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An Elevated, Upscale Version of the McDonald's Big Mac: Make It at Home!

Charles loves to cook and enjoys trying new recipes every day. He specializes in recreating gourmet comfort food.

My take on the classic Big Mac

My take on the classic Big Mac

History of the Big Mac

The Big Mac wasn't always called the Big Mac. Actually, the famous sandwich had two different names before finally settling on the iconic moniker used today.

The Big Mac we know and love today was originally named the Aristocrat which didn't gain much traction with Americans and was quickly replaced with a new name—the Blue Ribbon Burger—without much fanfare. It wasn't until Esther Glickstein Rose, an advertising secretary from McDonald's corporate headquarters finally came up with the Big Mac name, a name that millions of Americans embraced.

Created by Pennsylvanian Jim Delligatti, a McDonald's franchisee in 1967, the Big Mac was sold for a whopping 45 cents back then. The newly introduced triple-decker burger gained popularity in the Pittsburgh area before finally finding its place on every McDonald's menu in America in 1968.

What Makes the Big Mac So Special?

What is it that makes the double-decker burger offering from McDonald's so special? Is it the finely shredded lettuce, the unique triple bun setup, or is it the "special sauce" that makes this American icon a fan favorite?

I would argue that all of the characteristics mentioned above are responsible for the well-deserved recognition garnered by the world-famous Big Mac. In my effort to recreate this sandwich, I focused on recreating the secret Big Mac sauce. After some research, I found that the secret sauce really wasn't that secret. I've included the recipe for authentic Big Mac sauce below.

My Upscale Version

  • Beef: My upscale take on the Big Mac starts with using high-quality beef. I often ask my butcher for an 80/20 blend of ground chuck and short rib meat with a fat content of at least 20%. If that isn't an option, a good quality ground beef will suffice.
  • Cheese: I use Cooper sharp American cheese. The tangy taste of this cheese pairs well with the rich, fattiness of the beef and adds another layer of flavor to the sandwich.
  • Buns: I like the unique flavor that Martin's potato rolls bring to the party, with no sesame seeds to get stuck in your teeth, I think these buns are an adequate replacement.
  • Lettuce and onion: I use fresh lettuce and crunchy red onion
  • Sauce: My homemade take on Mac Sauce combines for a blast of flavor and textures that you just don't get with the traditional Big Mac. Be careful, this will get messy!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour

8 min

1 hour 8 min

4 gourmet Big Mac burgers

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  • 4 soft hamburger-style rolls
  • 4 slices sharp American cheese
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground chuck beef
  • 2 cups finely shredded lettuce
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red or white onion
  • Mac Sauce (recipe below)
  • 12 dill pickle slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Carefully slice the bottom section of each roll in half to make two bottom roll sections.
  2. Shape ground beef into eight four-ounce patties.
  3. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, cook patties until your desired temperature, add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top each patty with sharp American cheese.
  5. On the bottom bun, add 1 teaspoon of sauce, a pinch of onion, and shredded lettuce. Top with one of the cooked burger patties.
  6. Place another bottom roll section on top of the patty, add sauce, onions, pickles, and lettuce. Top with another burger patty.
  7. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the top bun and place on top of the completed burger. Enjoy!
Homemade Big Mac special sauce

Homemade Big Mac special sauce

Mac Sauce Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons Hellmann's mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Heinz ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder


Add mayonnaise to a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add remaining ingredients to the mayonnaise and mix thoroughly until combined. Refrigerate for 1 hour before use.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Charles Kikas

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