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The Great Debate: In-N-Out Burger vs. Shake Shack

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here (apologies!). Since I last wrote on here, I worked as a food and drink writer with The Daily Meal and also launched my very own website: Samantha Lea. But I am back here today to report something extremely important: I have finally visited In-N-Out Burger and can finally weigh in on the great debate: Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out.

I recently met up with my parents in California and after asking them why we had never visited In-N-Out before, they agreed to go and drove straight there when they picked me up from the airport.

In case you may not know, the debate between these two burger chains are quite fierce. Shake Shack first started out in New York under restaurateur Danny Meyer and went public in January 2015. As of writing this, there are 129 locations around the world.

In-N-Out currently has 313 locations, however they are all native to the Southwest and Pacific regions of the U.S. and remains independently owned. That being said, In-N-Out is the winner in my book, and for a few reasons.

Prices: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

First, you cannot beat In-N-Out’s prices. A Double-Double cheeseburger is $3.45 and comes with two beef patties with no additives, fillers, or preservatives; two American cheese slices; lettuce; tomato; onions (sliced or grilled); and the special sauce between two toasted buns. It’s the same recipe they have used since 1948, so we’re talking about almost 70 years of an unchanged menu. A Double ShackBurger at Shake Shack costs $8.35—the single is $5.55. It’s served with two all-natural Angus beef patties, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce on a non-GMO potato bun.

Sauces: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

Speaking on the ShackSauce, I cannot explain my distaste for it. I have no idea what’s in it, however the internet tells me that it’s mayo, ketchup, yellow mustard, dill pickles, garlic powder, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne, but for me the garlic flavor comes out too much. On the other hand, In-N-Out’s sauce supposedly contains mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish, Worcestershire sauce, white wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. I’ll take Worcestershire sauce over garlic powder any day.

Toppings: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

I need to take a moment to acknowledge how much lettuce In-N-Out adds to the burgers and how they are so fresh and crunchy, as well as the tomatoes. I never thought I could appreciate lettuce and tomato on a burger, but In-N-Out sure made me a believer.

Fries: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

I will say that although I appreciate the In-N-Out’s fries are not crispy and are fried in cholesterol-free vegetable oil, I cannot deny that Shake Shack’s crinkle cut fries are delicious, as an avid French fry eater. I liked ordering the animal style fries at In-N-Out, but it was a bit much for me. The cheese fries at Shake Shack are more of my speed.

Milkshakes: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

I ordered the black and white shake at In-N-Out, which is chocolate and vanilla, and it tasted malty and well-balanced. Shake Shack may have more flavors, but I find them too decadent and sickeningly sweet for my liking. However, Shake Shack does make a mean lemonade, and I will give them that.

Simple really can be better sometimes, and I completely respect In-N-Out for not going public. Even if it would mean more money for them, I believe that it compromises the integrity and quality.