Hey—are you gonna finish… whatever that is?
Fast food misfires come in many forms. Mindless mashups, ill-conceived holiday homages and irreconcilable departures from a restaurant’s primary offerings are just a few of the ways fast food chains around the world have embarrassed themselves and disgusted their customers.
Here are ten of the most ridiculous culinary concoctions in fast food history. Bon appetit.
10 The Double Down Sandwich (KFC)
This winter, mired in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the people of Italy received a true treat from the US military: assistance with vaccine procurement and distribution.
Actually wait – scratch that. The American soldier was Colonel Sanders, and the gift was a triple bypass to top off that deadly respiratory disease. On February 15, 2021, the Double Down Sandwich returned to KFCs across Italy, giving our parmesan-eating brethren a taste of the American heart(attack)land.
What’s the Double Down, you ask? Well it’s pretty simple: take two fast food favorites – bacon and cheese – add something suspiciously called the “Colonel’s Sauce,” and put it all between… two gigantic slabs of Original Recipe fried chicken.
The Double Down pretty much exemplifies America’s willingness to take pride in gluttony. It caters to the growing (and growing, and growing) set of US consumers who gleefully shun sound medical advice in the name of freedom. Hell, the very name suggests that its ingestion is a gamble.
Incredibly, the Double Down is only 540 calories – about as much as a McDonald’s Big Mac. However, the devil (and the diabetes) lies in the details: 145 milligrams of cholesterol (more than twice the Big Mac), 1,380 milligrams of sodium (over half the recommended limit) and 32 grams of fat (half the day’s allowance). Per metrics site FiveThirtyEight, the result is one of the unhealthiest sandwiches ever.
9 Buffalo Latte (Tim Horton’s)
Throughout the 2010s, beloved Canadian coffee & donut chain Tom Horton’s had its sights set on expansion in the U.S. Americans familiar with the chain – generally considered higher quality than Dunkin’ but less expensive than Starbucks – welcomed Timmy H’s with open arms and wallets, and today there are over 500 locations across the US.
But in October 2017, Tim Horton’s forced a square idea into a round donut hole. To celebrate openings across Buffalo, NY – the birthplace of buffalo sauce – the company introduced an absolutely repulsive buffalo-flavored latte.
Two hypotheses exist concerning this limited-time menu monstrosity. The first posits it was simply a bad idea; that a coffeehouse which also offers a variety of breakfast sandwiches could have honored Buffalo with a buffalo-flavored sausage, egg & cheese biscuit (or, at the very least, something that wasn’t milky… definitely a gross-out line crosser).
The other theory is that Tim Horton’s never intended to sell a single cringe-inducing cup of the Buffalo Latte, but instead was engaging in a publicity stunt. While making potential customers gag isn’t typically recommended, there’s a bit of buffalo-flavored brilliance to that.
8 Kit Kat Chocoladilla (Taco Bell)
Let’s be honest: an entire list could be dedicated just to Taco Bell items. In fact, one already is.
Not surprisingly from the marketing geniuses who decided the “Fourth Meal” should be a thing, there’s a lot to digest (or indigest) here. Potential candidates for Taco Bell’s top spot include the why-is-a-taco-joint-doing-this triangular chicken chips with nacho dipping sauce, the idiotically named Beefy Potato-rito, and the entirely appropriately-named Forbidden Burrito.
But Taco Bell saved its best dietary disaster for last. Its Kit Kat Chocoladilla boldly asks the question “why not top off your fourth meal with a chocolate sandwich?” Basically, picture a large soft tortilla slathered with Nutella-esque chocolate sauce, interspersed with chocolate chips and chunks of Kit Kat bars. If you believe the officially stated calorie count of 329, I have a chocolate-covered, tortilla-wrapped bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
Men’s Health magazine took a matter-of-fact perspective toward the Kit Kat Chocoladilla, deeming it in line with Taco Bell’s penchant for TexMex-bastardized trial and error: “it’s about time they smashed a candy bar and chocolate chips between two halves of a flour tortilla. That whole fried-chicken-as-a-taco-shell thing,” the review continues, referencing another culinary experiment, “was just a little too bland for our drunken food cravings.”
7 The Meatatarian Burger (Burger King)
This entry is ridiculous, alright: ridiculously awesome. One would imagine this meaty masterpiece resulted from enough people asking themselves: “Aren’t we sick of all this vegetarian bullshit?”… then deciding that question need not be rhetorical.
Voila! In 2016, Burger King introduced its Meatatarian Range in New Zealand. The three-burger series consisted of the sumptuously suggestive Full Meaty, the could-go-either-way Half Meaty, and the goes-with-anything Bacon Meaty. As in other walks of life, the Full Meaty stood out the most: two beef patties, a chicken patty, six bacon strips, two slices of cheese, barbecue sauce and onions. The Half Meaty removes one of the beef patties, while the Bacon Meaty replaces both beef patties with an extra layer of chicken.
True to its stature as a backlash to vegetarianism and healthy food in general, the Meatatarian Range’s calorie count was… well, impossible to find. By listing it as a “limited time only” item, BK avoided mandatory nutritional transparency guidelines.
However, in 2005 Burger King introduced the uncreatively named Enormous Omelet Sandwich, featuring a two-egg omelet topped with two slices of American cheese, three strips of bacon, and a sausage patty on a hoagie-style bun. That work of artery-clogging art came in at 730 calories and 47 grams of fat, so it can be safety assumed that the Full Meaty eclipsed that by several inche… um, calories.
6 The Greek Mac (McDonald’s)
Per the McDonald’s website, the Greek Mac is: “A Greek classic! Two juicy beef patty’s with lemon sauce, onions, lettuce, sliced tomato’s wrapped together in a pita bread, with tzatziki [yogurt] sauce.”
Setting aside that a multi-billion-dollar international corporation can afford a copywriter who knows the plural of “patty” is “patties,” and the plural of “tomato” is “tomatoes,” the oddest thing about this entry is that the Big Greek is only available in Greece and neighboring Cyprus. Which is akin to a burger joint limiting a new pizza item to Italy.
With an internationally accepted ethnic food (like a gyro) limiting availability to the places with the BEST gyros (like Greece and Cyprus) makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. People will accept a meh McDonald’s gyro far more readily in Athens, Georgia than Athens, Greece.
Even non-Greek reviewers noticed. Per UK-based BurgerLad: “The tzatziki just wasn’t to scratch compared to what I’ve been eating throughout the rest of my holiday – it was missing the lemon, the garlic and more cucumber, along with the richness from olive oil.”
It then addresses the item’s misguided target market: “I would be more than happy if the UK had this instead of the Big Tasty,” referencing a UK-centric item.
5 Most American Thickburger (Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s)
Because ‘Murica, that’s why. From the country that brought you cancel culture, rampant gun violence and an impressive 42% obesity rate comes the most patriotic patties ever placed between two buns.
In 2015, sister chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s launched the Most American Thickburger, a salute to classic, clog-inducing American cuisine. The greasy cheeseburger was sandwiched between a hot dog and a layer of Lays potato chips, along with pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mustard. As another nice touch, it actually sort of looked like the average American.
Like a Western movie hero daring the bad guy to make his move, the Most American Thickburger dared its largely under-exercised and under-insured audience to pledge alliance to flame-broiled flavor. The half-pound version clocked in at 1,190 calories, 29 grams of saturated fat, and a whopping 3,170 milligrams of sodium.
Apparently the Most American Thickburger wasn’t just heavy but top heavy. A review on BrandEating.com complained that “the chips and pickles were situated on the very bottom and formed an uneven base for the lettuce and tomatoes (wet ingredients that slid to and fro atop the chips). On top of this Jenga-like Slip & Slide were the heavier beef patty and split hot dog.” Ultimately, its advice to consumers was to “eat this burger upside down and hope for the best.”
4 Chizza (KFC)
Replacing something typically bread-based with something other than bread? Sounds like a job for KFC (see items #10 and #1 on this list).
Generously described by The Independent as a “low-calorie, high-protein” pizza, the Chizza is among the most creatively named, albeit least appetizing, of KFC’s bread-substituting bonanzas. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: fried chicken covered with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, shaped (sort of) like a pizza. It’s basically a chicken parmesan if Italian cuisine was misguidedly entrusted to a cracker from Kentucky.
No bread? No problem for those sprinting toward a diabetic death. The Chizza contains nearly 700 calories and 38 grams of fat. And that’s before customers top if off with their choice of ham, pineapple or extra sauce. The Colonel likes Hawaiian pizza – who knew?
The simplistic recipe sent people with way too much time on their hands into a fervor, with Tweets including “The KFC Chizza is literally a piece of chicken meat & toppings DONT [sic] BE FOOLED.” The Chizza was initially introduced as a “limited time only” option at KFC locations in Singapore. It then expanded to India and finally Saudi Arabia, where it enjoyed more rights than women.
3 Mush ‘N Cheese, Berry Burger and Angry Whopper (Burger King)
This combo entry’s main point: Burger King is officially out of ideas.
In late 2014, Burger King Japan made two highly suspect decisions. First, it decided that “Berry Kristmush” was an acceptable marketing campaign slogan. Second, it decided that the lure of said promotion would be two of the oddest offerings in burger history.
First, the Berry Burger. It’s a hamburger that, per Eater, has “mixed berry sauce and what appears to be five carefully placed blueberries. Nothing screams “happy holidays” like warm, beefy fruit.” Indeed.
The Berry Burger’s Christmastime compadre was the Mush ‘N Cheese Burger, which is a cheeseburger with mushrooms on it. Otherwise known as a cheeseburger with a fairly common topping, renamed something completely revolting. Nice job guys.
Need another way to mask the inferior-even-for-fast-food flavor of your burgers? I know – hot sauce! Meet Burger King’s Angriest Whopper. Billed as a spicy spin on the BK classic, the burger featured jalapeno peppers, red buns with hot sauce baked into them, and the sexual-assault-sounding spicy angry sauce.
Unfortunately, Burger King couldn’t even do THAT right: Per FastFoodMenuPrices.com: “The word ‘angry’ is meant to give the impression of a spicy hot burger that will rile your taste buds … but the Angry sauce is more zesty… and the jalapeños are canned slices….Both left A LOT of spice to be desired.”
2 Doritos Crunchy Crust Pizza (Pizza Hut)
One of the ever-decreasing reasons I’m proud to be an American is that this culinary clusterf*ck was an Aussie thing.
On the heels of Taco Bell’s well-received Doritos Locos Taco – a taco whose tortilla shell is made from snack food’s signature cheesy corn chip – Pizza Hut Australia decided “why not us?” Despite several satisfying answers to that seemingly rhetorical question coming immediately to mind (for starters, “Because mozzarella and nacho cheeses don’t go together, EVER”), in 2014 the Doritos Crunchy Crust Pizza debuted in restaurants across the country.
An Italian-Mexican mashup proudly insulting both of these eclectic cuisines, the Doritos Crunchy Crust Pizza features a mozzarella cheese-stuffed crust layered with nacho cheese Doritos chips and cheddar cheese. The Doritos layer is far more than a few crumbs, but rather full chips atop one another for the experience of stuffing one’s face with both multiple Doritos AND the bread and cheese upon which they’re stacked.
“Why Doritos? Well it is a globally loved brand and they have the best corn chips to deliver the ultimate crunch,” Pizza Hut Australia Head of Marketing & Innovation (and possible forced-confession hostage) Fatima Syed said in a press release. “We know from research how big an impact the crunch sound has on one’s appetite,” she continued, in a sentence somehow more ridiculous than her first one.
1 Doughnut Fried Chicken Sandwich (KFC)
Between this, the Chizza and the Double Down, it’s apparent that KFC either a) really likes putting things between other things that aren’t bread, or b) simply ran out of bread.
Colonel Sanders has the unenviable distinction of being the only chap with three entries on this list. Impressively, this item earned a spot with just three ingredients: (1) donut, (2) chicken, and (3) second donut.
Introduced in 2019, KFC’s Doughnut Fried Chicken Sandwich solved the cumbersome need to use utensils while scarfing down 1,000 calories’ worth of chicken and waffles. Replace the waffles with donuts and the maple syrup with glazed sugar. Done, done and delicious.
And deadly. The Doughnut Fried Chicken Sandwich packs a whopping 1100 calories – more than half the recommended daily allowance. A heart-stopping 585 of those calories are from fat. Over 1,300 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of cholesterol and a stunningly saccharine 40 grams of sugar – more than an adult male’s entire recommended daily intake – will keep cardiologists and insulin manufacturers well-employed and wealthy.