In-N-Out. Revisited.

December 13, 2020
In-N-Out Montage

The Vitals:
the spot: In-N-Out Burger tested in Austin TX + locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and soon Idaho
the eats: The “Ali” (unofficial name)
the bucks: approx $6
the full nelson: the ultimate internet burger hack

My first In-N-Out burger experience was . . . underwhelming. Like many, I didn’t get the hype. Being reared in the Midwest off Steak ‘n Shake in the 90s, thin stackable griddled patties were not a new phenomenon to me. I thought the meat was lacking compared to a my go to triple Steakburger from Steak ‘n Shake.

But time marches on. Gold standards falter. And nostalgia evolves as does life. In no small part due to the secret menu and reddit, I have to say that now In-N-Out is my favorite drive thru burger, which in Covid-19 times takes on whole new meaning. But you gotta order it right. Years past I wrote about a number of ways one can navigate the secret menu at In-N-Out. Well now it’s 2020 and I have a new move at In-N-Out. You gotta order “the Ali”.

Yes . . . I have an unofficial named burger at In-N-Out. And when you test drive this triple burger with a double hit of cheese and a bevy of toppings . . . you too will become part of the In-N-Out indoctrinated.

In-N-Out double double with Ali toppings

In-N-Out’s best attribute is actually dangerously misleading. Read the menu and you would think the burger maxes out with the above: a double double animal style. While it’s good to keep the focus on burgers, it’s awesome to have options to make your burger customizable.

Enter, the secret menu. After that, you need to focus on personal palate responsibility. Do you crave a big fat messy burger? Add more meat, cheese and toppings. Crave simplicity? Try the cheeseburger with only ketchup, pickle and grilled onions. For the record, that’s the cheeseburger that should be in the Happy Meal.

In-N-Out the Ali 5

Me? I like a burger you need two hands to eat. I like ratio of meat to bun to toppings that favors the meat. And I freaking love Thousand Island. Real talk: In-N-Out has the best pink sauce in the game.

In-N-Out the Ali 3

This is the “Ali” out of the wrapper. A 3×2 which is three burger patties and two slices of cheese. I got it “Animal style” which means mustard is smeared on the patties while it cooks, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions and extra spread. But that’s not the whole story.

In-N-Out the Ali 4

The Ali with a 90 degree turn will reveal more. I ordered the lettuce “light” and all credit for that is due to reddit. One grievance I have with In-N-Out is not that they use Iceberg lettuce, but that they will include the stem. Yes, that bland fibrous cousin to celery does not need to be on my burger or any burger for that matter.

Also included in here is raw onion, in addition to the grilled onion. This is critical. I’ve said in the past that “the onion is the truffle of the poor“. Folks, onions define the beefy flavor at In-N-Out.

In-N-Out the Ali 1

And now, the backside.

In addition to the aforementioned, I also added chopped chilis to my In-N-Out burger. Also a credit to reddit, the addition of In-N-Out’s pickled Cascabella peppers is clutch. I know when life long Los Angelenos were hitting me up declaring “I’ve been doing it wrong my whole life” that I struck a nerve. Cascabella peppers are similar to banana peppers and pepperocinis but I find they pack more heat.

Oh, in case you were wondering, this is the side you want to start with. Take that wrapper off and go to town on the side soaked with all that burger goodness. And for God’s sake, ask for extra napkins.

In-N-Out Animal fries

The same principle for the “Ali” work on the fries too. Yeah, the fries at In-N-Out aren’t great but the animal fries are pretty tasty. That being said, I rarely order them because it’s overkill at it’s finest. I’d like to see my kid grow up.

In-N-Out the Ali 2

At the end of the day, this is the burger that has made eat In-N-Out more than ever before. I love burgers with thick patties cooked medium rare and true smashed burgers beat In-N-Out patties all day. I could even make the case that Shake Shack makes a better quality burger.

But In-N-Out is a better burger experience. Cheap, fast and ultimately a reminder that a great hamburger is the sum of its parts. The toppings are just a wee bit more important to the beef. And for the record, this works with 2 or 4 patties though the latter requires the mandibles of a UFC heavyweight.

In-N-Out the Ali 6

For those in the know, add this to your In-N-Out repertoire. And for the In-N-Out haters, consider this burger before your next diss. At around $6, you got nothing to lose.

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8 responses to “In-N-Out. Revisited.”

  1. Me says:

    I was born and raised and still live in SoCal. I’ve got to try one of these Midwestern burgers one day though. I’ve never been to Steak N’ Shake.

    • blackbookali says:

      Sadly its not what it used to be. As far as chains go, Id try Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers and Shake Shack which is based on the Midwest style. The independent operations are truly the holy grail. Check out Carl’s Drive In – one of my posts here.

  2. […] to Texas, the love affair for Whataburger has truly escaped me. Especially because it comes with an In-N-Out bashing. Whataburger is decidedly inferior to In-N-Out which is more a reflection of […]

  3. Martin J Hebda says:

    Have you tried Mighty Fine ? They have a good Burger.

  4. […] a hip Austin bar and chucked it after four bites. I’m a big fan of In-N-Out for overall value(especially my custom order), but my last one was sloppily executed. It’s getting to a point where I have to spend $10 in […]

  5. Mark Colin says:

    I love in CA but travel back to the Midwest a lot and overall prefer Culver’s double deluxe to In n out double double. This is a large sample size. Haven’t tried Ali’s hacks (I will ASAP). but for about a dollar more the Culver’s superior meat cheese and bun make a consistently superior burger vs a double double.

  6. […] I’ve discovered that the perfect chunk is the half the place the burger was wrapped. Actually, my In-N-Out burger hack advocates for unwrapping the burger and taking your first chunk from the wrapped finish, the place […]

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