When it comes to fast food value, it is hard to argue with what you are getting (and what you are paying) when you visit your nearest Cook Out. The Greensboro, North Carolina-based restaurant chain has been steadily expanding across parts of the Southeast for the past ten years!
Cook Out did not begin to expand outside of North Carolina until after 2009. They have been pushing outward and upward since then. The push has been successful, too, with cars usually wrapping around the building during peak meal hours.
It is hard to argue with their success. From the Cook Out trays to the world-famous Fancy Milkshakes, not only are you getting what you pay for at Cook Out, you are getting quality food that will have you coming back.
But what are the best Cook Out menu items? Trust me on this. My years of lunch break experience have led me to the perfect opportunity to tell you what you should be buying the second you see this affordable burger joint off an Interstate exit.
Do not let yourself get intimidated by the large menu. I am here to break it down and introduce you to the options you should try on your first (second, third, or millionth) visit to the restaurant.
Let’s get started!
The Cook Out tray is the best value in fast food. Cook Out calls it the “best combo in town”, and it is hard to argue with that logic.
You are getting your choice of a burger, two hot dogs, a chicken sandwich, a barbecue sandwich, chicken strips, or even a quesadilla on top of two sides and a drink (or milkshake, and more on that later) for one low price.
The sides are the star of particular note here. You get your standard side of french fries, but you can also get a corn dog, a handful of chicken nuggets, a BBQ sandwich, onion rings, hushpuppies, wraps, cheese bites, a quesadilla, slaw, or chili.
You might be getting a burger to start, but the sides are where this meal shines brightly.
This menu item is unique and full of value because of the endless number of combinations. Best of all, you can double up on sides instead of getting two different sides.
Get this for lunch or dinner if you want to share.
Chopped Pork BBQ
Dude, it’s the south! It would be sacrilegious if a Southern-based restaurant did not include a pork barbecue option on their menu.
Cook Out understood the assignment and created its own chopped pork BBQ. Considering its North Carolina roots, Cook Out went with an eastern NC-style vinegar-based BBQ sauce for this recipe.
With options to get it as just a sandwich or a full plate with coleslaw, fries, and hushpuppies, the pork BBQ is easy to recommend. Not everyone is out for a hamburger at a fast-food joint.
Crispy Spicy Chicken Breast Fillet
The Great Spicy Chicken Sandwich Fast Food Wars of 2019-2020 opened up an entirely new avenue for revenue for fast food restaurants.
Everyone, from Mcdonald’s to Burger King to Chick-fil-A to Popeye’s, was engaged in a vicious battle to create the best Spicy Chicken Sandwich for their customers.
Of course, Cook Out joined the fray with its version.
The sandwich features a fresh tomato slice and a slice of lettuce, so you are getting exactly what you’re seeking.
Pair this with a dose of the Cook Out sauce (don’t skimp on this, I promise you will love it).
Homemade Char-Grilled Hamburgers
I wasn’t going to make this list without mentioning the hamburgers.
The joint has hamburger styles that are legendary and feature four different ways to eat them, each with its special toppings like cheese, chili, BBQ sauce, or A.1. Sauce.
The Cook Out hamburger is juicy and crispy. The burgers are fresh, too, so you are not getting frozen meat slapped on a griddle. Cook Out also cooks the burger on its char-grill, so you know it’s good.
Homemade Style Chicken Strips
Sometimes, getting a meal at Cook Out means getting a quick staple.
This happens, especially if you have kids obsessed with chicken strips or chicken nuggets. Luckily, the restaurant serves both, but we are on the topic of chicken strips.
Cook Out gives you the option to eat your strips individually or on a sandwich served two different ways.
On top of that, you have six sauces outside of ketchup and mustard to choose from if you’re a dipper (and who isn’t).
With the crispiest breading you’ve ever had in your life and healthy portion size, you will leave the restaurant fuller than ever before.
Cook Out’s quesadillas must be pretty delicious if I am singling them out, right? Correct! Points to Gryffindor!
It might be the simplest item on the menu with a flour tortilla and a heaping helping of cheese, but sometimes that is exactly what you want.
The cheese is the perfect blend of gooey and filling that will stick to the line of your stomach like nothing before.
The price is pretty awesome, too. It is great for a quick snack or a kid that is just not quite into the whole fast food experience yet.
Char-Grilled Chicken Breast
It is easy to go to Cook Out and get overwhelmed by the burger selection. It happens to the best of us.
You sometimes just want a juicy and flavorful chicken breast instead. That’s why the Char-Grilled Chicken Breast is on the menu.
Cook Out gives you six different chicken styles and has created the ultimate way to eat a chicken breast without braving the drive-thru lines of that other, more famous fast-food chicken joint.
Phew. I have been holding back on discussing Cook Out’s milkshake selection because there is just too much to share.
Imagine if Willy Wonka decided to drop the whole candy nonsense and went with milkshakes. That is the selection level here.
The Cook Out milkshake features over 40 unique flavors and will be the thing that finally brings you joy in your fast food experience.
The options are pretty standard, with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ready to go. But you can also delve into the peanut butter options or even eggnog if you’re in the mood in December.
Pack your patience, though. Trying to drink this thing when you first receive it will be like trying to drink concrete through a straw. Let it melt a little bit!
Wraps have become a fast-food favorite for those seeking to cut a few carbs out of their diet.
Instead of a bun or bread, a flour tortilla can hold all your meats and veggies in a convenient form.
Well, Cook Out has you covered here with four options to choose from for your wrap needs, including a delicious honey mustard chicken wrap that we have to throw a spotlight on here.
Char-Grilled Hot Dogs
Another fast-food favorite, Cook Out’s char-grilled hot dogs are good enough to highlight here.
You can rock a plain hot dog here. Or, you can go a little crazy and reach for the Cook Out Style Hot Dog.
I would suggest it if you are a fan of a hot dog loaded with chili, mustard, coleslaw, and onions. There are other toppings options to add to your hot dog too.
Have you ever had a religious experience at a fast-food restaurant? Have this hot dog, and you will.
Floats & Cheesecakes
It is easy to think of an ice cream float when you are thinking about a fast-food restaurant.
But a slice of cheesecake? Nah, it is not the first thing or maybe even the 100th thing you’d think about.
Still, Cook Out brings the heat with its slice of New York-style cheesecake. A thick filling and a delicious crust make this an easy suggestion. Even the ice cream float is an incredible item.
Go for the drug store style with soft serve vanilla, and you will swear you have died and gone to heaven.
However, give the Cheerwine float a shot. Cook Out is one of only a handful of fast-food restaurants serving the North Carolina cherry soda on tap.
Cook Out is an amazing gift to the world of fast food. Because of its focus on value and giving the people a quality meal, it’s easy to see why so many people listen to the Gospel of Cook Out and worship at its altar.
If you’ve missed out on the best Cook Out menu items or ignored them for too long, consider this the push you need. Plug “Cook Out” into your GPS app, and go eat! And last but not least, trust me on that tray!
Check out other Southern fast food chains if there’s no Cook Out location near you!