No business is more amenable to the introduction of truly outrageous creations than the fast food industry. After all, the oversaturation of fast food chains in the U.S. (and around the world) has created a hypercompetitive market -- one where no culinary creation is out of the realm of possibility if it grabs consumers' attention (and their cash). Even if a select few over-the-top menu items could be described as having gone too far in the past, there's always some mad genius-type concoction waiting in the wings at your local quick-service joint.
The fast food landscape is littered with prominent examples of ridiculous and bizarre product introductions. There's no shortage of mind-boggling menu items to be found across the fast food spectrum -- including those that failed to make a lasting impact (hey, Whopperito!). And while we'd love to dive deep into the most preposterously extravagant fast food menu items of all time period, we decided to winnow our focus down to the most outrageous burgers in fast food history instead.
There's been a literal bounty of absurdly ostentatious burgers released since the dawn of fast food. With that in mind, we've assembled a list of those truly ridiculous burger-based culinary creations from the fast food arena. From eye-catching monstrosities to true head-scratchers, here are the most outrageous fast food burgers in history.
Read more: Fast Food Hamburgers Ranked Worst To Best
Pumpkin Burger (Burger King)
As you're apt to notice, a substantial number of the most outrageous burgers in fast food history aren't (or weren't) found at U.S. locations. With that in mind, we're kicking things off with a truly ridiculous creation that was only offered at Japan-based Burger King locations in October 2012. That year, the fast food burger chain celebrated the fall season by adding a pumpkin-centric burger to its Japanese menus -- aptly named the Pumpkin Burger after the fried kabocha squash slices found on every sandwich.
Now, while some may incorrectly assume the Pumpkin Burger title is a bit of a misnomer (it's called kabocha squash, after all), the fact remains that all pumpkins are technically squashes. Furthermore, seeing how the word kabocha is synonymous with the word pumpkin in Japan, it makes perfect sense that Burger King tailored its autumnal Japanese release to the nation's palate by including the winter squash.
Of course, while the simple addition of fried pumpkin slices would be outrageous enough on its own, the kicker is the burger's special nut sauce. Featuring a delightful blend of cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts, the unique spread helped set this limited-time product apart from the competition -- while making it more than worthy of a spot on this list.
Oreo Spam Burger (McDonald's)
Despite the (well-deserved) hype beef receives as a burger ingredient, there are plenty of additional meat options at one's disposal to create a mouthwatering burger. Of course, while we're exceedingly open-minded when it comes to culinary craftsmanship, even we wouldn't have thought of simply using a slab of Spam as a supposed burger (let alone two). Perhaps if we thought a bit more outside the box, though, we'd have been less awestruck by McDonald's Oreo Spam Burger -- released for one day on December 21, 2020, exclusively at locations throughout China.
Actually, thanks to the eyebrow-raising addition of Oreo crumbles atop the Spam burger, we'd almost certainly have found this limited-time attraction to be astronomically bizarre no matter the circumstances. Hoping to capitalize on the rising popularity of Spam and Spam-like luncheon meats among Chinese youth, the fast food conglomerate decided to deliver a "collision of tastes and textures" that was also "quite topical socially," as Abbie Xie, communications manager for McDonald's in China, told CNN in 2020.
It's unclear just how many of the 400,000 total Oreo Spam Burgers were actually sold that cold December day. Still, there's no denying the promotion was a successful marketing ploy -- though we're not exactly sorry we missed the chance to sample one.
T-Rex Burger (Wendy's)
For the most part, our list of the most outrageous burgers in fast food history consists of sandwiches made with tremendously unorthodox toppings and flavor combinations. Yet other entries fit the bill because of their jaw-dropping capabilities -- as in you'd literally need to drop your disjointed jaw down to the floor in order to take a bite. Case in point: the Wendy's behemoth known as the T-Rex Burger, which has only been seen at a pair of North American restaurants in the past.
If you've never heard of what is essentially a Dave's nonuple classic -- or a cheeseburger made with nine full-sized patties -- it's not because the burger itself was forgettable by any means. Rather, the issue stems from the fact it was never intended to be an actual product. Thankfully, one Canada-based Wendy's restaurant took the premise presented by a faux Sports Illustrated ad and ran with it, offering the nine-patty T-Rex Burger as a real-life novelty until 2013.
Somewhat surprisingly, the T-Rex burger appeared to pop up in 2017 at a Wendy's restaurant in Kentucky, as well. In that regard, we can't say with 100% certainty whether it has vanished completely. But it's entirely plausible the T-Rex Burger remains a secret item at random unknown locations as of September 2023.
Mashers (Carl's Jr.)
Nothing may be more comforting to the average American (foodwise, that is) than a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy. There's a reason the combination of block-shaped ground beef and fluffy, buttery potatoes drowned in rich brown gravy has been a staple in U.S. households for more than a century. That long legacy likely explains the thought process behind Carl's Jr.'s brief introduction of the Mashers burger in 2014, which was actually topped with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Of course, just because we can sort of understand the logic behind the fast food chain's wish to stoke warm memories of family dinners doesn't mean we agree with its decision to follow through with the Mashers' creation. The inherently messy nature of liquid gravy atop an amorphous pile of potatoes makes it far less practical than the ingredient might have seemed during conception.
We're sure the burger itself -- which featured the restaurant's beef Thickburger and crispy onion strips in addition to gravy and potatoes -- contained a perfectly acceptable combo of flavors. But the oddity was clearly too much for the world to handle, and this outrageous burger disappeared before expanding beyond its initial testing phase.
Gohan Teriyaki Burger (McDonald's)
We're well aware that certain fast food burgers appear outrageous because of our perspective from the American palate. In that regard, the fact that Japan consumes far more rice than the U.S. makes the incorporation of rice into a Japanese fast food dish much more commonplace. Then again, we'd expect to find rice inside a burger in some capacity, not outside it. But that was the case with the Gohan Teriyaki Burger from McDonald's in Japan, which sandwiched a burger between a rice "bun" rather than bread.
Introduced in early 2020 as a part of its evening Night Mac menu in Japan, the Gohan Teriyaki Burger features a well-cooked pair of rice patties made with soy sauce in lieu of an actual bun. Beyond that, the burger features a sweet-and-sour teriyaki-glazed pork patty between the rice patties (and possibly lettuce, if the press release photographs can be trusted).
Since the McDonald's Gohan Teriyaki Burger wasn't the first to use rice block patties as a bread replacement in Japan, it seems as though this outrageous fast food burger is relatively run-of-the-mill in its country of origin. But it's still apt to trigger a furrowed brow among U.S.-based readers, so we're inclined to include it on our list.
New York Pizza Burger (Burger King)
Burgers and pizza go together like lamb and tuna fish; in other words, the two wildly popular main course options are fairly redundant -- because who really wants (or needs) a cheeseburger with a side of 'za? Of course, just as we promise to never again refer to pizza as 'za (we're not planning a picnic on the Dunder Mifflin roof, after all), we can't say we were all that surprised to discover Burger King once attempted a true double whammy starring these two food items with its formerly offered New York Pizza Burger.
Burger King's New York Pizza Burger was more than just an enormous pizza-sized Whopper served with six triangle-cut slices (like a pizza!). The monstrous part-pizza, part-burger hybrid actually came with mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, and a nut-free, pesto-flavored sauce in an attempt to conjure a fast-casual Italian flavor profile in customers.
The New York Pizza Burger was only available at the chain's upscale-wannabe Whopper Bar location in New York City starting in 2010, so it's unlikely many fans of both pizza and burgers actually sampled this outrageous fast food burger. And since we couldn't find any evidence that the Whopper Bar ever reopened after being shut down in June 2012 for health code violations, it appears any interested patrons won't have the opportunity to try it in the future, either.
7x7 Burger (Steak 'N Shake)
We have to admit the 7x7 Burger from Steak 'n Shake feels a bit underwhelming -- though that's really a symptom of our outrageous fast food burger fatigue rather than a mark against the seven-layered cheeseburger. In fact, while it may not win the award for the greatest number of burger patties or cheese slices among list entries (the T-Rex Burger's nine patties scoff at this puny offering), it's still a sight to behold this seven-squared burger in all its glory.
Now, it appears Steak 'n Shake may only offer the 7x7 Burger -- priced for the staggeringly cheap cost of $7.77 (we see what it did there) as of June 2020 -- as a secret, post-midnight menu option. But whether or not it has remained a late-night-only, off-the-record item (it's not listed on the regular menu) through the years is unclear. Additionally, we're not 100% certain the 7x7 Burger can still be purchased at any time of day at Steak 'n Shake as of September 2023.
If nothing else, we'd bet Steak 'n Shake's most extravagant burger does indeed remain available after midnight -- though we wouldn't be surprised if it costs a bit more than its previous, numerically symmetrical price point.
Burger Dippers (Jack In The Box)
Given we labeled the short-lived Burger Dippers from Jack in the Box as one of the most ridiculous fast food menu items of 2019, it's no wonder it made our list of the most outrageous fast food burgers of all time, as well. Additionally, as one of the most egregious examples we've encountered of repurposing non-potato food items into so-called fries, we simply had no choice but to include Jack in the Box's Burger Dippers on our list of truly outrageous burgers from fast food history.
Now, the word burger may be included in this fast food product's name, but the "dipper" half is far more crucial to explaining its not-a-sandwich serving style. Of course, since Burger Dippers' entire existence appeared to be based on asking customers whether they needed both burgers and fries to be satisfied, the fast food chain wasn't exactly shy about its composition.
Seeing how Burger Dippers never advanced beyond a limited-time test run at select Jack in the Box locations in California in February 2019, it seems the combination didn't work. Because when it comes to the classic fast food combo meal items of burgers and fries, most patrons prefer an actual combo -- not some unholy amalgamation of the two.
Angriest Whopper (Burger King)
Can a food item possess an emotional state of mind (or a mind, for that matter)? Burger King clearly thinks so -- at least, it did when it first released the supposedly Angry Whopper in 2009. Of course, a burger simply being mad is hardly outrageous enough to warrant a spot on this list. Hence, we chose the Angriest Whopper instead, released in March 2016 with (gasp!) a bright red bun infused with hot sauce.
Now, in all honesty, it appears the only real difference between the Angriest Whopper, and BK's previously-just Angry editions, was the usage of said blood-red bun. After all, both versions came topped with spicy fried onion petals, pickled jalapenos, and a so-called "angry" sauce (seriously: why were Burger King's ingredients so enraged during the late-2000s and 2010s?).
In that sense, both versions of the fast food chain's irate Whoppers could credibly claim a place in the outrageous fast food burger hall of fame. But with only a single slot available, we're going with the superlatively superior Angriest Whopper.
Most American Thickburger (Carl's Jr./Hardee's)
Believe it or not, your favorite burger from your favorite U.S.-born fast food chain may lack the proper patriotic spirit -- at least in the eyes of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. Other fast food burger joints may want consumers to believe its burgers are made for those of us who bleed red, white, and blue. But only Carl's Jr. (and Hardee's) was willing to put its pride where its mouth was by introducing the Most American Thickburger in June 2015.
Promoted by a bikini-clad Sports Illustrated model, a professional bull rider, and a stars-and-stripes-adorned vehicle, it's nigh impossible to dispute the Most American Thickburger's claim of being, well, the most American fast food burger on the market. After all, does anything scream "U! S! A!" over and over quite like a half-naked woman, a rodeo performer, and a gaudily designed pickup truck?
Despite the, ahem, impeccable credentials displayed by the Most American Thickburger -- which featured a layer of Lay's kettle-cooked chips under the cheeseburger, and a split hot dog on top of it -- the item's undeniable extravagance may have been its downfall. But even if it's no longer available at Carl's Jr. or Hardee's locations as of 2023, we'll always have the memory of this truly outrageous creation.
Surf And Turf Burger (Wendy's)
We can't help but chuckle whenever a fast food chain attempts to present itself as some sort of upscale establishment. It may be impolite to laugh at others. But an international fast food juggernaut also sort of opens itself up to potential derision through its sheer existence. Of course, there may be nothing wrong per se with the Surf and Turf Burger released in Japan in 2012 by Wendy's -- yet it's still amusingly outrageous to see a fast food burger attempt to evoke a higher-end restaurant by using lobster as a burger topping.
We're actually immensely supportive of the Surf and Turf Burger's existence in theory. After all, there may be nothing more delectable than the culinary clash of land and water-based proteins when served in a single meal. We're hesitant, though, to declare this patently absurd menu item a good idea given lobster meat's poor fast food track record (not one single person has ever enjoyed a McLobster).
Since we weren't able to try the Surf and Turf Burger during its limited-time run, we can't say for sure whether it was a success -- or whether Wendy's deserves ridicule for straying from its lane. Either way, the choice to throw chunks of lobster onto a burger was more than memorable, making this one of the craziest fast food burgers in history.
Black Ninja Burger (Burger King)
While we'd like to imagine the Black Ninja Burger from Burger King (released exclusively in Japan in 2013) was inspired by a Method Man lyric from a 1994 Notorious B.I.G. track ("The What"), in reality, the burger's name was inspired by ninjas and their historic association with Japanese culture. Of course, considering there's nothing about ninja history that explains why BK chose to include a lengthy slab of thick bacon on this burger -- or why the bacon hung off the burger like a cartoon tongue -- we're inclined to stick with our explanation for the name.
The baffling bacon appendage wasn't the only noteworthy aspect of this all-time outrageous burger, though. After all, the Black Ninja Burger (or Kuro Ninja Burger) also came on a charcoal-black bun -- one which was blackened with bamboo charcoal. More than that, this Japanese Burger King exclusive came with the most ridiculous burger component we discovered in our research: a burger that was, quite literally, just a large hash brown patty.
Between its incomprehensible burger selection, wagging bacon tongue, and soot-colored bun, the Black Ninja Burger was one for the ages -- and consequently belongs on our list.
Read the original article on Mashed.