In a cooking demonstration posted to YouTube in the summer of 2012, McDonald’s Canada, Inc., executive chef Dan Coudreaut shows us exactly how a Big Mac is made. Well, not exactly. He does make it clear that the recipe he is demonstrating in his home kitchen isn’t made with the exact same stuff McDonald’s uses. He says the ingredients in the Big Mac are “similar” to the type of items you “could buy at your local grocery store.” And Dan doesn’t give us any measurements. Oh what a tease you are, Dan. So, while this video did provide many clues as to how I could improve my twenty-five-year-old clone recipe for a Big Mac, there was still plenty of work to do. One thing I had to figure out was how to easily form the patties into the perfect size each time without having to track down a specialty baking ring. As I was looking at other objects that could do the trick, I noticed that a large tuna can is the perfect size to shape the patty and even better, we don’t need to open the can to use it! Just press the ground beef onto the top of the can to form perfect circles. In addition to this tip, the special sauce formula has been entirely re-hacked for the best Big Mac sauce clone ever published.

⅔ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
¾ teaspoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder

14 ounces ground beef (20 percent fat)
4 sesame seed hamburger buns, plus 4 additional heels (bottom bun)
Ground black pepper
4 teaspoons finely minced white onion
1 cup coarsely chopped iceberg lettuce
4 slices American cheese
8 to 12 dill pickle hamburger slices

1 12-ounce can of tuna (or other can with 4-inch diameter)

Cooking method

1-Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, then cover and chill the sauce until it’s needed.

2-Use a kitchen scale to measure out 1¾-ounce portions of the ground beef and form it into balls (or estimate making balls that are slightly bigger than golf balls). Press each ball of ground beef down flat onto the top of a 12-ounce tuna can with a 4-inch diameter. Invert the can to peel away the patties and arrange them on a wax paper–lined sheet pan. Cover the patties and place them in your freezer for 1 hour.

3-Preheat a griddle or large skillet to medium/low heat.

4-Slice a thin layer off the bottom of each of the extra bun heels. These will be your center buns, or clubs.

5-Lightly brown the faces of all of the buns (both sides of the club) on the hot griddle or pan.

6-When the buns are browned, cook the beef patties on the hot griddle or pan for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on each patty as they cook.

7-While the beef is cooking, prepare each sandwich by spreading a couple of teaspoons of sauce on the face of the bottom bun and on one side of the club bun.

8-Sprinkle about a teaspoon of onion on top of the sauce on each bun, followed by about ¼ cup of chopped lettuce.

9-Lay a slice of American cheese on the lettuce on the bottom bun, and 2 to 3 pickles on the lettuce on the club bun.

10-Arrange a beef patty on the cheese, and another one on the pickles, then place the club bun on the bottom bun and top off the sandwich with the crown. Microwave on high for 15 seconds to warm and soften the buns as if the burger had been packed in a box.

11-OPTIONAL The burgers McDonald’s uses for Big Macs are called 10-to-1 patties, which means that there are 10 patties in a pound, or 1.6 ounces each. For the purpose of this recipe I’ve rounded the weight up to a measurement that is more likely to register on all kitchen scales (1¾ ounces). If your sesame seed buns are large (McDonald’s buns are relatively small), you may want to make your patties 2 ounces each and press down on them on the wax paper with your fingers after molding them to make the diameter even larger to fit your buns.

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