I will admit, on the rare….. very, very rare occasion that I have had a few too many vinos (sound convincing?) I will succumb to a Big Mac.  Shame on me I know, but the last time I did indulge I was sorely disappointed.  What happened to the “Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun”?  I had a limp bun with two sickly looking patties, needless to say the quality of the beef was questionable.  The wilted and bruised lettuce adorned the majority of the container it was in, there was maybe one pickle and an abundance of sauce with something that shouldn’t be called cheese as it resembled a piece of plastic and tasted much the same.  The Big Mac was a shadow of its former self or maybe I and my tastebuds have blossomed into a lover of fine food.  Disappointed as I was it sparked a need in me to recreate this famous burger but on an Em’s Food scale…..bigger, better, tastier.  My son claimed it as ‘the best burger he had ever had’ and I am inclined to agree. Hasta la vista Macca’s…….I won’t be back!


Prep time:  20  Minutes              Cooking time:  20  Minutes               $  Low Budget


Serves 4


800gm of regular beef mince*

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

2 tsp of hot english mustard (heaped for extra spice)

2 tbs of tomato sauce

1 tbs of worcestershire sauce

1 tbs of thyme leaves

1 egg

Sea salt and pepper

8 short, rindless bacon rashers

4 slices of good vintage tasty cheese

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced

4 large dill pickles, sliced lengthways

1 baby cos, ends removed and very finely sliced

4 tbs of chutney*

4 Turkish rolls with seeds, halved crossways


For the ‘Special Sauce’:


4 tbs of store bought aioli

1 french shallot, very finely diced

1 tbs of baby capers, roughly chopped

grated rind of 1/2 a lemon

A squeeze of lemon juice

A splash of tobasco

1 tbs of finely chopped dill

1 tbs of finely chopped parsley

Sea salt and pepper


Remove the mince from the fridge just before mixing with the other ingredients as you want it nice and cold.  This will ensure the fat in the mince doesn’t melt on to your hands and the patties will be super juicy.  In a large bowl place the mince, mustard, garlic, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, thyme leaves and egg.  Use your hands to completely combine the ingredients and then form the mince into four large burger patties.  Flatten out so that they are about one inch thick.  Place on a tray and pop back in the fridge to chill up again.


Preheat the oven to 160°C.  Heat a large frypan to nice and hot and fry the bacon on both sides until golden.  Place the bacon on a tray and keep warm in the oven.


In a medium sized bowl combine the ingredients for the special sauce and mix well.  Set aside.


Season the patties liberally on both sides with salt and pepper (do this just before cooking as the salt will draw the moisture out of the mince resulting in dry, chewy burgers) and place them in the same pan.  Fry on both sides for 4-5 minutes or until just cooked through.  Remove from the pan and place them on a tray to rest.  Top with the bacon and a slice of cheese.  The cheese will melt just enough from the residual heat of the bacon and burger.


Heat a griddle pan or heat your grill and grill the burger buns until nice charred lines appear on each side.


To assemble the Big Em, spread a generous amount of chutney on the base and top with lettuce, tomato, pickles, burger/bacon/cheese and place a delicious dollop of the special sauce on top.  Place the lid of the bun on and prepare yourself with tucked in serviette and a large plate.  To cut the burger in half place two toothpicks in the bun about an inch apart and cut down the middle with a sharp knife (this is much more ladylike and makes it easier to wrap your mouth around the burger!).  Lastly, indulge in a seriously sensational burger.


*I think it is essential to use regular mince for these burgers.  Burger patties will be extremely dry without fat content and the whole point of this burger is to indulge in something packed full of juices and flavour.  I use the Beerenberg Farm Spicy Tomato Chutney available from Woolies but any good chutney will do.