In N Out Burger, Protein, Animal Style – Suspension of Disbelief for the Sake of Happiness

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In N Out Burger

California, Nevada, and Arizona


I’m going to regret doing this because it’s only going to make everyone angry, but I have to do it. I have to say it, or else I’ll be accountable for silent consent.

*inhale* Here goes.

Burgers are not good for you.

I know you’re mad at me for saying it, but let’s be real here. You’re not mad because I’m wrong. You’re mad because shallow down inside, you know that I’m right.

Burgers are bad for you. They’re made of red meat, and even if the beef didn’t come cows that were physically, mentally, and emotionally abused into a court of law, it’s still ground beef. Ground beef has to be fatty in order to taste good, and there is no way anyone can say, with a tobacco company’s face, that beef fat doesn’t hurt your heart. Add a blanket of bright orange triglycerides and a soft, pillowy bun that is the nutritional equivalent of, well, a soft pillow, and you have a California King-sized bed of bad.

You know it’s the truth. I know it’s the truth. We all know it’s the truth — the facts are right there in black and white — but we just don’t want to accept it so we manipulate the facts in our heads and come up with flimsy excuses that make perfect sense only to us. Why do we do that?

Why? Why do I do that?

in n out burger
it’s not like those other places
in n out burger, kitchen
so dorky, they have to be wholesome

The burger I get is from In N Out, and In N Out isn’t like those other fast food burger restaurant chains. In N Out is clean and bright and so white that it has to be sanitary. Most fast food restaurants are franchises, but In N Out is owned by a family. It’s a family restaurant; the staff is dressed in such dorky outfits, they have to be wholesome; and they print Bible verses on the bottom of their paper drink cups. I mean, come on. Bible verses? Now that’s just holy.

I get the Protein Burger, a burger without the carb guilt of a bun. Sure, the burger is beef, but In N Out makes their burgers from fresh beef, not frozen. Those other places use frozen beef. Frozen is bad, but fresh is good! You can’t tell me fresh isn’t good.

The Protein Burger is wrapped in layers of fresh, crisp lettuce. I get more water, fiber and trace vitamins than I would from a single wilted leaf. There’s cheese on there, but it’s not really cheese so much as an adhesive for the fresh tomatoes and onions. Daddy says that onions (and garlic) are like the motor oil of the body. You need them to run smoothly. I get the burger Animal-style. No one else does “Animal-style.” It’s amazing, isn’t it, that I can have it “animal-style,” something so rare, something that I like so much?
in n out burger, cheeseburger, animal style
That’s what I do. That’s what I tell myself. That’s how I convince myself.

Deep down inside, though, of course I know I’m kidding myself.

I know I’ll regret it later, but for ten minutes, no, just five, in that moment, I ignore the deep down inside and let myself believe all those things because I just want to be happy eating a burger.

In N Out’s Animal-style Protein Burger makes me happy, and isn’t that all that matters? Isn’t happiness what we should all want anyway?!?!
in n out burger, frensh fries
I never try to justify French fries, though. Why would I? French fries are just pure, fat-caloric guilty pleasure.

Besides, that’s why I always get *ahem* a Diet Coke.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SCC March 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm

What makes the most sense to me, in the realm of burgers is that they taste delicious and I will never relinquish my right as a human being, and a butcher’s girlfriend, to eat them. Vive la viande de boeuf!


2 susanna March 3, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Yup you are right. Burgers are bad for you, besides all the facts of animal rights.It’s been 5 years since I’ve had a fastfood burger. (I do succumb to the occassional burger at home)


3 Anonymous March 3, 2008 at 3:05 pm

oh but it’s sooo good, animal style…piping hot…mmmm


4 H. C. March 3, 2008 at 5:32 pm

But if you had your fries animal style; you can justify the… calcium from the cheese? ;)


5 sarah March 3, 2008 at 5:35 pm

scc: “taste delicious” is all that matters :)

susanna: i am actually not that much into the animal rights so much as what potential health risks there might be for human consumption of beef from abused, sickly, cows. however, if there’s been a recall, i’m going to be wary no matter what.

anonymous: i agree.

hc: WHAT?!?! you can get animal style french fries?!?!


6 DocChuck March 3, 2008 at 5:51 pm

The minute we are born, we start to die . . . the clock is ticking.

In my opinion, it’s what we make of our life between being born and dying, and that includes how we enjoy our life and how we spend it, productivity wise.

I personally have lived a VERY good life (66 years), have thoroughly enjoyed it, and have been reasonably productive (helped educate thousands of potential teachers during my career as a professor).

I have enjoyed burgers since I was a wee lad, and I enjoy them today, especially when my wife makes them at home of ground bison.

BUT . . . whenever the rare opportunity (because I live in Maryland and only get to the West Coast on occasion) arises, the first place I head is to a local In N Out.

Your post was VERY neat. Thanks!


7 Alex March 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm

I love In-n-Out, but let’s not delude ourselves, Sarah. Foregoing the bun doesn’t make it significantly healthier (or in this case, less unhealthy).



8 Anonymous March 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm

Umm, where’s the beef? I don’t see anything but tomatoes, lettuce & onions :o(


9 H. C. March 3, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Animal Style Fries
Fries with cheese, spread, and grilled onions.

They’ll give a fork too and serve ’em a special “Animal Style Fries” box to show that you’ve indeed gone over the caloric edge.


10 sarah March 3, 2008 at 10:12 pm

doc chuck: you are absolutely right, and that is how i am trying to live my life, including eating burgers!

alex: yes, but like i said, i choose to ignore that for a while, and in all honesty, i also try not to regret it later.

anonymous #2: the beef is in there, sort of slipped down past the lettuce, but it’s there

hc: holy shite. next time, i may actually have to forgo the burger and just do the fries…which may actually make them taste better because let’s be real. in n out fries by themselves aren’t that good.


11 Irene March 3, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Hi, I just found your blog and I love it! I live in LA, so all the places are very familiar to me (especiallyt he 17th street cafe and the neighboring Cafe Montana, which are around the block from my house). Your writing is very witty and entertaining.


12 Anonymous March 3, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Animal style also means that the burger is mustard-cooked and has extra sauce.


13 Miss Scarlett March 3, 2008 at 11:14 pm

OMG – you just made me miss L.A. SO. MUCH. I want one of these now!!! I was never crazy for their fries, but one of their burgers was the perfect dinner. Knowing that celebrities eat them made it seem not AS bad for me. “What?! Jennifer Aniston eats these. How bad can they be!?”


14 sarah March 4, 2008 at 1:12 am

irene: hi irene! welcome to the delicious life and thanks for reading! i liked cafe montana the few times i’ve been there, but they were all BD (Before Delicious). guess i’ll have to make a stop there for brunch one of these weekends on my way to planet blue :)

anonymous #3: oh yeah, that’s right on the mustard, and i usually ask that they hold the sauce. it tastes like thousand island dressing.

miss scarlet: miss l.a.? where have you gone?!?!


15 Anonymous March 4, 2008 at 2:57 am

in n out… you can get the fries extra crispy (twice fried) since their fries a very flimsy. if you don’t want animal style fries, you can also get them with just cheese. i’m not a big fan of in n out fries (even when they’re extra crispy) but something about extra crispy animal style fries hits the spot.

also try a shake neopolitan.

there are groups out there who will order a 100×100… 100 patties and 100 slices of cheese between one set of buns.


16 Baisy Mama March 4, 2008 at 5:33 am

Even though you didn’t get a bun you pretty much added a bajillion calories with animal style. I used to get animal style fries all the time until an ex-inn-n-out/my roomie worker told me so :(


17 taste memory March 4, 2008 at 3:33 pm

The photos are just plain torture. Even w/out the MEAT in the middle – it’s killing me that I am not in walking or even driving distance from the nearest I-n-Ot! Great photography sarah, also the fries don’t look like an afterthought – they must have been having a good day.

Double Double animal style tastes better when you’re pregnant too….


18 hermz April 11, 2008 at 4:50 am

It’s funny… judging from the date of this entry, we both learned about animal style fries at the same time. For me, it was on a drive to Mammoth. What a devious idea.


19 Smiling, Beguiling April 12, 2008 at 4:45 am

Animal style is the only way to go for me on my Double Double & on my fries too. I love the cheese, mustard & thousand, grilled onion-y goodness.

What surprises me is how many folks here don’t seem to know that In-n-Out is the ONLY fast food chain that has real, hand cut fries made from real potatoes, not potato by-product that has been re-constituted. That’s why their fries don’t seem as good as McD’s, they are actually made from real food, not fake food parts. So, they taste REALLY different than what we are used to at other fast food chains. Sort of dry & less greasy & more flavorful in a non-fatty kind of way – IMO.

All chains, except In-N-Out also make their food at a central “kitchen” or commissary & then ship to franchises frozen for reheating, reconstituting, etc. FTR, restaurants like El Torrito & Taco Bell, etc. do the same exact thing!

If I’m gonna pollute my body w/ fast food, its nothing but In-N-Out for me!! Well, on occasion I also really like Sonic too. Mmmmm. Tater Tots!

Great blog piece. Thanks!


20 Anonymous April 14, 2008 at 7:32 pm

if actress Hilary Swank is a vegetarian, why did I see her after the oscars a few years ago,woofing down a burger at in and out burger? I don’t know if it was a veggie burger, didn’t look like it!!! LeeLee


21 Anonymous May 6, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Hi everyone,

This article is very interesting.
You can find the whole list of international In-N-Out fast-foods restaurants at .
More informations on this website.

Best regards


22 abraxis July 28, 2009 at 11:53 am

In & Out are marketing geniuses! How else would you explain why there are In & Outs within 5 minutes of SFO, LAX and OAK? I have friends from overseas and the other coast who will time their layovers so they can duck out and get a #1, animal style before continuing on their journeys with horrible airplane food.

Of course, you’ve gotta get it with a Diet Coke (and a spritz of lemon)!


23 me August 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm

i agree — in n out burgers are THE BEST ever…dying for one or two right now. went to ucla and snagged them every chance i get but now am stuck on the east coast. had one recently on a trip but it was cold (brought home by a relative) and was not good! have to get them piping hot right from the drive thru….miss ya!


24 jolynn chau May 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm

u guys r like super gross eating at In and Out sucks balls i think i never ate there before


25 jolynn chau May 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm

kinda sad how it has been like 2 years since someone last subscribed u know besides me


26 Dark HelMet December 28, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Fat in burgers isn’t bad for your heart at all, actually. Nice try old science!


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