Burger Month 2023: McDonald’s Big Mac

When I was very young, my family and I would go to McDonalds’ every weekend late at night. It was just something we did. I would usually get a McChicken because I was a little idiot who thought burgers were disgusting. Quite a reversal, huh? Anyway, even though I was still yet to transform to the burger fiend I am today, I was always amazed at the McDonald’s Big Mac. My younger self thought it was something that was impossible to eat in one sitting. I mean, you are eating two all-beef burger patties, with special sauce, lettuce, cheese and pickles all in this weird double decker sesame seed bun. I couldn’t even fathom fitting the Big Mac into my tiny, little mouth, let alone finish the darn thing!

Well, now that I’m older and bigger, I’ve definitely had my share of Big Macs. I have figured out, although it looked imposing in my youth, the Big Mac can definitely be finished in one sitting… with a large side of McDonald’s french fries and a large soda. While the magic of the Big Mac may have diminished a lot since my younger days and I have had now tried a variety of burgers by now, I still find myself returning to McDonald’s signature burger once in a while. So, I thought, as this is Burger Month, why not talk about one of the big burger staples that’s been available longer than most of us have been alive? Why not talk about the Big Mac this week?

We all know about McDonald’s so I’m not really sure what I can add to the conversation. I mean, it is the company that basically engineered the fast food process, for better or for worse. This means they’re able to pump out an order very quickly and make each order with practically the same flavor profile as everywhere in the world. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. If that’s true, then that would mean the Big Mac over here in the Philippines would taste the same as one from Japan. Supposedly.

Of course, there are going to be slight variations with each Big Mac. One might get too much or too little “special sauce.” Some might get a ton of shredded lettuce while another hardly getting some. Sometimes the cheese is a little melted or whatnot. Well, this time, I decided to take home my order because I was kind of in a rush. Can I just say I do love how much thought McDonald’s put into the Big Mac’s presentation, even without looking at the burger itself? I mean, I just love the fact they put it in a box. You know how most burgers are wrapped in paper but that simply won’t do for the Big Mac! No, we have to put it in a special container instead!

Even without the box, the Big Mac still stands above most other burgers when it comes to uniqueness because of the clubhouse sandwich effect. McDonald’s have to make a different kind of burger bun for the Big Mac as they have to add that extra layer of bread right smack in the middle. It would have been so easy to just slap on two burger patties and call it a day. But they put in the effort to make the Big Mac stand out by giving us that extra slice of bun in between those two burger patties. Even though it’s has been out since forever, I still cannot think of any other burger place that has tried to duplicate that clubhouse sandwich feel of the Big Mac.

Look at that lovable monstrosity

But how does the Big Mac taste today, especially after all these years and after I’ve tried a plethora of burgers that are now available? Is it actually good? I will say “yes” but with a whole lot of caveats attached. For one thing, the burger patties aren’t what you would call flavor packed. They’re tasty in their own right but there isn’t a whole lot of meaty goodness in them. They are just good enough but they are and have always been kind of try.

I actually like the shredded lettuce for a couple of reasons. For one, it does allow the Big Mac to not be all slippery. If they used a intact lettuce leaf, I would imagine the burger patties just sliding all over the place. Also, using shredded lettuce essentially means there aren’t going to be wet spots, which would just make the Big Mac all mushy. The only problem I have with the shredded lettuce is it does tend to “shed” off, which is another reason why I love the box the Big Mac is served in: it can catch all the loose lettuce shreds with little fuss.

Now, I’ve always had some issue with the “special sauce” on the Big Mac because, frankly speaking, I don’t really know what’s special about it. Sure, it does give the Big Mac a unique taste but it’s not what I would actually call “special.” I mean, by itself, the “special sauce” comes off like salad dressing. I do like the added sourness of the pickles as it does give the Big Mac just a little punchiness to it and keeps it from tasting all same-y throughout.

I really couldn’t figure out how to take a good pic of a “dismantled” Big Mac… so, here.

So, why do I say the Big Mac actually tastes good, despite it not really excelling at anything besides the presentation? Well, that’s because of the junk-y quality to it that’s kind of inviting to someone who hasn’t really eaten a premium or “adult” burger. If you compare the Big Mac to other fast food premium burgers like Wendy’s Baconator or Jollibee’s Amazing Aloha, I would say McDonald’s version isn’t as good as those now. But, if I were much younger, I don’t think I would appreciate all the fat and greasiness of the Wendy’s Baconator or understand why anyone would put a pineapple slice in a burger like Jollibee’s Amazing Aloha. But the Big Mac? I would understand all those flavors because they are relatively simplistic and meant for younger people. The Big Mac just feels safe.

The Big Mac is the premium burger that’s easy to fall back on because, while it doesn’t taste great, it tastes just good enough to want it again and again. It’s a fairly uncomplicated burger despite the complexity of it having several layers. It’s kind of like baby’s first premium burger in that way. Even though I’ve had lots more better tasting burgers, I still fall back to the Big Mac once in a while because it’s something familiar to me. And there’s no shame in going back to what you know is reliable. If you don’t like McDonald’s Big Mac, I totally understand. I only recommend the Big Mac to those who haven’t tried it yet. It not something you have to rush out and eat if you haven’t had it. But it’s good… but just good.

What are your thoughts on McDonald’s Big Mac? Let me know in the comments section below!


One thought on “Burger Month 2023: McDonald’s Big Mac

  1. I hardly ever eat this stuff, but on occasion I get a Big Mac. It reminds me of simpler times. Agreed about the appeal of it — it’s nowhere near as good as a “real” burger for me but still can be satisfying depending on my mood.

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