Reality Check: We Try the New Bacon-Loaded 'Superman' Burger from Hardee's & Carl's Jr.

Reality Check

Reviews of fast food burgers and a look at how the real life version compares to the advertised beauty shot.


[This photo: CKE Restaurants; All other burger photos: Todd Brock]

Look! Up on that burger patty! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...a "bacon nest?!?"

Hardee's and Carl's Jr. have announced a tie-in with the upcoming Superman flick Man of Steel, and to commemorate the partnership, the chains have rolled out the Super Bacon Cheese Thickburger at Hardee's and the Super Bacon Cheeseburger at Carl's Jr. (I'm guessing that trademark restrictions prevented them from actually using "Superman" or "Man of Steel" in the name of the burger, so it's a weak tie-in at best.) I won't go as far as the corporate press release, which calls it "epic" and the summer's "must-eat burger," but as fast food offerings go, this one does pack a pretty solid punch.

Warner Bros.' Man of Steel premieres in theaters on June 14. The TV ad starring the movie's own leading man (Henry Cavill) and directed by Zach Snyder, the film's director, is currently flying around.

The tricky thing about a Superman theme is the hero himself. Compared with other caped crusaders, Supes is pretty straightforward. No utility belts, no gadgets or gizmos, no lovable sidekick, no magic ring or invisible jet or enchanted hammer or state-of-the-art weaponized suit that makes him a superhero. It's just him. A man. Only he's more. He's...well, super.

The Super Bacon Cheese Thickburger takes a similarly-restrained approach. Rather than overload the burger with the usual Hardee's/Carl's Jr. zaniness, this is the standard Bacon Cheese Thickburger: your charbroiled patty of the quarter-pound/third-pound/Six Dollar variety, American cheese, mayo, tomato, lettuce, and red onion, plus...wait for it... FOUR EXTRA STRIPS OF BACON!!! Or, as the PR spin words it, "three times the amount" found on other burgers.* I'm not sure six strips of bacon versus two really warrants a Superman comparison, but there you are.

*And when they say "other burgers," they mean their own, according to a poster hanging in my local store's window.


Mine (the $4.99 third-pound version, since that's what appears in the ads) was not an exact replica of the primped model burger for sure, but it wasn't bad looking in its own right. Yes, there's the usual disappointing lettuce. But there's also nice onion and tomato slices, mayo both over and under the patty, cheese that actually had some melt happening, and enough bacon to give the sesame seed bun a mounded effect.

Ah, the bacon. Maybe the burgermeisters at CKE realized that slapping on an additional 20 grams worth of pork belly just wasn't "super" enough, so there's this curious bit of innovation. The six strips of bacon aren't just tossed haphazardly on the patty, says the chain's official literature; they're—I'm quoting here—"woven together into a crispy bacon nest."


Bacon nest??? Really?!? Am I the only one who sees the golden but missed opportunity here? It's the Superman-themed burger, for cryin' out loud! If you're going to give your invented piece of bacon architecture a cutesy name, how do you pick "crispy bacon nest" over "Fortress of Porkitude"?

Nomenclature aside, the Super Bacon Cheese Thickburger tastes exactly how you'd expect. It's a bacon cheeseburger with extra bacon. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. At all. I generally dig Hardee's burgers and would probably also dig those from Carl's Jr. if I lived out West. They didn't put anything offensive on this or try to reinvent the wheel, so there's nothing not to like.

Did I feel particularly bulletproof or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound afterward? No. Would I order it again? Sure. But then again, bacon is totally my kryptonite.

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, pizzas for Slice, and desserts for Sweets, 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 The Gaslight Anthem. Or both.