Declaring your favorite Cook Out shake is for amateurs. True professionals mix them.
There are more than 40 different milkshakes to try at America's greatest regional fast food chain. But when you mix? INFINITE POSSIBILITIES. Here's your chance to show what you know.
Last month, the good folks at the Raleigh News & Observer did a noble thing and what I’m sure they thought was a fine piece of service journalism: They tried every single Cook Out milkshake and then ranked them. These rankings, I’ll say, are more useful than most because the N&O broke them down by category. They had, for example, a banana division (bleh) and an Oreo category (now we’re talkin’). That’s smart. Nice try, newspaper. Nice try.
I’m giving them an overt “Good Job, Good Effort” for two reasons. One: Ranking Cook Out milkshakes is an easy way to generate conversation and get clicks from Southerners. Websites do this all. The. Time. Two: The definitive Cook Out milkshake ranking website has been around for a long time, and puts you all to shame. Yes, cookoutmilkshakereviews.com is the best website on the internet, and I know this because it declares, right at the top, in big all-caps yellow letters, that it is “THE BEST WEBSITE ON THE INTERNET.” The background here is that it was lovingly created by two former Our State staffers, and they really tried to scientifically analyze each and every shake on the menu. They also use swear words! The site is still worth visiting, although it was created in 2016 and is now starting to fall apart (although no more than Twitter is, amirite).
Anyhow, yes, it is possible to try each and every single Cook Out milkshake on its own, given enough time, money, and willingness to punish your body with excess calories. However, this ignores something that real ones know. Something that will get you to the next level:
That way lies madness, friends. Forty-plus flavors presents infinite possibilities. There are more potential combinations of Cook Out milkshakes than there are combinations of Powerball numbers. That’s because, if you want, you can mix any number of flavors together. Not just two.
You know who sort of stumbled into this? Joe Biden, of all people. When the President of the United States stopped off at a Cook Out in Durham in October 2020, he ordered a chocolate shake and a vanilla shake. His explanation: He was gonna mix them together to make a black-and-white in the back of the presidential limo. Joe! You didn’t have to do that! Cook Out employees will mix it for you!
(I pointed this out in the very first edition of this newsletter, by the way. We’ve been on the Biden Cook Out beat for a long time.)
So, I’ll just skip to the logical endpoint: Can you mix every single Cook Out milkshake into one megashake? Sort of like the Three-Course-Meal Gum from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Yes. According to this fantastic and eye-opening Reddit AMA with a Cook Out employee, people have done it (if you are one of those people, please email me). If you plan to create the Übershake, you may want to schedule your attempt for a time when Cook Out is not busy, lest you make instant enemies of the people working there and the folks behind you in the drive thru line.
Also, according to Rabbit Hole reader Bart Smith, you’d get about two tablespoons of each flavor in the Shake to End All Shakes. That is the boundary and the price of immortality.
I said all of that to say this: Dear reader, it is now your time to shine.
Below in the comments, I want you to tell me about a Cook Out milkshake combo that you find to be intriguing, appalling, amazing, or wholly unrealistic. Maybe it’s a combination that you’ve tried before. Maybe it’s one that your aspirational self would like to try. Maybe it’s a flavor combo that you’d prefer to use to punish your enemies (sort of like the earwax Harry Potter jellybean). Maybe it’s a wonderful surprise (the aforementioned Redditor noted that mixing banana pudding with walnuts and chocolate chips tasted exactly like banana bread). There are no wrong answers. However, we all reserve the right to praise or mock you mercilessly in the comments. You can be succinct. You can be long-winded. You do you.
What will I do with this handcrafted curation? We’ll see! If I can find a special guest, perhaps I’ll make an episode of Away Message out of it (feel free to email me a voice memo as well if you’d like to state your case that way). But please know that we’re all here for each other. Together, if we try, we can all gain weight in the most delightful and innovative ways.
It’s game time. You know what to do. Hit that button below:
Here, for reference, is a list of shake varieties from the Cook Out website:
Last thing here: If you’re still reading this, I very much want to buy a rare but real Cook Out basketball jersey. I’m not joking. If you can get me one, let’s talk.
Banana pudding with Butterfingers. A former art director turned me on to this one.
I'm new to NC so didn't know a shake mix was possible! I'm already dreaming about eggnog-cappuccino come December.....