[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

What do you remember about your first time? Did it sufficiently rock your world? Was it all fireworks and dancing unicorns and everything you dreamed it would be? What would you go back and change if you could? What smooth moves that you know now do you wish you'd had at the ready back then? What advice would you give a wide-eyed, nervous newbie right before his impending date with destiny?

Yeah, I'm pretty nervous about my first time at In-N-Out.

Wait, what did you think we were talking about???

I'll be heading to Texas for the Memorial Day Weekend, and in the past, that has meant a burger run to some obscure restaurant that I've read about in Hamburger America or seen on TV or found referenced in some weird online carnivore chatroom. Now that the burger barons of Baldwin Park have set up shop in the Lone Star State, I know exactly where I'm headed. But I don't know what I'm getting.

I mean, I have an idea. Thanks to Kenji's epic everything-on-the-secret-menu experiment, I think I have my maiden order gameplanned out. But it occurred to me that I also have legions of experienced veterans who can weigh in here. I know many of you think In-N-Out is waaaay overhyped. And many of you think we at Serious Eats give it waaaay too much love as it is. But face it, it is a Mount Rushmore-kind of hamburger institution, and I am a professional hamburger eater. So this is kind of a big deal. And I want to make sure that I don't royally screw up the only "first time" I'll ever get.

So, AHT Nation, what should an In-N-Out rookie order? Do I play it by the book, or go all Animal-Style with the not-so-secret menu? I look forward to your recommendations.

About the Author: Todd Brock lives the glamorous life of a stay-at-home freelance writer in the suburbs of Atlanta. Besides being paid to eat cheeseburgers for AHT and pizzas for Slice, he's written and produced over 1,000 hours of television and penned Building Chicken Coops for Dummies. When he grows up, he wants to be either the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys or the drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish. Or both.


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