Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Copycat Big Mac

Stop whatever you're doing and get ready to go to the store. If you're a fan of the Big Mac but not really a fan of McDonald's or fast food anymore, here's a life-changing recipe for you and you're going to want to make it soon.  This recipe is amazing.  My family and I couldn't stop saying, "this is identical to the Big Mac!"

So I'll share with you how I was able to get this recipe right. Recently I made homemade Gyros.  There is actually a science to get that spongy yet firm loaf of meat that is found in American gyros.  While I was eating the Gyros, I discovered that the texture of the meat was very close to the texture of the meat at McDonald's, although mine was made of real meat.  I'm not sure what McDonald's uses.  But the gyros meat has a specific time to salt the meat, and then it's ground up in a food processor.  So, as I was discussing this with my husband, he suggested that we try making a Big Mac.  
Okay.  So the next challenge is the sauce.  I searched around and I found a lot of copycat recipes on Pinterest and the internet that use French dressing in their sauce, but that didn't sound right to me.  But then I came upon something pivotal.  There's a video on YouTube of the "head chef" of McDonald's showing you how to make a Big Mac at home. While he didn't give measurements for the sauce ingredients, I paid attention and made an educated guess.  

Okay, good.  Armed with that knowledge, it was time to head into the kitchen.  Now, here's what I needed:  "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun."  Remember that commercial?  Here it is in case you want to see it.  Big Mac Commercial (click for the link.)

You have a choice here of whether to grind the meat in a food processor.  You can skip that step and just shape the meat into patties and cook however you like.  But, if you want a true Big Mac experience, you'll want to grind the meat. Also, you will be spreading out the meat on a sheet pan.  Now, since this isn't a Wendy's burger where the meat is square, I used a large cup to cut the meat out into a circle.  There is a slight problem with that, though, because you'll have a lot of wasted meat.  And the meat in my picture looks a little jagged because I didn't have a round metal cutter big enough for my buns.  So I would suggest that you go Wendy's style and just cut the meat into squares.  

Anywho, this burger was completely awesome and well worth the effort, which really wasn't much effort at all.  Hope you enjoy it and I can't wait to hear how it turns out for you!

2 1/2 lbs ground beef
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 T bacon grease

1/2 C mayo
1 teaspoon mustard
2 T sweet relish
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons sugar

Sesame seed buns
Sliced American cheese
Finely chopped onions
Chopped iceberg lettuce
Sour pickle slices

For the meat, season the meat with the salt and pepper.  Mix it with your hands and place in a bowl.  Cover and chill at least two hours.  (If you are skipping this step, shape the patties and cook on the grill, in a skillet, or under the broiler.)

When you're ready to cook the meat, grind the meat and the bacon grease in a food processor.  You will end up with a pink paste.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Spread the meat mixture with wet hands onto a sheet pan covered with foil.  Spread the meat to your desired thickness.  Mine covered about 3/4 of the pan, and the patties were a little thick.  Take it all the way to the edges of the pan if you want the authentic skinny Big Mac patties.  Cook the meat about 30 minutes or until it registers 155 on a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and cover.  Let it rest about 10 minutes.  

Mix the sauce ingredients together.  Cut the meat into squares that fit the buns.  To assemble the burgers, you will need two bottom buns and one top bun.  (Save the extra top buns in the freezer for bread crumbs.)  Spread some sauce on the two bottom buns.  Top both bottom buns with some onions and lettuce.  Cheese goes next, then the meat, then the pickles.  Stack one bottom bun on top of the other and top with the top bun.  Enjoy!

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