In a move that should be dubbed the most honest marketing campaign in fast food history, San Diego-based burger chain Jack in the Box is simultaneously promoting the return of four boxed combo meals and admitting that a good portion of their late-night customers are so stoned that consuming such an enormous amount of food late at night sounds like a great idea.
The four "Munchie Meals"—a name that can't possibly be an innocent mistake—initially debuted around this time last year. The combos share a few commonalities: they're all over 1500 calories, only available between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., and cost $6—a fact that seems crazy given that in addition to the main entree, you also get two tacos, "halfsies" (half regular fries, half curly fries) and a 20oz. fountain drink.
Options include the stacked grilled cheese munchie burger combo (pictured above) which includes a partial fatty melt, i.e.: a burger with a grilled cheese sandwich standing in for the top bun. At 1679 calories (not including the soda), 97 grams of fat, and 3538 mg of sodium, it's worse for you than eating three Big Macs, back-to-back.
There's also the brunch burger combo, which features a bacon cheeseburger topped with an egg, mayo, and a deep-fried hash brown, served on a croissant-style bun. At a whopping 1708 calories, 106 grams of fat, and 2993 mg of sodium it's one of the worst offenders.
The loaded chicken nugget combo isn't much better. At 1592 calories, 102 grams of fat, and 3593 mg of sodium, the deep-fried nuggets doused with cheese, Ranch dressing, and bacon are really quite enough without the two hard shell tacos and the side of curly and regular fries.
I was most intrigued by the "Exploding Cheesy Chicken Munchie Meal", a fried chicken sandwich topped with mozzarella cheese sticks and gooey white cheese sauce...not because it's any less horrific (at 1594 calories, 92 grams of fat, and 3139 mg of sodium it's still atrocious), but only because fried chicken plus fried cheese sticks sounds like it might actually be good. Unfortunately, according to a GrubGrade review from last year, the trifecta of crispy chicken, mozzarella cheese sticks, and white cheese sauce is described as a "confetti of flavor awfulness exploding in my taste piñata", so I think I'll pass.
Those prone to the late night "munchies" may be a great target market, but I think Jack missed an opportunity by focusing on quantity, not quality. With their "buck & under" menu, Del Taco already owns the stingy stoner market anyway.
What do you think about Jack's Munchie Meals? Let us know in the comments section.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax