Remaking a Classic

by Tina Miller

Remaking a Classic

Katie Eberts

There are childhood songs or rhymes that stay with us forever. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers…Row, row, row your boat…Roses are red, violets are blue…And, of course: Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!

This contagious unforgettable jingle was created in the mid-70s for the American fast food icon, the Big Mac from McDonald’s. This club style layered and stacked hamburger was introduced nationwide in 1968. The Big Mac was not just a burger in a bun; the Big Mac was carefully constructed, placing ingredients in a perfect order for texture and taste, all held together by its Special Sauce.

Hamburgers, like it or not, have made their way onto most American restaurant menus—be it a celebrity high-end chef inspired eatery or your basic bar, you must have a burger.

What is it that makes a good burger? Though construction matters, it’s the beef! Many burgers served in this country are pre-formed and many times frozen. I believe burgers are most perfect when the meat is handled the least. You want it freshly ground from the butcher, packaged and wrapped only when you pick it up. The hamburger patty should be lightly formed, gently handled so the meat is loose and juicy.

So given this beautiful freshly ground beef, can the Big Mac be made at home? Looking at the list of ingredients, like in any recipe, you decide what you want to make from scratch and what store-bought ingredients can be used. Here’s how I’d do it…

There are two types of pickles in the Big Mac, and I love pickles. The Special Sauce is made with sweet or bread and butter pickles. The Big Mac has dill pickle slices in the construction. Refrigerator or quick pickles are incredibly easy and rewarding, and work perfectly in recreating your Big Mac at home so I am going that route.

The only ingredient that made me hesitate was the sesame seed bun. For me, making them from scratch seemed like pushing burger night into too much work, so I used store-bought buns, knowing I would grill them with butter to raise their pedigree. Everything else is in your pantry, fridge or at the grocer.