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Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s Becomes First Fast Food Chain to Pile Boneless Ribs on a Burger

And if you think this reeks of “Shark Tank,” you’re someone who makes weird logical leaps, but you’re also right.

Carl's Jr. Baby Back Rib Burger

When there are no new frontiers to cross; indeed, when man’s tendency toward expansion has allowed him to conquer even the far reaches of the globe, when his gifts for science and manufacturing have simplified life for nearly all modern Americans, when his near-limitless thirst for knowledge has led him to the outer edges of our very cosmos, is there anything left to do but to start piling meats on top of other meats?

We say unto you: Nay.

This week, sister fast food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have unveiled the latest addition to their line of burgers, and become the first quick service restaurant to feature boneless baby back ribs (as opposed to McRib-style ground pork pucks) on top of their burgers.

Available at participating Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s locations nationwide beginning April 26, the “Baby Back Rib Burger” features whole charbroiled boneless baby back ribs, dipped in sweet Cattleman’s Original BBQ Sauce. The ribs are then stacked on a hamburger patty, topped with crispy onion strings and pickles, and served on a brioche bun.

“We’ve pioneered many iconic burgers over the years,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. “But no other chain has ever before put [ribs on a burger, and] it’s a combination that tastes amazing together. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to get real, boneless, baby back ribs, but our friends at ‘Shark Tank’ helped us out by investing in a start-up company that did just that.”

Did your brain just make that record-skipping sound? That’s probably to alert you that this story just took an unusual turn. That’s right: the same panel of game show “investors” who sell sponges shaped like smiley faces in big multimedia display units at Bed, Bath, and Beyond have (finally!) gotten their arthritic hands into the fast food burger business.

The “Baby Back Rib Burger” uses ribs officially and exclusively supplied by Bubba’s-Q™ Boneless Ribs, an Ohio-based BBQ restaurant and online store owned and operated by former Detroit Lions’ football star Al “Bubba” Baker, because after a man ends his career with the NFL, his fancy naturally turns to pit-mastery. The company appeared on a 2013 episode of ABC’s show “Shark Tank,’ when “Shark” and “Tracksuit Enthusiast” Daymond John made a deal with Bubba to invest in the brand. A short four years later? Ribs on your burger, son.

The “Baby Back Rib Burger” will be available as a single patty burger for $5.59, a double burger patty for $6.79, and as a 100 percent Black Angus beef, 1/3-lb. Thickburger for $6.79, all of which can be ordered as a combo meal with fries and a drink starting at $8.19. Prices may vary by location.

Written by Malcolm Bedell

Malcolm is the author of "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as a frequent contributor to Serious Eats, Down East Magazine, The L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. When not poisoning his body with garbage and then posting sardonic commentary about it on the Internet, he also owns and operates the 'Wich, Please food truck, named Eater.com's "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015.

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