Portraits of McDonald’s burgers

In 2009 I wrote a post about the then-new McDonald’s Grand Angus burger. At the time, Jac proclaimed the Grand Angus to be the best McDonald’s burger she’s ever eaten. The three things which impressed her were:

  1. The beef had great flavour and was a decent thickness – a really good, meaty chew, just how burger patties should be (in comparison to the much smaller, blander burger patties like what you got in a McFeast)
  2. The big, soft sourdough bun
  3. It had lots of lettuce in it – usually Jac orders her burgers with “heavy lettuce” because the standard amount of lettuce does not satisfy
McDonald's Grand Angus burger

McDonald’s Grand Angus burger

Someone wrote a comment at that post accusing me of posting “fake” photos because “there’s no way a McDonald’s burger could look that good”. Because he used obscene and abusive language to express his sentiments, I didn’t publish his comment. Of course, the photos weren’t “fake” – I’m no food stylist nor Photoshop expert. But it got me thinking about McDonald’s burgers.

When we first got together, Jac never ate McDonald’s, mostly because she didn’t like their burgers.

Even the famous double-decker Big Mac didn’t appeal to her because (she said) the beef patties were not thick/meaty enough, didn’t have much flavour and there was just too much bun. Me, I get a Big Mac craving once every few years. I eat a Big Mac when that happens and I really enjoy it. What I like best about the Big Mac is the special Big Mac sauce.

Big Mac

Big Mac

But the Angus range of McDonald’s burgers have converted Jac to McDonald’s burgers. She’s tried the Grand Angus and Mighty Angus and really likes both of those. Most recently, we both tried the Angus the Great burger. Hungry Jack’s/Burger King fans will scoff that it’s a rip-off of the Swiss Mushroom burger of the 1980s (with beef, Swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms), a burger I still think about regularly (yes, really!) and one that I’ve been fervently wishing Hungry Jack’s will bring back (my psychic signals must’ve gotten crossed somehow and connected with McDonald’s instead!). Angus the Great features an Angus beef patty, a slice of Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms and McChicken sauce in a sourdough bun. Yes… it does sound remarkably similar to the Hungry Jack’s Swiss Mushroom burger!

I wonder about the inclusion of McChicken sauce. Was this due to a lack of inspiration, convenience (why invent a new sauce or introduce another ingredient into the supply chain) or is it simply a nod to an awesome sauce?

Angus the Great didn’t look as attractive as its Angus burger cousins, but the Angus beef was as delicious as ever. I thought the burger as a whole was very soggy though, with the McChicken sauce leaking out all over the bottom bun. And it wasn’t mushroomy enough for me. I probably won’t buy another one – I’ll just keep dreaming about the Hungry Jack’s Swiss Mushroom burger.

McDonald's Angus the Great burger

McDonald’s Angus the Great burger

I remember when McDonald’s began introduced the Angus burgers and also began to fancy-up their chicken burgers too. The classic McChicken is still around, of course. I remember the first time I ate one. I loved the McChicken sauce but was disappointed to discover that the chicken patty didn’t taste like a big version of a Chicken McNugget. Did any of you share this disappointment? I’ve always thought if they’d used the same batter for the McChicken as they use for the McNuggets, McChicken burgers would be even more popular. I haven’t tasted better fast food chicken nugget batter than on a McNugget.

McDonald's McChicken burger

McDonald’s McChicken burger

One of the first “fancied up” McDonald’s chicken burgers I tried was the McDonald’s Chicken Deluxe burger, which came in crispy and seared (pictured) varieties. This burger was a nice, generous hefty handful, with a juicy chicken breast, gooey melted cheese and big pillowy soft flour-dusted sourdough bun.

McDonald's Chicken Deluxe burger (seared)

McDonald’s Chicken Deluxe burger (seared)

This was the Chicken Deluxe burger (crispy) with bacon, which Jac loved because of that big soft sourdough bun and the abundance of mixed lettuce as standard.

McDonald's Chicken Deluxe burger (crispy)

McDonald’s Chicken Deluxe burger (crispy)

A fairly recent limited time only chicken burger was called the Legend. According to legend (hah!), the Legend Chicken Burger was named after Cricketing Legend (yes, more hah!), King of Spin Shane Warne. Great bowler, great burger. The picture speaks for itself.

Legend chicken burger

Legend chicken burger

Here’s the latest: McDonald’s Grand Chicken burger, with 100% chicken breast (crispy or seared), fresh tomato, gourmet salad mix, Coon cheese, creamy mayonnaise, sliced red onion and finished with a dollop of onion relish and served in a sourdough bun. This was a very tasty and handsome chicken burger. McDonald’s burgers have definitely gotten better-looking.

McDonald's Grand Chicken burger

McDonald’s Grand Chicken burger

The Grand Chicken burger is really tasty, but be warned: between the fresh sliced red onion and the sweet onion relish, you end up with a strong onion aftertaste that repeats on you. Now if they swapped the onion relish for McChicken sauce, THAT would be something! Presumably, you can order a Grand Chicken burger with McChicken sauce instead of onion relish if you are prepared to wait for it to be custom-made for you (when I worked at McDonald’s almost 20 years ago, the custom orders were called “grill” orders. The funniest grill order I remember putting through was “Filet O Fish, no fish, add lettuce”).

But after all that, the little old Filet O Fish is still my favourite. I just love that soft chewy squishy steamed bun with no sesame seeds, the crispy crumbed fish filet, slice of melted plastic cheese and the chunky tartare sauce. I’ve loved the Filet O Fish ever since I was a girl in Malaysia getting excited about the new durian shake at Malaysian McDonald’s. I hope they don’t replace it with some fancy fish burger with gourmet salad mix and a sourdough bun.

Filet O Fish - I want to sink my teeth into that

Filet O Fish – I want to sink my teeth into that

If you now feel like going to McDonald’s for a burger, I apologise.

For the record, I like McDonald’s and I like Hungry Jack’s. I love Hungry Jack’s Whoppers and Grilled Chicken burgers. McDonald’s has the superior chicken nuggets, but Hungry Jack’s has Onion Rings. So there’s room for both in my life.

McDonald’s fans: what’s your favourite McDonald’s burger? Do you prefer the classic old school burgers, or the new fancy range?

If you enjoyed this portraits of McDonald’s burgers post, you may enjoy my portraits of doughnuts post.

Yes, I know fast food isn’t good for you. I take responsibility for what I choose to eat and consume McDonald’s (and other fast food) as part of a balanced diet. The photographs featured in this post were taken over months, rather than weeks or days. So please, no outraged lectures about the evils of fast food.

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