|Traditional American fare—just like the American waistline—is looking more than a little pudgy these days. |
Even though some states enjoy healthier reputations than others (Yes, Colorado, we mean you), no state is completely guilt-free when it comes to dishes with huge portion sizes, super-high calorie counts, or sky-high fat content.
So if you want to sample some of these regional favorites on your next road trip, your best bet may be to minimize your portion size. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Getty Images)
|With the second-highest obesity rate in the country—behind only neighboring Mississippi—you’d expect to find some fattening culprits in the deep-fried-bacon-loving south. And Chef Kevin Layton of Greer’s Market, in Mobile, does not disappoint with his bacon-wrapped meatloaf recipe. “People ask for it on a weekly basis,” he told WKRG News in 2008.|
Ingredients: Meatloaf made with ground beef, onion, bell pepper, celery, eggs, breadcrumbs, and seasonings, then wrapped in bacon.
Fat content: One 3-ounce serving of 80% lean meatloaf has roughly 14 grams of fat. Each slice of bacon will cost you an additional 3 grams of fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Kay Steiger)
|Also known as Eskimo Ice Cream, akutaq, (pronounced agoodik or agooduk) is a classic native dish that is still popular today. Traditionally, women made a batch of the frosty treat when the men returned with a freshly killed polar bear or seal. Today, modern versions are usually prepared with Crisco, but traditional recipes called for meat and fat from caribou, moose, bears, seals, and fish.|
Ingredients: Reindeer fat, seal oil, salmonberries, blackberries
Fat content: It’s hard to estimate without a known serving size of this native treat. But consider this: An average serving of reindeer fat packs a whopping 91 grams of fat. A different version made with fish, berries, and seal oil contains 9 grams of fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Donna Moore/Alaskan Misadventures Blog)
|The Grand Canyon State takes celebrating fatty foods to a whole new level at the Heart Attack Grill. Patrons weighing over 350 pounds eat for free. The Quadruple Bypass Burger—estimated by some to be worth 8,000 calories—is at least refreshingly honest about its potential impact on your health.|
|Ingredients: Four beef patties, eight slices of cheese, tomato, onions, sauce, on a bun. |
Fat content: Four patties alone clock in at around 60 grams of fat, which is just about the upper limit of 65 grams that the USDA recommends for the average woman eating 2,000 calories a day. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Quadruple Bypass Burger ®)
|The south is notorious for frying just about anything. For a traditional southern fish fry, Arkansas catfish is an old standby. When you consider that this dish is often served with hush puppies, another southern fried favorite, you can bet you’re reeling in quite a bit of fat along with your fish.|
|Ingredients: Catfish, cornmeal, flour, eggs, seasonings. |
Fat content: This dish is faux fried in the oven and still packs a whopping 25 grams of fat per serving. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Dara Barfield)
|Golden State residents are known for their fit bodies, gym-sculpted abs, and love for In-N-Out Burger. This West Coast drive-thru chain uses fresh ingredients, but its Double Double should also be known for its fat content, nearly double the fat in a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger.|
|Ingredients:Two beef patties, lettuce, tomato, two slices of American cheese, and spread. |
Fat Content:41 grams. A McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger contains a comparably reasonable 23 grams of fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Casey Hussein Bisson)
|While this mountainous state is well known for its healthy reputation—it is the state with the lowest obesity rate in the country—it is home to one of the most giant burritos of all time. Finishing one of Jack-N-Grill’s 7-pound breakfast burritos is such a feat it was featured on an episode of the Travel Channel’s "Man v. Food."|
|Ingredients: 7 potatoes, 12 eggs, a pound of ham, a whole onion, cheese, and chili. |
Fat Content:A pound of ham and 12 eggs alone have nearly 100 grams of fat, almost twice a woman's upper daily limit for fat, and that’s not counting the fat in the cheese and chili. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Kevin Dugan)
|"Man v. Food" also made an appearance at Doogie’s, a hot dog joint outside Hartford. Being a local favorite in Connecticut, the hot dog is available in over 24 places in Hartford alone. Doogie’s has taken the diet-buster to a new level with its 2-foot-long hot dog smothered in half a pound of additional toppings.|
|Ingredients: 2-foot-long pork and beef hot dog, three rolls, onions, peppers, chili, cheddar cheese sauce, and bacon. |
Fat Content:The average foot-long hot dog will set you back about 24 grams of fat, 10 grams of it saturated. But this is double that, plus it has bacon, chili, and cheddar cheese. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Pattie Tierney)
|The First State is known for a deep-fried pastry appetizer stuffed with crabmeat and cheese, similar to the Chinese appetizer crab Rangoon. |
Ingredients: Recipes vary, but most include cooked crab or imitation crabmeat, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, seasonings, and oil for frying.
|Fat Content:Crab is relatively low-fat fare, but many recipes are heavy on butter and mayonnaise. One small puff can have anywhere from 3 grams of fat to 8 grams of fat, and richer recipes can pack as many as 20 grams of fat per serving. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Matthew Hoelscher)|
|The South American influence on Floridian cuisine is impossible to miss. Empanadas are folded meat pies served across the country, but they are particularly popular in the southern part of the Sunshine State. |
Ingredients: The dough is made with lard. The filling is up to the chef, but can range from cheese to veggies to assorted meats.
Fat Content: Various recipes for empanadas place them at around 10 to 22 grams of fat each. Depending on what you choose to put inside, an empanada can slide around on the nutritional value scale. Still, as the dough is usually made with lard, it’s never a low-fat choice. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Istockphoto)
|The story behind the Luther Burger is murky. But the general consensus is that this monstrosity was invented at a suburban bar in Decatur, Ga., and named after R and B legend (and diabetic) Luther Vandross. In 2008 Paula Deen of the Food Network took it one step further by topping it off with a fried egg.|
|Ingredients: Ground-beef patty, topped with cheese and bacon between two donuts instead of a bun. |
Fat Content: The two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts are worth 24 grams of fat and the patty is another 16. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Marshall Astor)
|Legend says the islands’ comfort food dates back to 1949, when a group of hungry teens wanted the owner of Hilo’s Lincoln Grill to whip up something cheap but filling. He reportedly threw together some white rice, a beef patty, and gravy, which came to be known as the Loco Moco.|
|Ingredients: Today, variations abound. The Large at Island Cuisine Maui, a Maui restaurant, has two hamburger patties, two eggs, three scoops of jasmine rice, plus onions, fish, and mushroom gravy. |
Fat Content: Two hamburger patties clock in at 32 grams fat, two eggs have 10 more grams of fat, and a serving of mushroom gravy has about a gram of fat, all of which edge this dish close to the daily recommended limit.(Story: Sarah Klein, Image: mmm-yoso/Flickr)
|In a state known for its potatoes, residents tend to get creative with their spuds, often by adding fatty toppings. The Gem State houses the headquarters of Litehouse Foods, a dressings, sauces, and marinades company. A dollop of sour cream on top of a baked potato looks like a good choice compared to the Bacon Bleu Cheese dressing.|
|Ingredients: Chunky blue cheese dressing, hickory smoked bacon. |
Fat Content: T2 tablespoons contain 16 grams of fat, about the same as an entire Burger King cheeseburger. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Istockphoto)
|Deep-dish pizza, native to Chicago, was born in 1943 at the original Pizzeria Uno’s. Now a nationwide chain, the restaurant continues to serve deep-dish pies, piled high. Guilty of one of the oldest tricks in the book, the restaurant markets pizzas as an “individual” size, but the pie should really serve three. It’s a surefire way to up your fat and calorie intake.|
|Fat Content: One serving of the Cheese and Tomato deep dish has 40 grams of fat, 5 more than your recommended daily limit. Add toppings, like sausage or pepperoni, and that can jump as high as 55 grams of fat per serving! (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Jeff Flowers)|
|The Hoosier State is known for its pork products and festival fare. But Evansville, Ind.’s Hilltop Inn, until recently, was more famous for serving up a fried-brain sandwich that dates back to the days of waste-not German and Dutch settlers. After recent USDA regulations concerning the spread of mad cow disease, the restaurant created a version made from pork brains instead.|
Ingredients:Oil for frying, brain on a bun with pickles and onions.
Fat Content: A 6-ounce scoop of beef brain batter fried up at the Hilltop Inn packed about 24 grams of fat. The pork version is estimated to be closer to around 18 grams. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Tim Schapker)
|In 2006, the hot beef sundae made its debut at the Iowa State Fair. An artery-clogging play on the classic hot fudge sundae, this horror was marketed as “a new twist to an old favorite.” |
Ingredients: Mashed potatoes, roast beef, beef gravy, cheddar cheese, tomato.
|Fat Content: Following the Iowa State Fair recipe at home will dish out a “sundae” with about 28 grams of fat. Commercially prepared recipes may vary. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: cborresen/Flickr)|
|Burnt ends don’t necessarily sound like a delicacy, but in the Kansas barbecue world, the charred ends of a brisket are held in the highest esteem. |
Ingredients: These crunchy cubes are the fatty ends of a barbecued brisket.
|Fat Content: Recipes vary between about 10 to 12 grams of fat per serving. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Luis Ramirez)|
|Everyone’s buzzing about the Double Down, the new bunless sandwich from KFC. Surprisingly, it’s not the fattiest item on this Kentucky-based chain’s menu—the chicken pot pie takes the cake—but it is definitely still among the worst. |
Ingredients: Two fried chicken fillets, bacon, pepper jack and Monterey jack cheese, special sauce.
|Fat Content: 32 grams in one sandwich. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Kenfager.com)|
|A staple at southern cafés is the beignet, a fried dough pastry particularly linked with New Orleans. One of the most popular places to enjoy a beignet is Café Du Monde, a French market–style coffee shop in the Big Easy. There, the fried puffs come covered in powdered sugar in orders of three.|
|Ingredients:Fried dough, powdered sugar. |
Fat Content: Recipes estimate that Café du Monde–style beignets clock in at about 11 grams of fat, the same number as in a McDonald’s cheeseburger. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Alice Mao)
|New England is a bastion of fresh—and healthy—seafood. But seafood restaurants are guilty of transforming these powerhouses of heart-healthy fats into saturated-fat-delivery machines. The lobster roll, a classic in Maine, piles on the mayo and butter.|
|Ingredients: New England is a bastion of fresh—and healthy—seafood. But seafood restaurants are guilty of transforming these powerhouses of heart-healthy fats into saturated-fat-delivery machines. The lobster roll, a classic in Maine, piles on the mayo and butter. |
Fat Content: Recipes vary. The lobster roll at New England sandwich shop D’Angelo clocks in at 22 grams of fat, while a small one at New England pizza chain Papa Gino’s averages about 34 grams. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Jonathan Edwards)
|In 2008, the Old Line State adopted the Smith Island Cake as its official state dessert. The cake gets its name from a remote island in the Chesapeake Bay, home to fewer than 100 year-round residents, and yet the decadent treat became so popular the governor signed the cake into law.|
|Ingredients: At least 10 layers of cake, which can be made from scratch or from a packaged mix, with layers of chocolate icing in between. |
Fat Content=: Most recipes have around 26 grams of fat per serving. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Jane Thomas)
|Rumor has it that Ruth Wakefield made the first chocolate chip cookies in 1937 for Boston-to-New-Bedford travelers who stopped at her home. The butter and sugar many recipes call for aren’t the big problem; the sheer size of some of the modern versions can make them the worst treats around. |
Consider this. The average weight of a commercially prepared cookie is about 12 grams. The weight of this version from fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. is 71 grams.
Ingredients: Flour, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, and chocolate chips or morsels.
Fat Content: The 71-gram cookie at Carl’s Jr. packs a whopping 19 grams of fat and 10 grams of saturated fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Istockphoto)
|Gigantic sandwiches can be found across the country, but the biggest ones in the country may be found in Birch Run, Mich., at Tony’s I-75, as featured on the Travel Channel’s Sandwich Paradise. There, you’ll find the world’s most artery-clogging BLT. Each contains over a pound of bacon.|
|Ingredients: Over 20 strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato, bread. |
Fat Content: A pound of bacon clocks in at a whopping 192 grams of fat. That’s about your upper limit over 3 days! (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: thisiswhyyourefat.com)
|The land of 10,000 lakes is also home to the headquarters of waistline-expanding chain Dairy Queen. While known for its ice cream concoctions—which don’t take it easy on the fat content either—the most shocking item on the menu is the half-pound FlameThrower GrillBurger.|
|Ingredients: Half a pound of beef, special sauce, pepper jack cheese, jalapeno, bacon, tomato, lettuce, bun. |
Fat Content: This behemoth burger has 75 grams of fat and 26 grams of saturated fat, more than enough for an entire day! For about the same amount of fat you could have 5 of the chain's small chocolate shakes! (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Dairy Queen)
|The state with the highest obesity rate in the country, at 32.5%, has held this not-so-enviable title for five years in a row. Decadent dining choices, like the Mud Pie, rumored to have originated in the Magnolia State, are certainly part of the problem.|
|Ingredients: Some recipes call for cream cheese, others for ice cream, still others pudding mix. But no matter how you look at it, this pie is a mash-up of chocolate, cream, butter, and sugar. |
Fat Content: A commercially prepared version at nationwide chain Cosi clocks in at 35 grams of fat per serving. Homemade varieties vary between 24 and 38 grams. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Emma Thompson)
|Known for its fatty splurges like gooey butter cake and fried ravioli, Missouri is also the home of Hardee’s headquarters. (The East Coast and Midwestern burger chain is actually a North Carolina transplant, but it now calls St. Louis its home.) Concoctions like the 2/3 Lb. Monster Thickburger lead the way on its fatty menu.|
|Ingredients: Two 1/3 pound beef patties, 4 strips of bacon, 3 slices of American cheese, mayonnaise, sesame seed bun. |
Fat Content: A mind-blowing 95 grams of fat and 36 grams of saturated fat—more than six times the fat in a regular Hardee’s hamburger. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Gregor Smith/Flickr)
|The fat content may not be the only thing that turns you off of eating this Northwestern dish. Also known as prairie oysters or calf fries, Rocky Mountain Oysters are essentially deep-fried calf testicles. |
Ingredients: Calf testicles, salted water or buttermilk, vegetable oil or lard.
|Fat Content: Recipes vary, and it’s hard to pin down nutritional information for a bull’s nether regions, but the deep-fried batter alone is worth at least 5 grams of fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Markus Ladstätter)|
|Christian Kent Nelson, a school teacher and candy shop owner in Iowa, invented the Eskimo Pie in 1921, when a boy in his shop couldn’t decide between an ice cream and a candy bar. But the name and success did not come until Nelson traveled to Nebraska, where he met Russell Stover, of chocolate candy fame, who helped him patent the idea and dub it “Eskimo Pie.” Americans have been over-indulging on the ice cream treats ever since.|
Ingredients: Vanilla ice cream with Nestle Crunch chocolate coating.
Fat Content: 13 grams in one bar. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Frozenfoodjournal.com)
|Las Vegas is without a doubt the country’s capital for excess and overindulgence. And revelers too absorbed to stop and eat can graze at the ubiquitous buffets. The Sin City smorgasbords are thought to be the 1940s brain child of local publicist Herb McDonald.|
|Ingredients: Just about everything you can imagine, in all-you-can-eat quantities. |
Fat Content: Research shows that patrons are likely to overeat, not know when they are full, and use larger plates at buffet-style restaurants. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Getty Images)
|New England once again has committed a crime against the healthy attributes of seafood. New England Clam Chowder is cream-based, adding a lot of fat and calories to this popular soup. |
Ingredients: Cream, water, potatoes, clams, salt, butter, seasonings.
|Fat Content: A 12-ounce serving at nationwide chain Panera Bread contains 34 grams of fat, about half of your upper limit for the entire day, and 20 grams of saturated fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Getty Images)|
|In 1997, Darrell W. Butler, then a sophomore at Rutgers University, decided he wanted to cram all his favorite guilty-pleasure foods into one health-defying sandwich. The result was named the Fat Darrell, a supersize sandwich at the famous RU Hungry? “grease truck” in New Brunswick, N.J.|
|Ingredients: Chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, marinara sauce, French fries, lettuce, tomato, roll. |
Fat Content: With two chicken fingers, two mozzarella sticks, and fries, the Fat Darrell is worth an estimated 45 grams of fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Mike Goldberg)
|Invented sometime in the early 1930s, the Frito Pie has become a New Mexican staple. This dish was originally made with chili ladled onto a small bag of Fritos. Restaurants and street carts throughout the state have put their own spin on the less-than-healthy snack, by adding lettuce, tomato, cheese, jalapenos, and more.|
|Ingredients: Recipes vary, but most include Fritos corn chips, beef, beans, onion, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato. |
Fat Content: Depends on the toppings, but this version contains a whopping 46 grams of fat and 14 grams of saturated fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Mike Goldberg)
|While New York–style cheesecake tops the list of fatty regional specialties, the Empire State is also home to the “garbage plate,” a mess of potatoes, beans, meat, onions, mustard, and sauce that reportedly got its start at Rochester, N.Y. eatery Nick Tahou Hots in 1918.|
|Ingredients: A base of home fries, macaroni salad, baked beans or French fries, topped with choice of meat (hamburger, cheeseburger, hot dog, sausage, chicken tender, fish, fried ham), and drenched in mustard, onions, and hot sauce—all amounting to about 3 pounds of food! |
Fat Content: While there’s no official dietary analysis for the various versions of garbage plates, estimates and homemade recipes clock in at anywhere from about 93 grams of fat per plate to an astounding 203 grams, enough for more than three days. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Dan Dangler)
|Livermush is a dish with at least 30% pig liver and a mixture of pig head parts and cornmeal. You may say “yuck,” but locals have fallen head-over-heels for the fatty fare, even celebrating an annual Livermush Expo; putting it in omelets and pizzas; and devoting a Facebook fan page to it.|
|Ingredients:Pig liver, assorted other pig parts (usually fatty), cornmeal, pepper, salt |
Fat Content: One popular recipe calls for one liver and a pound and a half of fatty parts for a six-serving batch of livermush, making each serving worth about 30 grams of fat. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Adelyn Church)
|You can thank German immigrants for this local favorite, called Fleischkuechle, which is a meat patty smothered in a fried dough wrapping. |
Ingredients:Recipes call for eggs, flour, and sometimes buttermilk to make the dough. The filling is made of beef, onion, salt, and pepper.
|Fat Content: A commercially prepared variety from Cloverdale Foods, a North Dakota meat company, contains 19 grams of fat in one serving size. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Jimmy Emerson)|
|Founded in 1948 and now headquartered in Ohio, Bob Evans is a chain that operates in 19 states. The restaurants offer giant breakfasts piled inside a bowl made of biscuit—like the Sausage Biscuit Bowl. |
Ingredients: Home fries, eggs, sausage gravy, sausage, cheddar cheese, scallions, margarine, in a biscuit bowl.
|Fat Content: 61 grams of fat and 28 grams of saturated fat—just about the maximum recommended intake for an entire day. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Hot Pepper Dave)|
|While often associated with Texas, chicken fried steak is so beloved in neighboring Oklahoma that it was added to the official list of state foods in 1988. The pounded beef is battered and fried like chicken and served smothered in gravy. |
Ingredients: Beef, egg, milk, salt, pepper, flour. Recipes use additional ingredients like buttermilk or chicken broth.
|Fat Content: Recipes vary, but chicken fried steak, at around 26 grams of fat, is likely to cost you. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Kevin Brewer)|
|While Oregon isn’t the only state to offer gigantic, heart-stopping burgers, a particularly outrageous version—called the Redonkadonk—can be found at BrunchBox, a popular food vendor cart. |
Ingredients: Egg, ham, Spam, bacon, and American cheese on a beef patty, between two grilled-cheese sandwiches on thicker-than-normal Texas Toast bread in the place of a bun.
Fat Content: It’s hard to know how much of each ingredient is used in the BrunchBox recipe, but count about 13 grams of fat in a beef patty, 5 grams of fat for each slice of cheese (remember, it’s not just on the burger but in the grilled-cheese buns as well), 3 grams of fat per slice of bacon, and 15 grams per serving of Spam. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: FoodCartsPortland.com)
|The most iconic food of Pennsylvania also happens to be one of the unhealthiest. What else could we mean but the Philly cheesesteak? Invented in 1930, the cheesesteak is now recognized around the world. |
Ingredients: Beef, cheese (often Cheeze Whiz), and onions on a long roll.
|Fat Content: Recipes vary. Commercially prepared versions, like the 6-inch Big Philly Cheesesteak at Subway and the Cheesesteak Sandwich at Nathan’s, range from 18 to 45 grams of fat, respectively. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Patrick Deschere)|
|In the late 1930s, when father-son team Anthony and Nicholas Stevens moved to Rhode Island from Greece, by way of Brooklyn, they opened a small restaurant in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence. The popular fare—New York System Hot Wieners—is still a regional favorite, and is imitated by vendors and eateries throughout the state.|
|Ingredients: A beef hot dog drenched in yellow mustard, onions, celery salt, and ground-beef sauce |
Fat Content: 13 grams of fat for the hot dog and 15 grams of fat in a serving of ground beef. Plus, the ground-beef sauce is usually made with ultra-fatty shortening.(Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Diane Tani)
|Ah yes, the home of the turducken. This Thanksgiving feast consists of a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken—almost heaven for those who like their meat with a side of meat chased with a bit of meat. The origin of this monstrous meal is mysterious, but rumor has it that the first turducken may have been assembled at a plantation in South Carolina.|
|Ingredients: Turkey, chicken, duck; often also contains stuffing, frequently made with cornbread and pork sausage. |
Fat Content: Recipes vary greatly, from as little as 14 grams of fat in a commercially prepared version from CajunGrocer.com, to as much as 53 grams or even a whopping 118 grams of fat in various homemade versions. (Story: Sarah Klein, Image: Eugene Katz)