“Vile And Amazing”: Fans Of Jack In The Box Tacos Defend Their Undying Devotion

Image courtesy of Jared W. Smith

There are some experiences that experiences that are difficult to explain to those who haven’t had firsthand knowledge — being pregnant, how it feels to fly in a dream, or eating a taco from Jack in the Box, something Americans do 554 million times every year. This, despite the fact that the deep-fried, American-cheese filled tortillas have been called, “stale, greasy, spicy, crunchy, saucy, and just plain strange,” among other things.

According to a Wall Street Journal piece — that’s worth a read even if just for its excellent lede — Jack in the Box’s tacos have a huge cult following, even though everyone agrees they’re basically piles of soggy, beefy garbage.

“More than 1,000 times a minute, someone bites into what has been described as a wet envelope of cat food — and keeps eating,” writes the WSJ’s Russell Adams.

These are far from haute cuisine: every single taco comes from one of three plants in Texas and Kansas. Corn tortillas are cut, cooked, and filled with a beef mixture, then shrink-wrapped, frozen, and shipped to stores. Once there, they’re fried, topped with American cheese, lettuce, and hot sauce, and served to customers. Each one has 172 calories, with about half of those calories coming from fat.

Several fans weighed in on their improbable love, sounding baffled by their own devotion to the tacos.

The customer who used “stale, greasy,” and other not-so-great descriptors to explain her first impression of the taco said she took two bites and then threw the rest aside, wondering, “Who puts a slice of American cheese in a taco?”

A few minutes later, she finished the two tacos she’d purchased.

“I was like, ‘I must have more. This is vile and amazing,’” she said.

The man who likened the tacos to moist pet fate says he first tried them 10 years ago on his way home from a bar.

“I remember pulling it out of the sleeve, and even though I was drunk I was like, ‘I shouldn’t eat this.’ But damn it was good,” he told the WSJ. “I’ve been addicted to them ever since.”

His advice? Don’t look at it too long before you eat it.

The tacos have proven popular among celebrities and restaurateurs as well, including one restaurant owner who adapted the menu item for his popular Hollywood eatery.

Even a guy who immediately regretted his to eat 50 Jack in the Box tacos in one sitting — quitting after 42 — says he’ll never give the tacos up.

“It’s strange. You’d think you’d be able to get higher quality tacos elsewhere,” he said. “But yet you want these tacos.”

The San Diego-based chain isn’t surprised at the strange appeal of the tacos.

“Despite some unusual qualities, Jack in the Box hears from a lot of customers that the tacos are close to authentic,” said Jen Kennedy, director of product marketing.

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