In-N-Out's Secret Menu
In-N-Out Burgers is a West Coast institution. And one of the keys to their success has been keeping it simple. There are only four food items on the In-N-Out menu: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double-Double and French Fries. In-N-Out compliments the food with the standard array of Coca-Cola beverages and three shakes: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. And that’s the menu in its entirety”
“or at least that’s what they want you to think. The truth of the matter is that there is an extensive “secret menu” available for those in the know. In fact, the secret items actually outnumber the items legitimately on the menu.
This isn’t just stuff made up by bored employees. If you order a Flying Dutchman, “Flying Dutchman” prints out on your receipt. It’s in the computer.
There is lots of information out there on the Internet about the secret menu, but no one seems to have gotten it all, and a lot of what is out there is just plain wrong. Nothing is more embarrassing than ordering a secret item that doesn’t exist.
So, through dilligent research, we have managed to produce what we believe is the definitive guide to the In-N-Out secret menu.
A “2×4” is a burger with two beef patties and four slices of cheese. You can also order a “3×3,” a “4×2” or any other meat/cheese combo your little heart desires. In the past, we’ve seen burgers as large as a 100×100, but In-N-Out changed their policy and now a 4×4 is as large as you can get. We managed to get ourselves a 20×20before that rule went into effect, though.
(Also known as a “Double Meat”) Two beef patties, no cheese. You can order any n-by-Meat, where n is an “integer less than or equal to 4.” Triple the meat, triple the pleasure. Need your colon impacted, but don’t want to spend years waiting for it to happen? In-N-Out has the burger for you.
A mustard-cooked beef patty with additional pickles, cheese, spread and grilled onions diced up and mixed together on the grill before getting dumped on your burger. This is probably the most famous secret menu item, and for good reason: it’s pure awesome on a bun. You can get any burger done Animal Style.
No big trick here. Ask for any burger to be cut in half, and it will be. As the parent of two girls under five, this makes ordering their meal a lot easier.
Two beef patties, two slices of cheese. That’s it. No lettuce. No onions. No bun. No nuthin’. Word on the street is that this item was created for people to feed to their dogs at one of the original In-N-Out’s with walk-up service. That sounds plausible to me. Coolest sounding item on the menu. Try tricking a friend into ordering one Animal Style.
A cheeseburger without the “burger.” My niece always orders the grilled cheese because she doesn’t eat beef and “veggie burgers are boring.” You still have lettuce, onions and tomatoes — as well as a nice helping of the spread. Can also be ordered Animal Style.
They paint your burger with mustard before grilling just like with Animal Style. They just don’t dump the rest of the stuff on top. Pretty tasty if you like mustard.
Any burger on the menu, wrapped in lettuce instead of that carbohydrate-laden bun. Great if you’re doing Adkins. Any diet where you you can eat all the bacon you want but you can’t have a slice of bread sounds suspicious to me, though.
Leaves your bread on the grill a tad longer resulting in “crispy buns,” which is not as dirty as it sounds. Can be ordered with any burger. You can also get the bun lightly toasted or untoasted. Not a good idea though. They toast the buns so that they have some rigidity and don’t get soggy by the condiments.
Animal Style Fries
All the same great stuff that’s on an Animal Style Burger, dumped on an order of fries instead.
Fries with cheese on top. I assume this is why they call it “cheese fries.”
Fries not cooked as long as regular. For that great “I’m eating a raw potato” taste. Not my favorite, but hey, different strokes for different folks.
You know those delicious little brown crispy fries that you find in the bottom of the bag sometimes? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get an entire order of them? You’re welcome.
All three shake flavors in one delicious cup. Because shakes are so thick, the flavors stay separated. Surprisingly good..
“Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony…”
Even old hands at the secret menu are often surprised when you order this item and actually receive it. Great summer treat.
Half tea, half lemonade. Yes, we know this is an “Arnold Palmer.” Stop telling us. I suspect In-N-Out is also aware this is an Arnold Palmer. I also suspect you would need to pay Mr. Palmer money to call it that, so In-N-Out chooses not to.
Half lemonade, half 7-up or Sprite. Not all suicides are created equal, and this one tastes pretty good.
The In-N-Out version of a “secret sauce.” It’s a bit like Thousand Islands dressing, but there are other things in there, too. You can get a big extra packet of it just by asking.
You can get them “whole” (one big slice) or chopped.
You can ask for a packet, or get them diced on the bottom of your burger by asking for “chopped chilis.” Several sites refer to them as “jalapenos.” They look like peppercinis to me.
Extra tomatoes, extra lettuce, extra onion
Do I really need to explain this? I mean really?
You can order both your burger and fries with no salt added. This makes them taste worse, but they are marginally better for you. If you are really worried about your health, you’re in the wrong restaurant.
Not everything that we found on the Internet actually existed. So here are a few imaginary items that we ordered so you don’t have to.
Wish Burger: This is another name for a veggie burger, but not all In-N-Out employees know it, though. On our test day, the cashier was flummoxed by it. (Actually, I just wanted to use the word “flummoxed.”)
“On the Sal”: “On the Sal” was supposed to give us all the vegetables that normally go on the burger, with secret sauce on top, and nothing else — basically a tiny side salad. Once again, the lovely cashier had no idea what I was talking about.
But ordering the non-existent “On the Sal” taught us something important:
Although she had no idea what I was talking about, the cashier was perfectly willing to give me an “On the Sal” if I could describe it to her. Evidently, the registers at In-N-Out are a little more sophisticated than the “picture of the fries” model at Mickey-D’s.
This probably doesn’t include stripping naked and dancing around the burger while praying to your dark gods, but it might — we didn’t ask.
Photos by Patti Marcotte