The Secret’s Out: Tracing Carl’s Jr.’s Beef Back to Its Source

As fast food chains go, Carl’s Jr. has always stood out for their juicy, charbroiled burgers. Ask any Carl’s Jr. fan what makes their burgers so craveable, and they’ll likely mention the fresh, high-quality beef. But have you ever wondered exactly where Carl’s Jr. gets all that delicious beef from?

In this article, we’ll follow the trail back and uncover the origins of the beef that built Carl’s Jr.’s empire one burger at a time. We’ll look at how Carl’s Jr. sources beef sustainably, their network of trusted suppliers, and what the future holds as consumer preferences evolve. So let’s slap on our detective hats and get ready to go behind the scenes!

Why It Matters Where Fast Food Chains Source Their Beef

First, it’s important to understand why it even matters where chains like Carl’s Jr. get their beef. Here are some of the key reasons:

  • Food safety – Knowing the supply chain helps ensure proper handling and quality control from farm to restaurant.

  • Sustainability – Understanding suppliers’ practices shows if they use ethical, sustainable farming methods for cattle and land management.

  • Animal welfare – Consumers want assurance that livestock are treated humanely throughout the process.

  • Consumer demand – Today’s customers want quality beef from transparent sources they can feel good about.

  • Cost control – Locking in reliable suppliers gives chains more stable pricing

Okay, let’s start digging to uncover where Carl’s Jr.’s beef originates!

Carl’s Jr.’s Beef Backstory

Carl’s Jr. was founded in 1941 and quickly became known for its charbroiled burgers. To keep up with growing demand over the decades, Carl’s Jr. has contracted with a select group of major beef suppliers.

According to the company all of their beef is

  • 100% Black Angus cattle
  • Raised without added hormones or antibiotics
  • Sourced from reputable U.S. ranchers

This commitment to quality has been a priority since the beginning. Now let’s meet their major suppliers!

The Top Beef Suppliers

To satisfy their high volumes, Carl’s Jr. works closely with a few key beef suppliers:

  • Creekstone Farms – A well-known processor of premium Black Angus beef. They operate their own abattoir and aging facility.

  • Tyson – The meat giant provides some of their air-chilled, bagged frozen fresh beef.

  • Harris Ranch – A family-owned ranch that produces a portion of their fresh and frozen patties.

Carl’s Jr. maintains close relationships with these suppliers to guarantee consistency and cost-efficiency. But they’re also exploring new opportunities.

Grassfed Beef Partnerships

In 2018, Carl’s Jr. began offering grassfed burgers on their menu. But with limited grassfed beef producers in the U.S., they’ve partnered with Australian grassfed beef suppliers to meet this demand.

However, Carl’s Jr. has expressed interest in bringing on American grassfed beef suppliers as availability increases. They recognize the growing consumer demand for locally sourced, grassfed beef options.

How Carl’s Jr. Ensures Responsible Sourcing

Carl’s Jr. implements strict standards for their beef suppliers to ensure responsible sourcing. Their requirements include:

  • Cattle are never given antibiotics or artificial hormones
  • Humane animal handling practices must be followed
  • Suppliers are audited annually for animal welfare

By partnering selectively with companies like Creekstone Farms that meet their protocols, Carl’s Jr. can stand behind their product claims.

Why Fresh, Never Frozen Beef?

You may wonder why Carl’s Jr. advertises their burgers as being made with fresh, never frozen beef. Here are some of the benefits this provides:

  • Maximizes juiciness – No freezing means less moisture lost from meat.

  • Better texture – Frozen beef can damage muscle fibers, causing mushiness.

  • More flavor – Fresh beef retains its natural, beefy flavor.

  • Inventory control – Frequent deliveries mean stores go through beef quickly.

The focus on freshness results in a more tender, flavorful burger.

Behind the Scenes: Patty Production

Once beef is delivered to restaurants, here is the process for crafting Carl’s Jr.’s signature patties:

  • Beef is ground in-house daily into fresh balls of meat.
  • Those beef balls are then pressed into various patty sizes by hand.
  • Thickness ranges from thin smashburger-style to 3/4 pound.
  • Patties are then grilled to order on their iconic charbroilers.

This approach allows for maximum freshness in every bite.

Quality Control Standards

To maintain quality, Carl’s Jr.’s suppliers must adhere to the brand’s testing protocols:

  • Regular audits to ensure animal welfare, sanitation, etc.
  • Testing for microbial and chemical hazards
  • Following all applicable regulations

By controlling their supply chain, Carl’s Jr. can offer a consistent product customers expect.

Why People Crave Carl’s Jr. Burgers

With traceability and oversight built into their beef supply operations, it’s no wonder Carl’s Jr. burgers have such devoted fans. Here’s what keeps people coming back:

  • Fresh beef – Never-frozen patties made daily from premium cuts.

  • Charbroiled – Burgers are grilled over an open flame for great flavor.

  • Custom options – Choose from various patty styles, toppings, buns, etc.

  • Quality control – Rigorous standards ensure safety and consistency.

  • Classic taste – That charbroiled flavor is hard to replicate anywhere else!

Carl’s Jr. has earned their reputation for mouthwatering burgers by being selective about their beef.

The Future of Beef at Carl’s Jr.

As consumer preferences evolve, Carl’s Jr. continues to adapt their beef offerings. They plan to increase grassfed beef options as supply allows. And they are looking at adding alternative proteins like plant-based burgers.

But their focus remains on quality, transparency, and showcasing their beef. They recognize that responsibly sourced beef is important to consumers, and they are committed to meeting those expectations now and in the future.

The Bottom Line

So there you have it — we followed the trail all the way from ranch to restaurant to uncover where Carl’s Jr.’s famous beef comes from! By being selective in their suppliers and strict in their standards, Carl’s Jr. can deliver quality burgers that customers expect.

Next time you’re craving a fresh charbroiled burger, you can appreciate just how much care goes into sourcing and cooking that patty at Carl’s Jr. So grab a seat, fire up the broiler, and get ready to savor a classic Carl’s Jr. burger!

Carl’s Jr. Burger


What type of beef does Carl’s Jr use?

100% Angus Beef, melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup, served on a potato bun. 2,000 Calories is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs may vary. For more nutritional or allergen information click here.

What is Carl’s Jr. Beyond Meat made of?

A Beyond Burger, however, includes: water, pea protein, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavors, dried yeast, cocoa butter and methylcellulose; it also contains less than 1% of potato starch, salt, potassium chloride, beet juice color, apple extract, pomegranate concentrate, …

Where was Carl’s Jr made?

Carl Karcher, the Ohio farm boy with an eighth-grade education, turned a hot dog stand into a food empire. The first Carl’s Jr. restaurants opened in Anaheim and Brea in 1956. He loved open flame cooking, so he insisted on charbroiling burgers at his restaurants.

Does Carl’s Jr freeze their meat?

revealed that the restaurant’s beef burgers are cooked from frozen (per Quora). “It goes through the char broiler (like a pizza oven) and comes out perfectly done medium well,” the former manager states. It’s for this reason that it’s not possible to customize the doneness of your burger at Carl’s Jr., he explains.

Is Carl’s A Natural Burger?

In December 2014, Carl’s Jr. introduced the All-Natural Burger, featuring an all-natural, grass-fed, free-range beef patty that has no added hormones, antibiotics, or steroids – the first major fast-food chain to offer an all-natural beef patty on the menu.

How many Carl’s Jr locations are there?

Started in 1941 by Carl and Margaret Karcher with a hot dog stand in Los Angeles, California, there are now over 1,200 Carl’s Jr. locations, including locations in China. Like many fast-food establishments, Carl’s Jr. is constantly making changes to its menu, in order to attract new customers and maintain its current customer base.

Who owns Carl’s Jr & Red Burrito?

Chloe Effron CKE Restaurants, which is still based in California, is the parent company of restaurant chains Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Green Burrito, and Red Burrito. In 1997, CKE Restaurants acquired Hardee’s, the fast-food chain predominantly in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast, for $327 million.

Why did Carl’s Jr win a Burger?

Stay classy, Carl. The semi-official explanation is that Gurley did many takes with a real burger, but they used CGI on the one they liked best. The internet loved it, as it went viral, so in the end Carl’s Jr. won again. If you’re selling stuff and you take a political stand, you’ve got a chance at ticking off half your customers.

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