Review: Southwest Patty Melt from Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.

Enter the Southwest Patty Melt from Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., featuring a 1/4 pound, charbroiled beef patty sandwiched between two thick slices of toasted sourdough bread with pepper-Jack cheese, grilled onions, sliced jalapenos and what the company calls “…a spicy Santa Fe sauce”. They also have a 1/3 pound and Six-Dollar version of this new fare. As a long time aficionado of the Thickburger, I felt more than qualified to take on this bad boy and free that little voice inside all of us that goes “Om nom nom” while chowing down on something delicious.

$6.89 plus sales tax will get you a medium combo with your choice of fries and drink. I, of course, chose curly fries. It will also get you 620 calories and 39 grams of fat, but on to the good stuff. The very first bite seemed a little chewy, as if the sourdough could have benefited from a longer toasting. The burger was thoroughly cooked, however, and was right in line with the expectation of Thickburgery goodness. While the meat itself was flavorful and well done, I found the Santa Fe sauce lacking. To be perfectly honest, and to expose a little bit of my own ignorance, I thought it was mayonnaise at first. There was not a whole lot of flavor there and the sauce definitely did not have any kick to it despite the clear implication advertised by its producer. The sauce seemed a rather half-hearted attempt to keep the burger from being too dry, which it did admittedly accomplish.

The pepper-Jack was adequate to be fair. Not overwhelming or disappointing in any way, but it did make its subtle presence known and held the sourdough together well. Thankfully, there were other toppings to remedy the somewhat bland sauce and lackluster cheese. A modest spread of jalapenos on top of the burger gave everything a small kick of much-needed heat, warming up the palate slightly but not enough to be painful or for there to be any lingering spiciness once the entire thing had been consumed. Lastly, between the underside of the patty and the bottom slice of cheese we have the grilled onions. What I consider this burger’s saving grace, by adding grilled onions rather than rings of the raw vegetable Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. went a long way towards living up to the name Southwest. They gave the burger an understated but bold flavor and rescued the whole presentation from sub-par taste that is all too common in fast food nowadays.

All in all, I would say this was a good buy. Not a culinary masterpiece by any means, but it was filling and did not leave any bad impressions behind. I was only slightly disappointed and all of that being the lack of flavor and spice in the Santa Fe sauce. Go out and try it, but I recommend extra jalapenos if you are looking for something to make your eyes water. There is even a Hardee’s coupon for $1.00 off to entice you to go for the combo.

Pros: Tasty Thickburger quality, jalapenos.

Cons: Bland sauce, forgettable cheese quality, mild spice.

Taste: 6.50/10
Value: 7.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.75/10
Price: $3.19/Burger, $6.89/Medium combo (purchased at Hardee's for this review)

Overall GrubGrade: 6.00/10

More Info: Hardees.com, CarlsJr.com
Nutrition Facts:
Southwest Patty Melt
Calories - 620
Total Fat -350 Calories/39 grams
Saturated Fat - 13 grams
Cholesterol - 90 milligrams
Sodium - 1640 milligrams
Carbs - 43 grams
Sugars - 7 grams
Dietary Fiber - 4 grams
Protein - 30 grams

22 comments on “Review: Southwest Patty Melt from Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.

  1. Brent P. says:

    I have been keeping my eye on this one to see if you guys reviewed it. I might have to give it a try next time I am at Hardees.

  2. Dan says:

    Not sure if its still done this way, but back when I worked at Hardee’s, right around the time they introduced the Frisco line, the machine used to toast the sourdough consisted of a small tray of melted “butter” with a wheel along the length to butter the slices. It was then dropped into a vertical toaster, butter side toward the middle, which had a teflon sheet that covered the heating surface. It could be that there wasn’t enough “butter” added to the bread that resulted in it being under-toasted.

  3. Mitchery says:

    Makes me want to go find a Hardee’s.

  4. Chefprotoss says:

    Nice review. I think I will stick to the Frisco melt. Actually a Frisco melt plus jalapenos would kick serious ass. I’m gonna do that from now on.

  5. Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

    At Carl’s Jr., you can get this as a Six-Dollar Burger, Single, or Double. They don’t do Thickburgers, so I’m not sure of the patty size. Judging by the difference in nutritional information compared with Hardee’s, it’s neither a 1/4 lb or 1/3 lb patty.

    Anyone know what size they use?

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah this specific burger was purchased at a Hardee’s and it’s a 1/4lb Thickburger. Good question on the sizes of Carl’s vs Hardee’s. All ingredients being the same, the only difference is the burger patty.

      At Hardee’s
      The 1/4lb Southwest Patty Melt – 245 grams, 620 calories and 39 grams of fat
      The 1/3lb Southwest Patty Melt – 280 grams, 730 calories and 46 grams of fat
      Six Dollar Southwest Patty Melt – 336 grams, 890 calories and 63 grams of fat

      At Carl’s Jr.
      The Single Southwest Patty Melt – 253 grams, 750 calories and 54 grams of fat
      The Double Southwest Patty Melt – 320 grams, 940 calories and 68 grams of fat
      Six Dollar Southwest Patty Melt – 305 grams, 890 calories and 63 grams of fat

  6. rob says:

    Too expensive they need to drop the price

    • `Raiders757 says:

      I agree, and it’s partly why I rarely ever eat at Hardee’s anymore. Oddly, another reason was their slurping gruff voice over sexist commercials that also kept me away. I couldn’t stand the voice over guy, the slurping, paper crinkling, and questioned how stupid they thought I must be to think I would fall for some sexy hot babe eating a greasy fast food burger. Every time they came on my TV, I felt foul and turned off. I never thought a gruff voice over guy and nasty slurping sounds could turn me off to a sexy babe, but it did. Easily some of the worst fast food adds ever.

  7. BlankVerse says:

    I’ve ordered this sandwich several times. My local Carl’s Jr. literally covers the burger patty with jalapeños, which is probably 4x what you got.

    I’ve even tried the patty melt with double grilled onions once. Although I usually like lots of onion, I think that the standard version got the right amount of onions this time.

    The Southwest sauce really needs a little more kick to it. I’m thinking of always carrying around a personal bottle of Tapatío with me for instances like this. [Or I could just order a box of 500 Tapatío packets directly from their website for $25. ;)]

  8. Charlotte says:

    I actually lol’ed when I saw the four jalapenos!

  9. ljay says:

    Had the 1/3 lb version a few days ago and it was fairly tasty. For some reason their 1/3 lb burgers hit me as just the right meat/bun/condiment ratio for most of their burgers.

    BUT, the sourdough bun was more “soggish” then toasted on the exterior and I think that certainly detracted from the overall experience.

    On the price. In my area there are new Hardees coupons every week including $1.00 off any thickburger and even a bogo on this particular sandwich. So if I ordered 2 that would bring the price down to around $1.98 each. Not bad.

  10. JF says:

    Ever since I first had Carls Jr. (in California on a business trip) and since moving to Colorado where they have locations, to me, they have been the best of FF business.

    Of course I think everyone knows BK and the have it your way, and I’m sure CJ would do the same, but figured I’d ask.

    Will CJ customize sandwiches? Specific to this, I do not like Jalapenos, so would the serve me one without? I am sold without them and could just ask next time I go and if they decline (like a local Taco Bell did… much to my surprise) I’d just get something else.

    • Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

      Yeah, they should let you customize your sandwich as you please.

      Also, I would email Taco Bell corporate and tell them which store didn’t let you customise your meal. I’m sure they would like to hear about it and get in touch with the manager. They may even comp you something.

    • Yes, JF, you can customize any of the Carl’s Jr. burgers or sandwiches. Order it with no jalapenos so we can make your taste buds happy.

      • JF says:

        Thanks. I pretty much figured that, but never ordered anything from CJ that I wanted to customize. But aside from the Jalapenos, this sounds so good! So I’ll give it a try!

        And yes, I have tried Jalapenos before and they are too hot for me (sorry, I’m a wuss)! lol

  11. pat reardon says:

    The recent Southwest Burger advertisement by Carl’s Jr is an insult to women. I though sexist misuse of women in advertising was a thing of the past but Carl’s Jr has resurected those old feelings of misuse of women. Certainly I have never seen a GUY holding a burger in the front seat of a car, with his male crotch shot showing a burger warming his gonads. like I have submitted, this is a Shame on you Carl’s Jr blemish!

  12. […] Good also reviewed the Southwest Patty Melt (and got 17 jalapeño slices!), as did GrubGrade, Brand Eating and An Immovable […]

  13. Casey says:

    I saw the commercial a few weeks back and didn’t get to try it until tonight, an,OMG!!!! First off, the bun was excellent… Toasted perfectly, the patty was cooked thoroughly and was juicy, it had the 2 pisces of cheese which was perfect, the sauce was awesome, had a good kick to it, reminded me of the jalapeno sauce put on the quesodilla’s at taco bell, and the jalapenos were plentiful, the whole top of the sandwich was covered, jalapeno in every bite, then lastly, the grilled onions were done just right and not mush, and not crunchy. It was the perfect sandwich, and my new favorite. Btw, I had the 1/4lb from the Hardee’s in Ocoee, TN.