Tag Archives: Big Mac

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Building a better better Big Mac

Serious Eats may have shown us how to build a better Big Mac at home. But what would happen if a string of fancy pants restaurants had the opportunity to turn the iconic burger into something, well, a little bit fancy (a la Fancy Fast Food).

The Challenge

“We asked four chefs to turn a Big Mac combo (burger, fries and a Coke, plus lots of condiments) into a five-star dish. To our surprise, they agreed. The only rule: other than oil and water, no extra ingredients allowed. The result is four meals that won’t be seen on a specials board anytime soon.”

The Results


Local Kitchen’s McLumi Platter

“It took chef/co-owner Fabio Bondi three tries to get this dish right. He made mortadella (an Italian cold cut) out of emulsified patties, lettuce, onions and sweet-and-sour sauce. But when he poached the sausage, it exploded. The same thing happened when he put it in a hot pan. In the end, he prepared it in the restaurant’s backyard smoker. The buns were toasted and made into crostini (the sesame seeds were mixed with ketchup to resemble mostarda, a fruit and mustard condiment). The nodini (bread knots) were made from fries.”


Aravind’s Open-Faced Samosas

“Father-and-son team Raj and Aravind Kozhikott wanted their creation to reflect their restaurant’s Indian cuisine. To make the samosa filling, they diced the meat, mixed it with the onion and used barbecue sauce as a binding agent before wrapping it in two rolled-out-and-fried burger buns. The fries were bundled up using strips of a cut-up fry box. The cheese from the burger was scraped off the patty and used as a sauce.”

There are a couple more here at The Grid, and some behind the scenes info about the project here.

Build a better Big Mac

I love Serious Eats. Especially the work of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who has single-handedly brought the secrets of McDonalds into the hands of the masses. Here he turns his attention to the Big Mac.

Here’s the recipe.

Here’s the story. He even figured out the perfect number of sesame seeds.

And cracks the recipe for the Big Mac’s special sauce.

Essentially, it’s a mix of mayonnaise, relish, and mustard with sugar, onion, turmeric colorings, and a bit of hydrolyzed vegetable protein thrown in. It’s this last bit that might throw you for a bit of a loop.

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is made by breaking down proteins into their constituent amino acids, resulting in a product with a distinctly savory flavor. Indeed, it’s very similar to bottled yeast extracts (which are made by autolyzing yeast) such as Marmite, Vegemite, or Maggi seasoning. Any of those will do.

Yum.