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Carl's Jr.

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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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    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?

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked 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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    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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    The 1980s were the beginning of tough times for one of the worlds largest burger chains. Carl Karcher had built the little hot-dog cart he purchased for $311 in 1941 into a successful West Coast hamburger chain 600 units strong; but his luck was about to change. Carl took his company public, then opened several Carl's Jr. restaurants in Texas. The bottom line for the Texas stores fell way below expectations, and the stock began to skid. In 1988 Carl was charged with insider trading for selling stock just before its price fell, and he paid almost $1 million in fines. When poor Southern California real estate investments left him million of dollars in debt, Carl was desperate to find a way out of the hole. He proposed to the board of directors that Carl's Jr. should sell Mexican food. The board voted to fire Carl instead, and the man with the vision was ousted from the very company he had founded.

    For this reduced-fat clone of an excellent chicken sandwich, well make the ranch dressing from scratch with fat-free ingredients. Then well use a special Top Secret Recipes baking technique of the fat we can't avoid when frying.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total Servings–4
    Calories–580 (Original–620)
    Fat–11g (Original–29g)

    Source: Low-Fat 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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    Eight weeks after the board of directors locked seventy-six-year old Carl Karcher out of his office in 1993, he was engineering a takeover of the "Happy Star" company that he had built over five decades. Crafty Carl found financier William P. Foley to assume his debts in exchange for stock and take control of the company as the new chairman of the board. Carl was named chairman emeritus and finally got his desk back. His plan to sell Mexican food at Carl's Jr. restaurants was later adopted and became a huge success for the chain, and almost all of the executives who had fired him have since left the company.

    Here's one of Carl's delicious sandwiches that we can clone with much fewer fat grams by using turkey bacon, fat-free mayonnaise, and fat-free Swiss cheese. These substitutions for full-fat ingredients can bring the fat down from twenty-nine grams to just over ten without compromising that distinctive Carl's Jr. taste.

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–366 (Original–570)
    Fat per serving–10.5g (Original–29g)

    Source: Low-Fat 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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    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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    Helping Carl's Jr. rebound from its sales slump was a series of TV commercials featuring over sauced sandwiches that splattered ketchup and mayo onto floors, clothes, and shoes. The tag line, "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face," made sloppy synonymous with tasty.

    If you look forward to messing up your clean clothes but don't need all the saturated fat that usually comes with this drippy fare, you'll want to give this clone a try. The fat-free ranch dressing saves you from oodles of nasty fat grams, and then the special baking technique that clones the taste and texture of deep frying eliminates a bunch more.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–660 (Original–720)
    Fat per serving–19g (Original–36g)

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

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