Big Mac Throwdown


Last weekend during our outing to Little Goat Diner, Hannah ordered the All-American Burger – complete with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun.  Everyone at the table tried it and loved it, so I decided to surprise them with a version we could enjoy at home.  I started by Googling “Big Mac Special Sauce,” and there it was – the original recipe.   But gack!  It was pre-bottled, sugary, preservative-laden stuff.  Consequently, I set about making a healthier version (and by healthier I do not mean low-fat, simply not so processed) that would still taste like the real deal.

My homemade version of a Big Mac.

My trip to the store was somewhat amusing because, I have to be honest, I was a little embarrassed to put iceberg lettuce in my cart.  Seriously, when was the last time you bought iceberg? 1995?  Not to mention American cheese!  But with potential comments about inauthenticity looming in my mind, I did what any semi-rational/semi-ridiculous woman would do – I put the lettuce and cheese in the cart and buried them under oranges and bananas so no one but the check-out guy would see them.  (I even felt compelled to explain to the check-out guy that I was trying to replicate a Big Mac so he wouldn’t be all judgy over my vitamin deficient lettuce.  What is wrong with me?!)

Anyway, back to the burgers.  I am thrilled to tell you that they received rave reviews and I even had requests for the leftover Special Sauce (recipe below) to be used on turkey sandwiches for lunch the next day.  It probably didn’t hurt that I served the burgers with whipped cream-laden strawberry milkshakes and that I didn’t try to sneak veggies onto their plates save for the fries (which are loaded with potassium, are they not?).


Homemade Big Macs with Special Sauce

serves 4

For burgers:

  • 1 pound ground chuck, gently formed into four patties
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into shreds
  • 1/2 small white or yellow onion, finely minced
  • 4 sesame seed buns
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • jarred pickle slices

For sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Veganaise or Miracle Whip (I used Veganaise and it is worth seeking out  – in the refrigerated section)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (I used Wickles)
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallot or use 2 teaspoons of the onion you minced for burger topping
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper
  1. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together.
  2. Season the formed beef patties with salt and pepper and grill or pan fry to desired doneness.  Melt cheese on burgers in last minute of cooking.
  3. Assemble and enjoy!

Recipe and photos via the aesthete and the dilettante.  Original Big Mac sauce recipe here.

7 thoughts on “Big Mac Throwdown

  1. What a GREAT idea! I think I would be a superstar if I could do this for my boys. Now if we could only figure out what they put in Shamrock Shakes….

  2. hilariously! my 3 year old loves to cut shapes out of american cheese with cookie cutters and i’m always in the same predicament wondering if i’ll bump into anyone asking why their healthy friend is buying american cheese! glad to know i’m not alone. 🙂

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