Some big fast-food sandwich news broke last week. McDonald’s is bringing their Chicken-based version of the Big Mac to the United States. This sandwich has been a hit in the United Kingdom and the folks in the corporate office decided to bless some other countries with it.
The Chicken Big Mac has been fairly large news in the fast-food, junk food news world and I’ve skimmed a few articles about it. I’m sure it will do well for McDonald’s since they have fancy computer machines dialed into the sales of the sandwich in the UK.
I’ve always thought the Big Mac (like many club sandwiches) has a lopsided bread-to-meat ratio and I feel this particular chicken sandwich would be better with the middle roll removed and a larger chicken patty included instead of two skinny ones. I tweeted about the coming Chicken Big Mac and got a few good replies about how other folks might make it more interesting.
But enough thinking; let’s make our own Chicken Big Mac. But maybe we’ll also take a shot at making a more interesting version.
What is a Chicken Big Mac?
At this point, I’m assuming everyone knows what a Big Mac is. I wrote about a plant-based copycat of the Big Mac last year when I covered Impossible vs Beyond burger meat. You can check that out if you’d like a closer look at how to make a Big Mac at home (it’s easy to substitute regular ground beef for the plant-based “meat” versions I used).
The Chicken Big Mac is exactly the same as a regular Big Mac but the all-beef patties have been replaced with what McDonald’s calls “tempura fried chicken patties”. These are probably McChicken patties, which are simply listed as “boneless chicken” on the official McD’s allergen information. These are made from ground chicken meat, much like a very large McNugget and then they are breaded and fried. Because they are ground meat, you can shape them similar to the size of your bun for consistency and that’s what I ended up doing.
The Chicken Big Mac is coming to the United States, but only to Miami, Florida at first. So if you want to try it, you either have to buy a plane ticket or you can use my recipes below to make your own.
What are we making?
Well, first I made a regular homemade Chicken Big Mac just to see if it was any good. And it is! There’s still too much bread though. But since the entire United Kingdom seems to love the Chicken Big Mac, I carried on.
Here’s my regular Chicken Big Mac recipe:
And keep reading to find out how to make this in a much more exciting Buffalo Chicken Big Mac version.
The Buffalo Chicken Big Mac copycat
Two all-chicken patties
As I wrote above, these are basically just glorified, large, fried chicken nuggets. I wrote about chicken nugget sliders in the past and these patties are similar but not quite the same.
I used chicken breast meat, and I ran the meat through the grinder attachment for my food processor. I ground the meat once, seasoned it with salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, mixed everything up, and then ground the meat again. Using a 4-inch round biscuit cutter, I shaped several patties and then moved them to the freezer to solidify.
There’s no binder in these chicken patties, so you’re using the freezing tactic to keep all the meat in the proper shape and form during frying.
It’s also easy to forget that your patties will grow after being dredged in egg, buttermilk, and flour and then fried. So, if you think your patty is too thin, it likely will not be too thin after it’s fully cooked.
Buffalo sauce is awesome in its simplicity unless you plan to make your own hot sauce. If you are cool with using store-bought hot sauce, an easy buffalo sauce can be two ingredients: butter and hot sauce. I and a whole lot of the rest of the world, typically use Frank’s RedHot brand, but you can do it with any brand of hot sauce.
*Here are some words to fill up the lettuce section*
Please add more lettuce-related content in the comments below if you have any. It was iceberg lettuce, shaved off the head and sliced thin. That’s it.
Buffalo sauce requires blue cheese. Some folks prefer ranch, and they are incorrect.
I made a thicker blue cheese dressing to accompany this Buffalo Chicken Big Mac and stand in as a sandwich sauce. In my recipe, I do explain that you should use buttermilk or regular milk to control the viscosity of your dressing/sauce. That’s the last ingredient you add and if you want a dressing for a salad, you might want to add more liquid to create a thinner dressing, but if you want a blue cheese spread, you will add less liquid so that the sauce doesn’t just run off of the sandwich.
I pickled some celery for this sandwich. I figured we could either replace the pickles from the original big mac with celery or have celery AND pickles which seems weird, or we could just pickle the damn celery and so that’s what I did.
Because I wanted these to be both similar to dill pickles and also retain their celery characteristics I used my MSG dill pickle recipe and did not cook or boil the celery. This way it retains some of its crunch, while still being very pickled and dilly.
My wife and I were excited about the flavors and texture of pickled celery, and we might just have gotten inspired for another application for it in the sandwich world.
On a sesame seed bun
These were my potato burger buns that I forced to be a bit taller and a few grams heavier. Normally I flatten my buns (*context*) and force them to rise in a less round shape that works better for sandwiching, but in this case, I left them very spherical to have more area for the middle “club” bun slice.
Note: in McDonald’s lingo, the three bun pieces for a Big Mac are called the heel (bottom), club (middle), and crown (top).
If the bun is tall enough, you can make two slices to cut out the club (middle) slice. If you have normal store-bought buns, you probably will have to sacrifice a second bun, slice the top and bottom off, or slice a tiny sliver off a bottom bun to get this club piece. If you have to slice up an extra bun to get that club piece, don’t throw the extra parts of the bun in the trash. Put them in a container or freezer zip-top bag and freeze the pieces to create breadcrumbs or make croutons in the future. Bread freezes fantastically.
Here’s the updated version of my potato bun recipe. The difference here is that I painted on an egg wash and sprinkled each bun with sesame seeds before baking.
To be a bit more accurate, I probably should have used an egg white wash instead of a whole egg wash here. A whole egg wash (including the yolk) will make your final baked buns shiny, whereas an egg white wash will not. McDonald’s buns are not shiny under the sesame seeds, so they are not rolling with the yolks.
Buffalo Chicken Big Mac recipe
Here’s my entire recipe for the buffalo chicken Big Mac.
Spicy and creamy version of a Chicken Big Mac. If you like buffalo wings, you'll dig this version.
- 1 pound ground chicken meat (thigh or breast or a combination of the two)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 whole egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- peanut oil or another neutral frying oil (enough to fill at least 2 inches in your pot or pan)
Fried chicken patties: grind your own chicken in a food processor or meat grinder. You can also purchase ground chicken from the store if you can find it. If you've never processed ground chicken before and you own a food processor, chop the meat into small 1/2-inch pieces and add to a food processor, pulse until you have a paste of ground chicken with no large pieces.
Grab a small bowl and pour 1/2 to 1 cup of water into it. You will be using this to dip your hands/fingers in while you're shaping chicken patties and the water helps your hands to not stick to the chicken as much.
In a large bowl add chicken, sugar, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Wet your hands and use them to mix up all the chicken and spices. Your hands are the best tool for this, and you will have to use them again in shaping your patties.
Line a sheet pan with parchment and spray with non-stick baking spray if you want. This will help the patties not stick to the surface as much, but it's optional. Take a quarter of a portion of the chicken mixture and spoon it onto the parchment. With wet hands, shape the chicken mixture into a round shape that is similar to the size of the bun that you have. Do this 3 more times until you run out of the chicken mixture. I found that you'd want your raw chicken patties to be about a quarter to a half-inch thick.
Once your patties are formed, they need to go into the freezer to firm up. You can freeze them for an hour and then if you want, you can remove them from the sheet pan and package them up in freezer-safe bags and store them in the freezer until you plan to use them. I wouldn't store them for more than a few months, but up to a couple of weeks in the freezer should be just fine.
Chicken patty dredging and frying: When you are ready to make your sandwiches, it's time to make the dredging station.
Grab two large dishes. In one dish add your all-purpose flour, salt, ground black pepper, and paprika. Stir it all up. In the second bowl, add your whole egg and buttermilk and whisk to combine.
Remove your frozen chicken patties and one at a time coat them in flour, then dip them in the egg/buttermilk mixture and then back into the flour. You want to make sure they are coated thoroughly after each step. In the end, they should be coated in a thin amount of seasoned flour. Place each flour-coated patty on a plate, cutting board, or cooling rack to wait for frying.
Add at least 2 inches of oil to a large pot and add to medium-high heat on your stove. If you have an instant-read thermometer or frying thermometer, you want to get the oil temperature up to 350 F (176 C).
Fry each patty for 5 to 6 minutes or until they are golden brown. I suggest flipping each patty at about the 3-minute mark and cooking for the rest of the time on the second side.
Rest your fried patties on a cooling rack or a paper towel-lined sheet pan while you cook the rest.
Buffalo sauce: add butter to a medium skillet or pot over medium heat.
When the butter has melted, add hot sauce and stir to combine.
Cook a couple more minutes and then remove from the heat.
Add chicken patties to the pan with the sauce and flip a couple of times to get a good coating of sauce on each patty.
Sandwich assembly: prepare your buns by slicing two buns normally and then cutting the very top and the very bottom off two other buns. You just need the middle parts of these last two buns. The top and bottom can be frozen and used later for breadcrumbs or turned into croutons.
Toast all six bun slices.
To the bottom, toasted slice of the bun, add 2 tablespoons of blue cheese dressing and a small pile of lettuce.
Top the lettuce with one of your buffalo sauce-coated chicken patties and then top that patty with the middle slice of bun.
On the middle slice of the bun, you will add another 2 tablespoons of blue cheese dressing, more lettuce, and a few pickles or pickled celery.
Top that with a second buffalo sauce-coated chicken patty and then crown with the top bun.
Serve your Buffalo Chicken Big Macs and enjoy.
This was a good sandwich
You should make one of these at home! If I made them again, I would get rid of that middle, club, piece of bun though. My wife enjoyed a similar version of this sandwich but with just one fried chicken patty and no club piece of bun and hers looked like a way more balanced sandwich experience.
Reminder: no sandwich post next Monday because of the US Labor Day holiday but check back next Tuesday when I actually fulfill what I promised last week and get into the pork and greens!