Man Vs. Monster Thickburger

Jim Axelrod versus the Monster Burger
CBS
You're going to have to open your mouth to get a bite out of it, that's for sure, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod.

In a supersized world, where big is small, huge is medium and enormous is large … well, meet the monster. The Hardees Monster Thickburger: An over-the-top bacon cheeseburger.

You got all four major food groups. You got beef, pork, mayonnaise and butter.

"You got everything ... yeah," said Hardee's CEO Andy Puzder.

That packs 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat. But if Puzder, the guy who runs Hardees, is worried about skyrocketing obesity rates, well, he masks it pretty well.

"We have no qualms about it. We're not trying to hide the content, hide the calories, or the fat," Puzder said. "We're not trying to hide what it is — or how big it is."

Add fries and a soda and you're up to 2,000 calories, which is enough for most adults for an entire day. Here, in all its decadent glory, is America's tortured relationship with fast food.

On one hand, it's inspiring late-night ridicule as a heart attack on a bun, as talk show hosts such as David Letterman jest. One showed a picture of faux doctors performing defibrillation on an imitation Hardees owner.

"They actually had somebody play me on a TV show, and I had a heart attack," Pudzer said. "I even thought that was good. My ex-wife wanted a copy."

And harsh criticism from the food police…

"This is the epitome of corporate irresponsibility, marketing this kind of junk," said Michael Jacobson, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "We call this kind of product food porn."

But despite the bad press, or may be because of it, it's also produced an 8 percent growth in sales for Hardees. Blue-state critics, meet red-state consumers.

"Well it's a heavy burger," one consumer said. "It definitely fills my stomach up."

The reporter told Puzder, when halfway through his burger: "I can't eat another bite. I'm all done. Is this common?"

"Not for me," Puzder said. He doesn't see the end of the world in a bacon cheeseburger. But he should be careful laughing at the critics. He might just bust a gut.