Make Your Own Big Mac Sauce [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] May04

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Make Your Own Big Mac Sauce [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

The Big Mac is the signature sandwich at the globally popular McDonald’s restaurant chain.  Their secret sauce recipe is a closely guarded secret, known only by the top company executives.  But, sometimes you’re craving one and you can’t make it to the restaurant.  Well, here’s my take on the secret sauce recipe that you can whip up in just a few minutes!

The Big Mac was invented by Jim Delligatti, who was one of the first McDonald’s restaurant franchisees.  While, he invented the sandwich at his store on McKnight Road in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he first placed it for sale at his Uniontown, Pennsylvania location in 1967.  It was created to rival a similar burger being sold by the Big Boy restaurant chain.

The original selling price was only 49¢ and was an immediate hit.  McDonald’s corporate took notice and added it to the menu at all McDonald’s within a year.  The rules for creating a sandwich like this have changed.  Delligatti could never get away with selling something like this today, as franchise licenses do not allow for the individual restaurants to sell or not sell any items that are not officially part of the menu, without special permission from corporate, which is rarely given.  (Corporate will test special menu items at select locations from time to time, however.)

A television and radio jingle from the 1970’s best summed up what makes up a Big Mac sandwich: “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion, on a sesame seed bun.”  (What an effective song – I’m still able to recall that by memory and didn’t have to look that up!)

The special sauce is what makes the sandwich.  It’s a form of tarter sauce that is delivered to each restaurant in sealed tubes that are connected to a modified caulking gun.  The gun then dispenses a predetermined amount per sandwich.  Minimal preparation is required on the part of the restaurant.

There are loads of recipes out there – but none are for the official sauce.  That one is sealed in a corporate vault.  However, I have come up with my own take, that is simple and tastes pretty darn good!

Here’s what you will need:

• 1/8 cup Miracle Whip (or your favorite mayonnaise)

• ½ tablespoon French dressing

• ¾ tablespoon minced fresh onion

• ¼ teaspoon white vinegar

• 1 1/4 teaspoon sweet relish

• Dash of salt

Mix all of these into a bowl and slap a giant spoonful onto your burgers.

This should make enough for three sandwiches.  (See my notes at the bottom for more taste and substitution suggestions.)

If you want the complete Big Mac experience, make sure your sandwiches are complete with two patties, lettuce, pickle, onion, cheese, and a slice of bread in the middle.  The extra bread is to hold everything together.

McDonald’s has had such great success with the Big Mac, that other restaurant’s have tried to come up with their own versions.

For a while, Burger King sold the Big King, which was nearly identical.  While it has disappeared off the menu, the sauce has reappeared on their current BK Stackers and the deluxe BK Topper.

Jack in the Box used to have their Bonus Jack on their regular menu, but it now appears occasionally as a limited time offering.

The old restaurant chain, Burger Chef, used to sell their version called a Big Shef.  (Yes, – Shef)  They were all sold to Hardee’s in the late 90’s.

The Big Boy restaurant chain, whose signature sandwich was the original inspiration, still serves their burger as well.  The chain has closed and restructured a large number of stores as part of bankruptcy.  The amount of Big Boy restaurants continues to fall.  I’ve had many of their Big Boy sandwiches at the Sideling Hill Service Plaza on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but that location closed years ago and is now a food court.

Many diners and local restaurants also offer their own homemade version of the sandwich.

McDonald’s themselves experiments with new versions of the Big Mac and it’s sauce:

• A Big Mac Snack Wrap – often appears as a limited time menu item, replacing the bun with a tortilla wrap.

• The Mega Mac – on sale in Australia, several East Asian countries, and Ireland.  The sandwich adds an extra slice of cheese.  It is occasionally sold in the US as a Double Big Mac and is a limited time offering in Canada

• Big Big Mac – a Quarterpounder version on sale in Europe

A customer enjoys a Maharaja Mac at a McDonald's in India.

• Maharaja Mac – sold in India, replaces the beef with chicken.  It was once made out of lamb.

• Mac Jr. – sold in select US stores, it is a single patty and bun.  Was sold overseas as “Son of Mac,” “Baby Mac,” or “Mini Mac.”

• Kosher Big Mac – sold in Israel without cheese

• Whole Wheat Big Mac – sold in France on whole wheat bread

• Chicken Big Mac – sold in Pakistan with chicken patties, instead of beef

Discontinued versions include:

Ad an for the discontinued Mega Tamago and Mega Tomato from Japan.

• Mega Tamago – was sold in Japan with an added egg and minus 1 beef patty

• Mega Tomato – was sold in Japan with added tomato and minus 1 beef patty

• McKinley Mac – was sold in Alaska, named after Mount McKinley

• Bigger Big Mac – was sold as part of a promotion for the 2006 FIFA World Cup

• Monster Mac – was sold in Germany with 8 beef patties

Many McDonald’s will add the sauce to any of their sandwiches upon customer request with an up charge up to 50¢, while others will quietly do it for free.

According to McDonald’s, a standard Big Mac contains:

Calories: 550

Fat: 29g

The entire McDonald’s chain has become a global success, since first starting in the 1940’s.  They now have locations in 119 countries and have served billions of customers.  900 million Big Mac’s are sold annually.

To officially honor the sandwich, McDonald’s has opened a Big Mac Museum at their restaurant in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.  It is located on US 30, just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Exit 67.  The museum features the world’s largest Big Mac replica, interactive displays, and a large play area.

THE 411

Name: McDonald’s Big Mac Sauce

What: a tarter type sauce used to dress hamburgers

Invented: 1967

Number sold annually: 900 million

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:  Give my recipe a try.  Growing up, we were a Miracle Whip family (see my Miracle Whip vs. Mayonnaise blogumn) but, you could substitute either.  I find that the Miracle Whip gives it a sweeter taste, similar to what is served in the restaurants.

For the onion, you can also use fresh onion; just chop it very finely almost to a puree.  Onion powder works in a pinch, but if you use that – ditch the salt.  Whatever form of onion you use, just make sure it’s very finely chopped.  It will quickly overpower the sauce and you don’t want to give anyone a mouthful of onion!

For the French dressing, I usually just buy the store brand or whatever is on sale.

The best advice for preparation is to taste test and do a little trial and error.  It only took a couple of tries for me to find my perfect recipe.  I’d love to hear your suggestions and what you do to make your version, or if you’ve had any of those foreign versions!  At least, having this could save you a trip to McDonald’s, plus give you an easy way to liven up your burgers.

Image credits: bronsthermonster!, jefseghers, and rc!