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6 Fast-Food Chains That Actually Grill Their Burgers

If you're after that smoky, charbroiled flavor, look no further.

No matter how you flip it, burgers are delicious. However, they can taste differently based on freshness and how you cook them. For example, many places, such as Shake Shack, use a flat-top griddle to cook their burgers. Others grill theirs using an open flame. Both ways are delicious, but the latter is the way to go if you prefer a distinctly smoky flavor.

From popular fast-food chains like Burger King, which has been cooking its burgers over an open flame since day one, to other restaurants that offer a long list of charbroiled burger options, here are six fast-food chains that actually grill their burgers. Keep these in mind the next time you want a smoky burger but don't feel like firing up the grill.

Burger King

Burger King's Whopper & fries
Deutschlandreform / Shutterstock

Burger King has been flame-cooking its burgers since it opened in 1954—now that's impressive. Each burger is made from 100% beef with no fillers, preservatives, or additives. Burger King also prides itself on using top-notch toppings, such as fresh tomatoes and onions sliced in-store daily and pickles and mayonnaise with no artificial flavors. According to its website, the fast-food chain welcomes over 11 million customers into its locations every single day, making a delicious, high-quality burger all the more important.

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Carl's Jr.

carls jr beyond burger
Photo: Kaley Roberts / Eat This, Not That!

Carl's Jr., the West Coast-based chain famous for its delicious burgers, has a long list of charbroiled items on its menu. Choose from the Single Famous Star, featuring a charbroiled 100% all beef patty with melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, sliced onions, dill pickles, mayo, and Special Sauce, the El Diablo, which has bacon and jalapeno poppers, and about a dozen other options. Beyond burgers, the popular chain, which has over 1,000 locations throughout the United States, also offers loaded breakfast burritos, hand-breaded chicken sandwiches, and tasty sides, like natural-cut french fries and fried zucchini.

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hardees 2/3 lb monster thickburger
Photo: Hardee's / Facebook

If Hardee's branding and menu look familiar to Carl's Jr., it's because the two are owned by the same parent company. Hardee's, found mainly in the Southern, Midwestern, and Eastern United States, also has charbroiled burgers like its sister chain. Choose from the Frisco Burger, which is made with 100% Angus beef patty, bacon, melted Swiss cheese, tomatoes, and mayonnaise, stacked on toasted sourdough bread, the Monster, made with two beef patties, four bacon strips, and three slices of American cheese, and more.

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The Habit Burger and Grill

Habit Burger Grill bacon
Habit Burger Grill / Facebook

The Habit Burger Grill, which started as a beloved family-owned local burger joint in Santa Barbara, Calif., in the 1960s, has grown into a well-known chain with over 300 locations nationwide. Although its menu is pretty stacked with tasty options—grilled chicken sandwiches, barbecue chicken salads, and ahi tuna filets, to name a few—it's best-known for its chargrilled burgers that are cooked over an open flame.

The restaurant also commits to using high-quality ingredients across the board. Here, you can expect burgers made from 100% pure ground beef free of additives, preservatives, and fillers, sushi-grade ahi tuna sourced from the South Pacific, and USDA Choice tri-tip steak bursting with flavor.

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BGR burger
Photo: BGR Burgers Grilled Right / Facebook

BGR stands for "burgers grilled right," so you can bet each BGR burger will have that delicious smoky open-flame flavor. The chain, which has locations in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Utah, and Virginia, cooks its burgers over an open flame and makes each menu item using only the finest meats and freshest ingredients, per its website. Options like a bacon cheeseburger, Wagyu truffle burger, and Bison Chipotle Burger are clear winners, but you can also create your own burger if you prefer. Each burger is also served on your choice of bread, including a brioche bun, pretzel bun, gluten-free bun, or lettuce wrap if you're looking for a carb-free option.

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Dairy Queen

dairy queen burger
Photo: Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen has been making delicious dishes and desserts, including its tasty burgers and Blizzards, for over 80 years. According to Redditors, some Dairy Queen locations use a flame broiler while others cook burgers on a flat-top grill. "It depends on the store, my store actually has a flat top grill but some have the Neico grill and some have a newer system that's safer than the Neico," one user posted in a thread dedicated to how DQ cooks its patties. Another Redditor who works at Dairy Queen shared, "We are still cooking ours on a flame grill, nothing changed."

Brittany Natale
Brittany Natale is a food and lifestyle writer. Read more about Brittany