Painstakingly recreating a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder at home defies the logic of McDonald’s – it’s way cheaper and easier to hit up the drive-through and down a burger for a couple of bucks without removing your seatbelt. Facebook group Homemade McDonald’s proudly challenges that rationale.
Homemade McDonald’s has – currently – 27,292 members who create replica burgers, nuggets and even apple pies, then upload photos of their efforts for the appreciation of other McDonald’s connoisseurs. (When Broadsheet first reported this story, the group had 360 members.) Each upload is accompanied by a rating out of ten for both taste and aesthetic, plus a list of ingredients.
Founder and group admin Joel [surname withheld] says he’d been cooking homemade McDonald’s for a few years before starting the group in February. “I would mostly make QPs [Quarter Pounders], Big Macs or cheebus [cheeseburgers],” he says. “I’m in another group called Fat, Lazy and Useless where I would upload some of my Macca’s meals and members thought they were pretty funny. So I made a group and invited some friends but didn’t expect people to post stuff.”
The most impressive creation so far has been a complete “Family Feast” meal by Daniel Yakimov, including a Big Mac, McFeast, cheeseburger, McChicken, large fries, ten McNuggets, Oreo McFlurry and post-mix Fanta. Yakimov says he spent the “majority of his day” making the meal after hearing about the group from a friend at the pub.
The nuggets were fashioned into the four standard nugget shapes (bell, ball, boot and bone) double coated in egg and seasoned flour and shallow-fried; the Big Mac sauce was made from scratch via a genius combination of mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, white vinegar, mustard, white onion, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder; Fanta was mixed with sparkling water to get the ideal post-mix flavour; and the fries were displayed in an up-cycled McDonald’s cardboard sleeve. It raised the bar, and then dunked it in sweet-and-sour sauce.
Other noteworthy posts include an apple pie made from scratch by Bernadette Francis (“no store bought puff pastry”); a Big Mac so perfect you could cry by Daniel Whyte (his tip for creating thin enough buns was to cut supermarket hamburger buns into thirds lengthways); and Jonathon Miegel’s vegan rendition of a six-pack of nugs made with firm tofu (“good experiment, can definitely be improved”) with its honest rating of 4/10 for vegan taste and 2/10 for non-vegan taste.
Replicating McDonald’s meals isn’t new. There are subreddits dedicated to perfecting specific items such as Big Mac sauce and fries and my mum even has a handwritten recipe for Big Mac sauce in our family cookbook from the ’90s, jammed between a meatball recipe from Kate Ritchie of Home and Away and my great grandma’s recipe for Norwegian cream. The Homemade McDonald’s group takes it to the next level through the sharing of recipes and information, plus the burning desire for approval from a council of unofficial Macca’s overlords.
The group isn’t without controversy. Rules state vegans are welcome to submit their own animal-product-free versions of traditional menu items, despite heated discussion within the group about whether this constitutes an authentic McDonald’s experience. “We took a poll and they [the vegans] passed,” Joel says. “There are some disgruntled members that don’t like it.”
Joel would like to see the project spread worldwide. “Some of the menu items in other countries are nuts,” he says. “I want to see that.” Specifically, he’s keen for someone to recreate an Ogre Premium Chicken Burger, which celebrated the release of Shrek Forever After in 2010, and came with green-pesto mayo. Group star-contributor Yakimov was a fan of the Taste of the Orient menu, available in Australia in 1994, and featuring mini spring rolls. Yes, ex-menu items, promotional items and ex-promotional items are allowed but do not go near the Create Your Own Taste menu. Group lore states “Create Your Own Bullshit is cheating”.
Full disclosure, this writer is obsessed with the group and has spent time perfecting the homemade cheeseburger (including spending considerable time picking sesame seeds off a bun by hand for the true aesthetic). If you’re going to recreate a classic, you can’t do it half-arsed.
Here’s the recipe.
Milk bun (Breadtop has a good range and if you pre-order 10 or more you can get the buns that look and taste most like cheeseburger buns but slightly smaller, otherwise pick the sesame seeds of the other variety of milk buns they stock)
One slice of pickle
Cheese slice (try Dairylea Burger Cheese for the correct colour and melting point)
Halve bun and lightly toast the insides in a fry pan.
Make a pattie from the minced beef and fry until cooked through.
Spread tomato sauce and mustard on the top half of the bun.
Sprinkle diced onion on top of sauce and top with a slice of pickle.
Place cooked meat pattie on bottom half of bun and cover with a cheese slice.
Assemble the two halves to create the burger and squash buns so the burger is flatter and looks like it was handled with limited care and crushed in the bag under the burgers your siblings ordered.
Microwave for 15 seconds. Very important: this is to achieve the same “sweaty” quality that the McDonald’s cheeseburgers get from being wrapped in paper.
Wait a few minutes before eating (equivalent to completing the drive-through and eating a few handfuls of fries as an appetiser).
This article was written by Broadsheet’s snack detective Emily Naismith. To hear more about her weird food adventures, listen to her food podcast Ingredipedia. We recommend the pickle episode if you also have an unhealthy obsession with cheeseburgers.
This article was updated on April 9, 2020 to reflect the increased membership of the Facebook group.