What is it about secret menus at fast-food joints that gets us so excited? It must be the small thrill we get when we "beat the system," when we share a knowing glance with an employee, when we’re privy to a secret that the other customers aren’t aware of. And just about every fast-food stand has at least one off-menu item that they’ll gladly prepare for you, from a peanut butter and bacon burger to a sandwich with four different types of meat.
For your fast-food dining pleasure, we’ve tracked down the wildest menu hacks at all your favorite fast-food restaurants. When we walk into a Chipotle and demand a Quesarito, the others in line instinctively think more highly of us. This is just a fact of life. Not only do we know that they’ll make a quesadilla — another off-menu item — and then load it up with burrito fillings and roll it up like a burrito, the fact that we have the cajones to stroll up and actually order the thing puts us in a league above your usual fast-food customer, who meekly orders by meal number.
But we order off a secret menu. We don’t need your stinkin’ meal numbers. We operate independently. The one problem with secret menus is the fact that they’re usually — duh — a secret. Unless you go the Panera route and send out a press release touting your secret menu items (complete with calorie counts), most people will be left to their own devices when it comes to figuring out the hidden menu items.
Oftentimes it’s just a matter of ordering something and seeing if you can get away with it, like extra bacon or cheese (or mashed potatoes and gravy on your KFC sandwich), but sometimes there are legitimate off-menu items, with nicknames and everything, that you can order (with a knowing wink, if you prefer), and the cashier will know exactly what you’re talking about.
Now, we’re not claiming that every single outpost of these chains will be able to prepare all of these off-menu items for you, especially during the lunch rush, but if you catch them at the right moment, you really never know just how accommodating these chains can be. So there's no harm in trying. Take a look at these 7 menu hacks and secret items at popular fast-food joints, and the next time you find yourself inside a McDonald’s, maybe you’ll be tempted to live dangerously and forego the #3 meal for a McGangBang.
1. Wendy’s: Barnyard Burger
Wendy’s actually has a fairly comprehensive secret menu, complete with named items like the Grand Slam, which is four patties in one burger (also affectionately called the "Meat Cube"). Our favorite? The Barnyard: a burger patty, a spicy chicken fillet, ham, and bacon, with a slice of cheese in between each. Carnivorous perfection.
2. In-N-Out: Animal-style fries
In-N-Out advertises its own "Not-So-Secret Menu," which is home to what is arguably its most legendary creation: the Animal-Style burger. A patty cooked with mustard is topped with lettuce, tomato, special sauce, pickles, and grilled onions, and it’s delicious. But what about Animal-Style fries? An order of fries topped with cheese, secret sauce, pickles, and grilled onions? Otherworldly.
3. Taco Bell: Chili Cheese Burrito
It’s messy, but they’ll make this discontinued menu item for you if you ask nicely. And chili beats beans any day.
4. Shake Shack: Peanut butter and bacon burger
If adding peanut butter to your bacon burger is your thing (we hear it’s pretty tasty), the friendly folks at Shake Shack will be more than happy to add a smear to yours.
5. KFC: Mashed potatoes, bacon, and gravy on anything
Want your Doublicious sandwich topped with a schmear of mashed potatoes and a ladle of gravy? How about bacon on those Chicken Littles? You got it.
6. Sonic: Deep-fried pickles
These were once featured on Sonic menus, but have been discontinued. But they’ve got pickles and batter back there, so try asking nicely.
7. McDonald’s: Chicken and Waffles
If you want a chicken and waffle sandwich from McDonald’s during the breakfast hours, just ask for one and they might make it for you. If they won’t, buy a sausage McGriddle and a Southern Style Chicken Biscuit, put the chicken in between the McGriddles, and boom: chicken and waffles, or something close to it if you want to nitpick. And hey, you’re left with a sausage biscuit!
To see even more wild and crazy fast food eats, check out the full list.
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