bit too "saucy' and gloppy for me though. they're okay in small quantities, but i couldn't deal with the "aftermath" of eatng all that grease/fat.

    remember the old bumper stickers from the mid 80's?
    IN - N - OUT
    (the 'B' and 'R's were cut off strategically) ha ha!!!

  17. Oh, how I miss that! I didn't eat meat the first several years I lived in California, but always had my grilled cheese animal style. Of course, it's infinitely better with the beef. And now that I only get it once every other year or so, no guilt over getting the whole meal animal style.

  18. The joys of the secret menu, eh? :) I'm not much for animal style, but I am a sucker for well-done fries (double-fried... extremely bad for the waistline) with a Neopolitan shake. Ahhh... like Kirk said, it's good for the soul.