Okay, we all know that fast food isn’t good for us, but let’s be adults: we also like to eat it. There’s just something deeply satisfying about a diet-destroying ultraload of fat, salt, and disposability. However, for every beautiful fast food triumph like In-N-Out Burger, there’s an equally disgusting failure in the dustbin of history. Here’s 20 of the grossest food items ever peddled by fast food purveyors.
The history of Kentucky Fried Chicken is an odd one – when Colonel Harlan Sanders started the franchise in the 1930s, he made a reputation for crispy, delectable poultry at reasonable prices. But when he sold the company in 1964 for $2 million, they quickly morphed into a grease-peddling nightmare that gave the old Colonel fits. Their latest culinary nightmare is the Double Down sandwich, a cheesy, meaty gooey sodium bomb that forgoes the traditional bread for two deep-fried chicken filets.
McDonalds founder Ray Kroc was a man who knew how to identify a market niche. After founding the fast-food industry as we know it, Kroc looked outward to see which markets he was under-exploiting. His answer: Catholics! Forbidden from eating meat on Fridays, they weren’t spending money. Kroc’s solution? The Hulaburger – a standard Mickey D’s burger with a slice of pineapple instead of the patty. Unsurprisingly, this grotesque concoction flopped fast in 1963.
Here’s another cautionary tale of stepping too far outside your comfort zone. Pizza Hut has always had delusions of grandeur, trying to pad their menu out with a variety of quasi-Italian food products, but none have been quite as grotesque as the P’Zone. Loosely based on the calzone, this is basically a triangular Hot Pocket that weighs over a pound, supplies 70% of your daily saturated fat, and is essentially made by folding a pizza in half. Is that something you really want to do to your body?
Wise Guy Burger
Red Robin started out as a regional Seattle chain that actually made pretty high-quality burgers. Then they got bought and went national, and all hell broke loose. Their entry into the Absurdly Disgusting Burger sweepstakes was the Wise Guy – a sort of Mafia-influenced burger that was topped with marinara sauce, pepperoni and three fried mozzarella sticks. With 51 grams of sexy fat, this’ll have you looking like Tony Soprano in no time.
So you go into a fast-food place and are presented with something that looks like McDonalds’ Apple Pie – all flaky, deep-fried crust and hand-filling size. You take a big, eager bite and are rewarded with a mouthful of… tuna? Yes, at Filipino-born chain Jollibee, currently branching out with a few locations in California, you can snack on the seriously nasty Tuna Pie. This is a prank waiting to happen.