Jack In The Box’s new Burger Dippers ask: Is a hamburger a French fry?

Photo: jetcityimage (iStock)

If someone asks whether you want fries with your burger, you know what they’re referring to: fried potatoes. Maybe at some establishments, those fries are waffle-shaped, or made from sweet potatoes. But still, in essence, they’re fried potatoes. Within the last year though, fast-food chains have stretched the ontological boundaries of fries to encompass everything from doughnuts to now, burgers. Yes, Jack In The Box would like to convince you that burgers themselves can be fries.

Burger Dippers
Photo: Jack In The Box
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We first sounded the alarm about this troubling fry-ification trend last April, when Dunkin’ announced its Donut Fries. (McDonald’s followed up with its own version called Donut Sticks, which at least stops short of calling these dough logs “fries.”) Now comes the most bizarre non-fry fry of all: Jack In The Box’s Burger Dippers.

These fried meat sticks are currently only being tested in Sacramento through March 31, where they’re advertised as “the burger you eat like a fry.” According a Jack In The Box spokesperson, the Burger Dippers (four per order) are available as part of a $6 Munchie Meal Box combo or a la carte for $2.50.

Not to yuck anyone’s yum, but there are a few inherent issues with Burger Fries:

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  • Not every fried stick is a fry; Burger Dippers resemble mozzarella sticks, which no one calls “cheese fries.”
  • According to the fine print on the Jack In The Box menu sign, Burger Dippers’ sauce “is available on request.” Hold up, customers have to ask for sauce with an item called Dippers? I call bullshit. That sauce should be included.
  • Are customers supposed to order a Jack In The Box burger… and a side of Burger Dippers? Or are they a burger-ish item to supplement an order that does not already include a burger? Its practical uses are unclear.
  • Lest we forget, burgers are already dippable. There is nothing to stop you from dipping the edge of your burger in the condiment of your choice, right this very moment.
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This humble food site is drawing a line in the sand, which is turns out is not sand but just tiny crumbled bits of crispy batter: Not everything fried in a stick shape is a fry. Fried potatoes are “fries;” Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries are fries because they’re still fried potatoes, but with spicy sauce. Burger Dippers… are not fries. However, nomenclature aside, if we stumbled upon these at Jack In The Box, we would probably order what appears to be a fast-food version of Beef Wellington.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.