"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Monday, November 12, 2007


After 23 years of devouring Big Macs (I remember talking my parents into buying me one at the McDonald's on the Naval base in Hawaii when I was 10), I decided it was only natural to try the "Big Mock." I found a recipe for the burger clone on page 28 of The Great Big Burger Book -- including step-by-step instructions for creating the "special sauce" -- and knew pretty much immediately that it would be #3 in my quest to expand my burger-making skills.

Admittedly, it had been a few years since I'd had a Big Mac. I'm more of a BK kind of guy and when I do go to McDonald's I usually get the Quarter Pounder. So, in order to accurately compare the look and taste of the Big Mock to its real life counterpart, I grabbed two Big Macs on my way home from work.

BIG MOCK - Ingredients

Anyone born before 1980 remembers the commercials. A Big Mac is made of "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." Pictured here is the finely chopped onion, chopped lettuce, two thin three-ounce beef patties (90 percent lean) and the special sauce (2 tbsp Thousand Island dressing, 1 tbsp French dressing, 1 tbsp mayo, 1 tbsp sweet pickle relish, 1 tbsp finely grated onion, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar and a pinch of salt).

BIG MOCK - Side by Side

Here we see the Big Mac (left) with the Big Mock (right). Overall, the Mock tasted very much like the Mac. The obvious difference between the two being the slightly meatier Mock. Despite how flatly I pressed each three-ounce patty, it still plumped up when I cooked them in the oiled pan. The meat was the hardest ingredient to duplicate and, as the dominant fixture in both sandwiches, it clearly made the biggest difference in taste, texture and appearance.

In the end, I liked the Big Mock. The tangy special sauce was a nice break from the usual ketchup and mustard combo. The diced onion was also a tasty addition. It's something I rarely put on burgers, but plan to try more of in the future.

A full set of pictures, including a side-by-side interior shot, can be seen here.


Anonymous Heather said...

This was my favorite of Dave's burger creations so far. I had never had a Big Mac before, so I tried the McDonald's version, too. The homemade one was much better! What's next?

9:02 PM

Blogger Carey said...

I remember watching a training video for McDonalds, I don't know why, because I never applied for a job with any fast food joints. The reason for the difference in size of the patties is the way that McD's cooks them. They use a hot weight on top to keep the patty flat while cooking. A thick pan with a flat bottom would work fine for that. You also must cook the meat until completely grey to remove all the nutrients, which also effect the taste.

9:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Carey, you're saying McDonald's DELIBERATELY tries to make their food (even more) unhelathy by doing things to remove nutrients? I feel betrayed! I'm adding "Ronald McDonald" to my list of Names of Scum Who've Cheated On Me.

By the way, Dave, your food looks AMAZING! And the pictures you take of them are beautiful. I love it! Keep up the great work!

10:53 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

I'd agree with Heather that this was the best of my burgers so far. Next is probably the chocolate crusted burger.

Good idea on the pressing, Carey. And yeah, that's one thing I noticed about the Big Mac's wafer thin beef patties: they had very little taste (or it was overwhelmed by all of the other ingredients).

Jill, Ron McD is a bum anyhow. You're better off without him. Go see the The King.

7:52 AM

Blogger Hall "Hoover" Hunt said...

I am guessing the meat used in the Big Mac is a much fattier meat than the lean beef you used for the Big Mock. I'd be interested to see if you used different meat if you could flatten the patty more. The fattier the meat, the more it sticks together, and the more it cooks down. Let me know if you try it again. Sounds like fun. I use to have the ingredients/recipe for the Wendy's Frosty. That was pretty tasty/easy to do.

8:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic --
The McRib is Back!!!

And I had a Quarter Pounder w/ Cheese value meal while in Brazil last week.

9:08 AM

Blogger Carey said...

Jill, it is actually healthier because the longer you cook them, the more fat you remove from the meat. Then they add the fattening special sauce to balance it out.

Oh, there is one more step in the process. After cooking the patties, you have to put them all in a plastic bin and let them sit in a warmer for an hour.

Derek, you went all the way to Brazil and ate at McD's? How long were you there?

9:35 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Carey, remember in the Navy when we'd travel to foreign countries and the first thing we'd look for is the nearest McDonalds? I'm not proud of it, but that's what we did.

When we were in Dubai, we ate at KFC twice! In Norway we RAN toward those golden arches (mainly because they served beer with their value meals). In our defense though, we were young and homesick and looking for a taste of familiar cooking.

HALL - Good point about the fat content. I used 90 percent lean beef. I guarantee the fast food places use something in the 70 to 80 percent range. Maybe even less. Ugh.

10:12 AM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

The McRib is only available in the southeast. It makes me sad.

10:39 AM

Blogger Skinnyboy said...

D, you're right about BK. Their burgers are indeed really good, and they feel a whole lot better than McD or anywhere. Don't want to use the word "healthy" but you know what I mean. Their Angus burger is phenomenal. They know their Anus, that's for sure.


10:58 AM

Blogger Carey said...

The only fast food I remember was going to BK in Paris, right on the Champs Elysee. Tromso is a blur in my mind. What did we do there?

11:09 AM

Blogger steakbellie said...

The McD standard Burger and the Big Mac use the same patty.

Carey, You're refering to 'Searing' the patties which is done at the 1:00 mark to each patty for a second or two. I think it's because they are frozen and this guarentees that the burger is pressed into the grill and not bowed.

The different sauces come in tubes like caulk, and you'll be happy to know that the TarTar Sauce for the Fillet O' Fish comes out with such gusto, that you can shoot your buddy in the back from almost 6 feet away!

12:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was there 11/4 thru 11/10.
With a day of flying on each end.

For lunch and dinner I ate at traditional Brazilian places... but just once, I had to have McD's.
And it was great!
I could only eat so many chicken hearts and wonderful cuts of beef.

2:35 PM

Blogger Carey said...

Steak, yes, I do remember them mentioning searing, but I could have sworn that the video showed them leaving it on for most of the cooking process.
here's how they do it at wendys


4:41 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Holy crap, that Wendy's clip is awesome. That's a REAL training video isn't it? I like how they have arrows on the patty separators to dictate how they have to be laid on the grill. And don't forget to salt from back to front!

7:39 PM

Blogger steakbellie said...

Some stores were outfitted with a 'ClamShell Grill', where some sort of lid or cover came down during the cooking process...but I'm not sure it caught on. Maybe thats what you're thinking of?

8:50 AM

Blogger Carey said...

No, these were one inch thick slabs of metal that covered two at a time. They would lay it on for about 30 seconds, turn over the burger, salt and pepper it, then put the weight back on for another minute. There were ten of these things sitting on the grill warming up, then they would use them on the burgers. I think it would cook the meat faster as well as keep it flat and sear it. It was an old video, I would say I was 16 when I saw it, and it was probably a couple of years old at that point. Maybe made in '87?

9:17 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Yeah Carey, I totally don't believe you about that video. Sounds like you had one too many quarter pounders. You're going to have to find that video. Or find one those magical "two burger presses" you speak of. Until then, I'll be at Burger King, where the only tools they need to cook the burgers are sweet, sweet flames.

9:41 AM

Blogger steakbellie said...

Salt & Peppa on the grill????

I'm not aware of McD's doing that....very interesting!

12:14 PM

Blogger Carey said...

I have spent more time looking for that video than I should have. I think I threw it out years ago.

More importantly, it is only 79 Days till the super bowl, which means 77 days before the tailgating party begins. How ready are we at this point? Only one inflatable chair made it back alive, and the grill was given away.

12:37 PM

Blogger steakbellie said...

as long as you're rooting for the right eater!

4:22 PM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Carey, remember in the Navy when we'd travel to foreign countries and the first thing we'd look for is the nearest McDonalds? I'm not proud of it, but that's what we did.

When we were in Dubai, we ate at KFC twice! In Norway we RAN toward those golden arches (mainly because they served beer with their value meals). In our defense though, we were young and homesick and looking for a taste of familiar cooking.

A bunch of us took an MWR bus from Yokosuka up to Tokyo one day. We split up into two groups after we got there; I talked my group into going to an Indian restaurant, but the other guys all ate at McD's. However, I'll admit that every stop in Yokosuka meant a couple of visits to Denny's. (There were also Mr Donut, KFC and another donut place in Yokosuka, but I don't remember ever seeing a McD's there.)

We found an A&W Root Beer place in Thailand - first one I'd seen in years. Almost everybody went straight from the liberty boat to the hotel to the A&W.

As far as Norway goes, I remember seeing a BK in Trondheim, but no McD's.

9:55 PM

Blogger Carey said...

I discovered A&W in Las Vegas, (not the BB kind of discovered, I mean it was the first time I myself saw one) and I got half of what was on the menu because everything sounded so good. Man, the root beer float topped it off necely.

11:20 AM


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