Recently, a McDonald’s executive chef posted a video on YouTube titled, “What is in the sauce that is in the Big Mac?” In the two-minute video, the chef demonstrates how to recreate the Big Mac, including how to make the infamous “special sauce.” While an ingredient list is crucial for any recipe, it only gets you halfway there. So, armed with an actual Big Mac (or two), and all the ingredients laid out in the video, I tested the Big Mac and secret sauce for myself.
You will need a white sesame seed bun – the smaller the better. You will need the top of one bun and the heels of two buns. If the heel is particularly fluffy, slice one of them horizontally to reduce the size for the middle bun. The bun must be toasted.
The video lists the ingredients “similar” to those in the Big Mac sauce. Hmm, similar. How close can we get? The chef lists: store bought mayonnaise, prepared relish, white wine vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.
After several mouth-puckering attempts, here is the recipe that most resembles the “special sauce”:
Stir 1/4 cup mayonnaise (regular) with 2 tsp prepared relish, 1/8 tsp white wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp paprika and 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Although not outlined as an ingredient, a pinch of salt was also required to match the flavour. All that being said, below is my version of the Big Mac.
Big Mac recipe
1 white sesame bun + the heel of a second bun, toasted
100g lean ground beef
2 tbsp “special sauce” – see recipe above
1 slice of orange processed cheese
2 tsp minced white onion
1/4 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
4 hamburger pickles (dill, not sweet)
Form ground beef into two 3 1/2 inch wide patties – it helps of you have molds to press them into. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high.
Fry the patties until both sides are dark brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove pan from heat.
Assembly: Spread 1 tbsp of special sauce on the bottom bun. Sprinkle with 1 tsp minced onion and 2 tbsp shredded lettuce. Top with 2 pickles, one slice of cheese, then one burger patty. Layer on middle bun. Spread bun with another tbsp special sauce, remaining tsp onion, shredded lettuce and pickles. Top with burger patty and top bun.
Did I accurately recreate a Big Mac? Well, I definitely had a “version” of the Big Mac, which is all the chef in the YouTube video promised. The flavours are very similar – but the biggest departure from the original Big Mac was the bun and the flavour of the beef. Both are very hard to replicate. I am sure that die-hard McDonald’s fans will not be thrilled with the result. I, however, quite enjoyed my version of the Big Mac, with crisp lettuce and fresh onions…quite tasty actually. Perhaps perfecting the McDonald’s bun will be the next task at hand!
Originally published July 16th, 2012.