There oughta be a law

Jack in the Box has joined the modern fast-food trend of vast, caloric “ultimate burgers,” with the introduction of the Outlaw Burger and Outlaw Spicy Chicken Sandwich line.

Though Jack hasn’t responded yet to a request for nutritional info from watchdog blog Fast Food News, with Outlaw toppings including bacon, onion rings, KC Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce and two slices of cheese, these calorie bombs look to be junior members of the new devil-may-care burger crowd, which includes Hardee’s 1400-calorie Monster Thickburger and Carl’s Jr.’s Pastrami Burger, which the company touts as “the original meat-as-a-condiment hamburger.”

Okay, so the Outlaw is supposedly so named because of its “Western” flavor, not because of any inherent sinfulness in the combination of so many fatty elements. But does KC Masterpiece (that’s Kansas City, yo) really even evoke Westernness? Tasters for Consumer Reports gave KCM the top ranking in a recent test, and it has long been one of the top-selling sauces in the States. But the geographic inspiration for most commercial barbecue sauces these days is pretty much indistinguishable.

While aficionados know that Texas barbecue is as different from North Carolina ‘cue as a monkey is from a desk lamp (or something)—not to mention all the regional differences within each state, which are subjects of heated debate—the stuff in grocery stores usually contains some combo of tomato puree/paste, molasses/corn syrup, and liquid smoke, the lowest common denominators of backyard grilling. Maybe if J in the B slapped some mesquite flavoring on the Outlaw, the Western theme would be more immediately evident… Any ‘cue-hounds want to weigh in?