We tried the ‘vile and amazing’ tacos that Jack in the Box sells millions of every year

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Jack in the Box made headlines this week for its most popular item, a pair of tacos that costs just 99 cents. The fast-food chain, famous for its burgers, sells 554 million tacos a year – or about 1,055 units a minute – according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal.

You might also be surprised to learn that these pockets of beef filling, cheese, lettuce, and salsa have been called “vile and amazing.” One customer compared the taco to a “wet envelope of cat food.” And yet, the customer told the Journal he’s become addicted to the company’s deep-fried hangover food.

We visited a Jack in the Box location in downtown San Francisco to try out he tacos. Here’s what we thought.


People across the US can’t stop eating the tacos at Jack in the Box, a fast-food restaurant chain with locations in almost a dozen states — despite the tacos’ abhorrent reputation.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: Wall Street Journal


The moment we peeled our soggy taco envelopes from the bag, we knew this could go one of two ways: Either it was a delicious grease-fest, or a nauseating caloric adventure.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

It was not love at first sight.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Every Jack in the Box taco gets its start at one of three plants in Texas or Kansas. The tortillas, made of stone-ground white corn, are filled with beef, shrink-wrapped, and frozen.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

When they arrive at restaurants, cooks dump the pre-filled tortillas into a deep fryer, giving them their crusty outer rims. The meat clumps in the center.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

A slice of American cheese, a dollop of salsa, and shredded lettuce top it off.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

I sunk my teeth in, and my worst fears were realized.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

It tasted just as The Wall Street Journal had warned, like a wet envelope of cat food.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: The Wall Street Journal


The ingredients had congealed, but the beans — flavorless and mushy — stood out.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

That is, until a friend said, “I don’t think there are any beans.” It was beef, pummeled into a fine grain, that I was tasting. The seasoning did provide a nice spicy kick, however.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The lettuce, which was wet with a mild salsa, spilled out the sides.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

I wondered whose idea it was to put a slice of American cheese in a taco. (You can make out its edges in the image below.) The distinctive taste clashed with the Mexican theme.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The tortilla acted like a sponge, sopping up the salsa, oil, and beef juice. Surprisingly, it didn’t leak or tear much. I have a feeling this thing could double as a Frisbee.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

When I ripped the taco open, the ingredients stuck to the sides of the shell, which did not seem natural. After eating about half, my stomach signaled it was time to tap out.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

I took some tacos back to the office to share with my coworkers. A few agreed to try it, and promptly declined upon seeing the item unwrapped. Two brave souls gave it a whirl …

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

“This one’s extra wet, OK. This one’s been stewing,” said Chris Sanchez, an evening news intern and a Jack in the Box fan, as he opened a taco.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Chris said he keeps coming back for more because of the taco’s medley of textures. But he warned that it should always be eaten while it’s still hot — or it needs to be tossed.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider


Nathan McAlone, associate tech editor, wolfed one down in seconds. He said it “wasn’t that bad,” but conceded that is was “worse than Taco Bell.”

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

For dirt cheap tacos, they were still pretty nasty. I enjoyed my fair share of Taco Bell in college, but I couldn’t find a single merit in Jack in the Box’s rendition.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

At Jack in the Box, you get what you pay for.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider