Most of us have tried the Big Mac at McDonald’s and you can argue all day long for or against it, but it’s a cornerstone of fast food hamburgers that is tough to get past if you love fast food.
In this article I will explain how I attempted to make a homemade version of the famous Big Mac burger. I will argue that my version is much better than the original, because I am using only fresh ingredients and I don’t keep the burgers warm after they are cooked, but I will let it be up to you to make the final decision. What I can, that McDonald’s can’t, is to change a few ingredients and make an overall better quality burger. It won’t be as cheap as the original, but it will taste much better.
First I am making the “secret” Big Mac sauce. I tried a few Big Mac’s in my life and the sauce is essentially a thick version of Thousand Island dressing. Most dressings are mayo based so I chose that as my base also. It definitely has some sweet relish and mustard in there too. I also chose to add onions and my secret weapon to any dressing: granulated garlic. Granulated garlic is not as potent as fresh garlic and leaves a subtle and pleasant after taste to the dressing.
Doc’s secret Big Mac sauce:
- 1 cup of Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp sweet relish
- 2 tbsp minced onion
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp granulated garlic
You can add 1-2 tsp sugar to taste if you like. I like my sauce less sweet.
I suggest making the sauce at least a few hours in advance to let the sauce incorporate all its flavors. Refrigerate covered until use.
A Big Mac is also featuring a triple-decker bun and they are not exactly easy to find on the shelf in the super market. I make things easier by just getting traditional sesame buns. Don’t get some fancy tasty bun because the bun is not the start in a Big Mac. Just get the store brand sesame buns. I get the larger ones for this burger because I want my version of Big Mac to be a little larger than the original. I just use the top bun and two bottom buns for each burger.
Now we come down to the meat. I prefer the patties to be 3 oz each or almost twice the size of the original Big Mac (they use around 1.6 oz for each patty). That way the total burger is a 6 oz burger or 2 oz smaller than a good ½ lbs burger. Since we are cooking patties at 3 oz each we will not be able to make them any way near medium. They will simply be too thin. So we have no other choice than to cook them well done. In order to still get a juicy burger we have to use meat with a higerh fat content. I suggest using meat with 20-25% fat content. That will ensure that the burger is still juicy after it’s cooked. If you use leaner meat you can expect the meat to be dry.
Makes 4 Big Mac’s:
- 8 large hamburger buns (use 4 tops and 8 bottoms)
- 1.5 lbs of 75-80% lean ground chuck
- Doc’s secret Big Mac sauce (3-4 tbsp per burger)
- 2 cups of shredded lettuce
- 12-16 dill pickles.
- 4 slices of American cheese (or other processed cheese that melts well)
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Make 8 patties of 3 oz each. Make them so they fit the bun.
- Toast cut side up all buns under a broiler until light brown, 30-45 seconds
- Place 1-2 tbsp of the sauce on all the bottom buns and top with ¼ cup shredded lettuce and 2-3 pickles.
- Season burger patties with salt and pepper.
- Heat a cast iron skillet with some oil until shimmering (it needs to be VERY hot).
- Add patties and cook until browned, about 1.5 minutes.
- Turn patties and place a slice of cheese on 4 of the patties.
- Continue to cook for 1-1.5 minutes more until done.
- Transfer cheese topped patty to the bottom bun and the other patty to the middle bun.
- Stack the burgers and serve immediately.