Proving once again that most things are indeed better there, McDonald's Canada has a web video series in which you can ask McDonald's executive chef, Dan, anything.
I mean, I think you're mostly supposed to stick to food-and-McDonald's-related questions, and not things like, "Dan, ever watch your wife sleep and wonder if you still love her?" or "Ever have a gay experience at camp?"
In a recent episode, Dan answered a reader query about the secret ingredients to the famed Big Mac "special sauce."
There are many things to love about this video. One, the part when Dan discusses the importance of "aromatics," because, come on, Dan. Two, where he kind of burns all of us by being like, "It's not even a' secret' anymore. Have you guys heard of the Internet?"
As xoJane's noted condiment enthusiast and nightmare food aficionada, I decided to give Home Made Big Mac Sauce a whirl.
I have a special relationship with special sauce. The only time we went to McDonald's when I was a kid was when my dad was picking me up for the summer. There was one in Delaware, Ohio, the melancholy half-way point on the three hour drive that separated my divorced parents' houses. To me, Big Macs taste like vacation, paternal affection and partial custody.
I've been saying for years (YEARS!) that it's not just Thousand Island dressing, or, as "The Simpsons" had it, mayonnaise left in the sun. And here was my chance to prove it.
I martialed my courage, my ingredients and my sister, Thea, because I knew I was going to do some stuff that only family members should watch. You know, like childbirth, or lying in a hospice, dying of gout.
First, mise en place. I like to put my products in a row so they look like the Usual Suspects poster. Then I decide which ingredient represents which actor based both on personality and shared physical characteristics.
- sweet pickles (Gabriel Byrne)
- mayonnaise (Stephen Baldwin)
- yellow mustard (Kevin Pollack)
- white wine vinegar (Kevin Spacey)
- "aromatics," alias garlic powder, onion powder and paprika (Benicio del Toro. Racist, Julieanne.)
I also like to put mine on a lazy susan so I can spin them around and make wikka wikka wikka noises and call myself MC Myocardial Infarction.
Now, a few things: First, please do not get up in my mix for using light mayo. I agree that in most instances, ONLY full-fat will do, but we'll be doing a few… other things with our mayonnaise here that necessitate using the sad Karen Carpenter version. Insensitive, Julieanne.
Second, Chef Dan says he uses relish in his sauce, but I don't buy anything pre-chopped. Why? Well, for one thing, I like to control the size of my chunks, and two, because you never know what else they put in stuff when they chop it up or shred it for you. Some relishes have added binders or other flotsam. I don't buy pre-shredded cheese, either, because the stuff they put in there to keep it from clumping also hinders melting. Fun facts! Moving on.
Let's start with the pickles. Why not? Three, diced fine as you like. Spinderella cut 'em up a few times.
Next, start with a whole cup of the mayo. But first, take a moment to appreciate the majesty of a virgin jar of mayo and the little mayo outie.
When you've come to, add a table spoon of mustard. Lick the tablespoon, because you're gross.
Now, your spices. Or, if you're some kind of la-dee-dah Canadian chef, aromatics. If you use a glass bowl, photograph them up close so it looks like they're FLOATINGGGG IN SPAAAAAAACE. Calm down. Stir.
Look! It's starting to look like the gelatinous ochre slurry we all know and love.
A fun thing to do with your home-made chain restaurant sauce is to spoon it into a pretty vintage canning jar. But I didn't. Do I live in Asheville? Do I have an alpaca farm and a cute, tattooed boyfriend? No. This is going in a crystal bowl.
Jesus Christ. "I guess all the crystal in the world can't make what's truly ugly beautiful." -- my script for "Showgirls 2."
Thea decided it was time for a cocktail. I stuck with iced tea because deep down, I knew I wasn't finished yet.
"What if," I said cautiously, "we made a Big Mac Ranch?" Thea slapped me, because gin makes her violent. Then we hugged.
But because we couldn't just eat Big Mac Ranch with a spoon (Kidding! We did.), we decided that this invention was so brilliant that it merited a proper vehicle or two.
Thea, for her part, wanted to see if she could make an Etsy version of the McDonald's snack wrap, with Angus beef, sliced avocado, heirloom tomatoes, and cabbage slaw. McDonald's prefers a "beef finger" for their horrifying fucking snack wraps, but because we're not monsters, she decided on "tiny patties."
My favorite culinary sub genre is "stuff on sticks that are meant to be shoved in the mouth, whole," so I decided to make a miniaturized Big Mac on a Stick.
First, I formed the fancy ground beef into balls.
Now you may have noticed that my balls are different sizes. And that's OK. In fact, it's healthy and normal.
Brown those balls. Let them sit for a few minutes a side, but turn them so they don't burn. Use a slotted spoon whittled from a drumstick because you're fucking awesome.
Now drain your balls. Make a funny squinty face when you do.
When your balls are still warm, spear them on a toothpick with a grape tomato, a slice of pickle, a little square of cheddar and a little folded lettuce for crunch. You don't have to use cheddar, but you may not use American cheese, because American cheese isn't food. American cheese is something that was accidentally invented when somebody tried to make a sandwich in the brundlepod. Don't eat it.
Why don't I have a cute tattooed boyfriend?
Look how pretty Thea's snack wraps are! I love cooking with her. Except one time, in a crowded kitchen, she full-on emergency room stabbed me. It was an accident and it's a really awesome story but it's not table talk so we'll save it for a later time, when I'm mad at Thea. For now, it's ranch time.
In my house, we make it by combining equal parts buttermilk, mayonnaise and sour cream, then adding red bell pepper, white onion, fresh herbs and a few seasonings.
It's important that the onion and pepper are MINCED. You want onions and peppers that Oscar Wilde would hit on. Homophobic, Julieanne.
You absolutely MUST use dill and chives for ranchy flavor, but you can pretty much add anything else you like. I will throw in whatever I have -- today it was flat leaf parsley. I stay away from basil and cilantro though as they tend to highjack the other flavors.
Salt, pepper and a dash each of garlic powder and paprika. If you like a little extra tang, you can squeeze a lemon wedge in there.
Stir in your special sauce while singing an R. Kelly song. Put your Big Mac Ranch in a martini glass because you are a piece of trash.
How does Big Mac Ranch taste, you ask? Like getting head from Guy Fieri in a Corvette!
If you're still reading, or alive, thank you very much for joining me in my kitchen, the HH Holmes Hotel for Food.
I hope to make more horrifying things for you guys in the future. Email me your ideas, or for sex, at email@example.com.
NB: We took video but it didn't come out great. We also had a ton of extra grape tomatoes. I later got into an argument about how many grape tomatoes I can probably fit in my mouth before the end of the song "Roxanne," so I may make that video for you guys later.