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Carl's Jr.

Good job. You just found recipes for all your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV Host Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home for less money than eating out. Todd’s recipes are easy to follow and fun to make! Find your favorite copycat recipes from Carl's Jr. here. New recipes added every week.

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    In 1975 Hardee's opened its 1,000th restaurant. The 2,000th unit was opened in 1983, and shortly after that, in 1988, the 3,000th unit opened its doors. This pattern of expansion has continued: a new Hardee's restaurant now opens on the average of one each workday. With the acquisition of the Roy Rogers chain in 1990, Hardee's neared the 4,000-unit mark, ringing up system-wide sales of more than $3 billion. This is a chain that has come a long way since its first menu in 1961, which contained only eight items, including fifteen-cent hamburgers and ten-cent soft drinks.

    As part of its continuing effort to offer nutrition-conscious customers a range of menu choices, Hardee's was one of the first of the "Big Four" burger chains to switch to low-calorie mayonnaise for its sandwiches. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    For decades, Carl’s Jr. has effectively cornered the market on fried zucchini at major fast food chains by serving a great crispy breaded version that’s flavorful all the way through. Now you can make zucchini that tastes just as good, as long as you know the secret step that other fried zucchini recipes miss. It makes all the difference.

    The secret is a brine. I found that this fried zucchini tastes best when it takes a salted water bath before breading. In 60 minutes, the salt in the brine is absorbed by the zucchini, spreading good flavor all the way through. After the brine, the zucchini is rinsed, coated twice with flour and once with seasoned breadcrumbs, and fried to a beautiful golden brown.

    I’m giving you a couple choices here. You can make the recipe all the way through and serve it immediately, or if you want to serve it later, you can par-fry the zucchini and freeze it for several days. After that, when an occasion arises, a couple minutes is all it takes to finish off the dish and serve it. This recipe makes enough for a small gathering, but you can easily cut it in half for a more intimate hang.

    Click here for more amazing Carl's Jr. copycat recipes. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    In 2001 this West Coast chain came up with a great idea: clone the type of burger you'd get at a casual restaurant chain such as Chili's or T.G.I. Friday's for around six bucks, but sell it for just $3.95. It's 1/3 pound of ground beef stacked on top of plenty of fixings, including red onion and those sweet-tasting bread-and-butter pickle slices. And the cost of a Six Dollar Burger gets even lower when you make your own version at home. How does less than two bucks grab ya?

    Craving more famous sandwiches from Carl's Jr? Find your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 2

    In the last few years, Carl's Jr. has become one of the fastest-growing fast-food chains in the country. In 1997, the burger joint grew from 930 restaurants in nine states to nearly 3,900 in forty-four states with its purchase of Hardee's hamburger outlets. This makes Carl's Jr. the fourth-largest burger chain in the country, behind McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's.

    One of the unique sandwiches that makes Carl's a popular stop for the lunch crowd is this Charbroiled Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich with the delicious spicy sauce. It's that tasty sauce that give the real thing much of its fat, so by cloning it with nonfat ingredients, we can cut the grease on this sandwich to one-fifth of the original, while keeping all of the flavor.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–305 (Original–530)
    Fat per serving–5.5g (Original–29g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The first days receipts at Carl Karcher's just-purchased hot-dog cart in 1941 totaled $14.75. Peanuts, right? But Karcher was determined to make it big. So during the next two years he purchased several more stands throughout the Los Angeles area, later expanding into restaurants and diversifying the menu. In 1993, what had once been a business of one tiny hot-dog cart had become a multi-million-dollar company with 642 outlets. From $14.75 on the first day to today's $1.6 million in daily receipts, old Carl was on the right track.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    In 1989, Carl's Jr. became the first fast-food chain to allow customers to use their ATM cards to make purchases. Not only can customers buy a Western Bacon Cheeseburger and fries to go without using cash, they can get cash back out of their account.

    Onion rings, bacon, American cheese and tasty barbecue sauce combine to make a manly gut-grinder that can be thoroughly enjoyed during the grilling season, or any time of the year if you use an indoor grill. The sandwich was introduced in 1983, and has since become so successful that it has spawned variations, from a junior version to the monstrous double, both of which are included here. While any barbecue sauce you use for this recipe will work just fine, track down some Bulls-Eye Hickory Smoke flavor barbecue sauce if you want the closest cloned results. This recipe makes one sandwich. Double, triple, and quadruple it as needed based on current hunger requirements.

    This recipe also includes clones for the Junior Western Bacon Cheeseburger and the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

    Source: "More Top Secret Recipes" by Todd Wilbur.

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    It was in Los Angeles in 1941 that Carl Karcher and his wife, Margaret, found a hotdog cart on Florence and Central for sale for $326. They borrowed $311 on their Plymouth, added $15 of their own, and bought the brightly colored stand. Although the sign on this first stand read "Hugo's Hot Dogs," Karcher began purchasing more carts, painting on them "Carl's Hot Dog's." In 1945 Karcher opened his first drive-thru restaurant, which he named "Carl's Drive-In Barbecue." In 1956 he opened two smaller restaurants in Anaheim and Brea, California, and used the Carl's Jr. name for the first time.

    With 630 units as of 1991, the chain's trademark smiling star can be seen throughout the West and Southwestern United States, as well as in Mexico, Japan, and Malaysia. The chain has come a long way from the days when Karcher used to mix the secret sauce in twenty-gallon batches on his back porch. Carl's Jr. takes credit for introducing salad bars to fast-food restaurants back in 1977. Today, salads are regular fare at most of the major chains.

    Carl's top-of-the-line hamburger is still the flame-broiled Famous Star, one of several products that has made Carl's Jr. famous. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    If you love crispy chicken sandwiches—and especially if you don't live in the West where this chain is located—you'll want to try out this clone of the tasty Carl's Jr. creation. The recipe makes four of the addicting chicken sandwiches from the California-based fast-food chain, but will also come in handy for making a delicious homemade ranch dressing. Try using some lean turkey bacon, fat-free Swiss cheese, and fat-free mayonnaise if you feel like cutting back on the fat. 

    Find more of my copycat Carl's Jr. recipes here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    This fried chicken breast sandwich includes lettuce and tomato, and is slathered with a clone of Carl's tasty ranch dressing. We'll use elements of the Carl's Jr. Bacon Swiss Crispy Chicken Sandwich clone recipe to whip up this variation of the Carl's Jr. crispy chicken sandwiches. Use both of these sandwich hacks to serve up two different sandwich clones for different tastes, with little extra effort.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.25. Votes: 12

    This is a simple fast food sandwich to clone, and it's one of my favorites to make at home. This sandwich has been around since March of 1991, and has been a popular choice at Carl's Jr. outlets dotting the western United States. Chicken fillets are marinated in teriyaki sauce and grilled. The chicken is then stacked on a whole wheat bun along with American cheese, lettuce, mild green chili peppers and a spicy southwestern-style spread. If you're looking to fire up the barbecue for a little chicken grilling, give this sandwich a go and bring a surprise to the table.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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