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~The History behind McDonald's Big Mac Hamburger~

Mcdonalds_big_mac_2018Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.  I'm guessing that anyone who reads that sentence or hears those words is positively certain it references McDonald's and its Big Mac hamburger.  McDonald's introduced this flagship product to the greater Pitsburgh area in 1967.  One short year later, it went nationwide.  That said, the it had two previous trial names, both of which failed in the marketplace:  The Aristocrat and the Blue Ribbon Burger.  The third time was the charm -- the Big Mac was born and the rest is history.

6a0120a8551282970b02788073eba7200dThe Big Mac was created in Pittsburgh by McDonald's first Franchise Owner, Jim Delligatti.  It sold for 45 cents.

6a0120a8551282970b0282e14c947c200bThe Big Mac, designed to compete with the Big Boy Restaurant chain's Big Boy Burger, had two previous names that failed:  Aristocrat and the Blue Ribbon burger.  The "Big Mac" was named by Esther Glickstein Rose, a 21-year old secretary working at corporate headquarters.  The "two-all beef patties" slogan was created by Keith Reinhard and his creative group at advertising agency Needham Harper and Steers.  The Big Mac, which contains two 1.6-ounce patties along with an array of other components was placed on a three-part bun because testing proved it too sloppy to eat otherwise -- it cost 45 cents.  As for the "secret sauce", a variant of Thousand Islands dressing, in 2012 McDonald's stated, "the primary sauce ingredients are not really a secret, and have been available on-line for years (sans specifics -- cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, etc.):  mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish and yellow mustard whisked together with vinegar, garlic and onion powder and paprika."

All-beef patties topped w/yellow American NOT cheddar.

6a0120a8551282970b02788073eb83200dAll McDonald's hamburgers are 100 percent beef with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio. The beef used in the burgers comes from whole cuts of forequarter and flank meat from the cow. In their kitchen: The burgers are never flipped, as the flat-topped mechanism that cooks them has a matching flat-topped top which, when lowered, cooks them on both sides at once (clam-shell-type style). All McDonald's hamburgers are topped with deli-sliced yellow American-processed cheese blend made from milk, milk fats and solids -- it melts great and make no mistake, it is not yellow cheddar.

Special sauce isn't a secret & NOT  Thousand Islands dressing.

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c95a416c970bMany folks assume the special sauce is Thousand Islands dressing. It's an easy assumption to make, as the two are similar enough -- mayonnaise-based and pickle-relish laced.  That said, I write a food blog, which made it necessary for me to head to the Golden Arches, in order to deconstruct a few Big Macs, so I could taste-test secret sauce side-by-side bottled store-bought and homemade Thousand Islands dressing.  The special sauce is indeed different.  It's more yellow than pink and more pungent too, which, (just as McDonald's stated), results from some brand of ordinary yellow ballpark-type mustard.

Fun secret sauce fact:  In our recent past, McDonald's lost the formula to their secret recipe for the special sauce, and, over a number of years it gradually grew "less special".  As a result, in 2004, the CEO scrapped the product completely and collaborated with the California supplier who had helped develop the original sauce recipe -- they reconcocted the sauce.  Long story short and end of story fact:  We now enjoy reconcocted special sauce, and, many of us make our own.

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.  The best 'burger ever:

Mcdonalds_big_mac_2018"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


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