Takeaway Truth: McDonald’s Grand Big Mac

Takeaway Truth: McDonald’s Grand Big Mac
Image: Supplied

Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images to what you actually get served. Today: McDonald’s Grand Big Mac burger. (Plus taste test!)

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac in Australia, McDonald’s has launched the Grand Big Mac – a larger, premium version of its most iconic burger.

So what’s different? Unlike the Angus Big Mac from a few years ago, the Grand Big Mac doesn’t add any new ingredients. Instead, this is just a ‘roided up version of the original burger, boasting larger beef patties, bigger sesame seed buns and more lettuce, cheese, onions and Special Sauce.

Takeaway Truth: McDonald’s Grand Big MacSame, yet different.

Here’s how the nutritional stats compare:

Original Big Mac Grand Big Mac
Energy 2180kJ 3500kJ
Protein 26.9g 48.3
Fat 28.6g 47.1g
Carbohydrates 37.4g 53.5g
Sugars 6.4g 8.9g
Sodium 993mg 1360mg

That’s quite a hefty markup on the kilojoule front. You could grab an original Big Mac meal with hot chips and a soft drink for roughly the same calorie damage as a standalone Grand burger. By itself, the Grand Big Mac costs around $7.50 although prices vary slightly depending on location.

Here’s the advertising pitch from McDonald’s website:

When that Big Mac craving calls for something more, sink into two larger 100% pure beef patties with salt & pepper sandwiched between a sesame seed bun. All dressed with two times the special sauce and two slices of American cheese, crisp lettuce, onions and pickles to top it off. Rediscover the love for this iconic burger for a limited time.

The use of the word “rediscover” is rather telling – as we have noted in the past, Big Macs aren’t as popular as they used to be, with an increasing number of customers opting for McDonald’s premium burger range intead. While it’s not an endangered species just yet, the Big Mac’s heyday is definitely over.

Perhaps the Grand Big Mac will be able to reverse its fortunes? Well, that largely depends on how appetizing it looks.

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To find out how the Grand Big Mac marketing image compares to the real thing, we picked one up from a McDonald’s outlet in Blaxland, NSW. Here they are side-by-side:

Takeaway Truth: McDonald’s Grand Big Mac

As is typical of McDonald’s burgers, the Grand Big Mac has a slightly squashed appearance that you don’t see in the adverts. The cheese is a big mess too, presumably due to hasty assembly.

Yeah yeah, I realise this is disposable fast food designed for mindless consumption – but when you’re paying extra for a “premium” Macca’s burger that comes in a fancy box, I expect them to put a bit more effort in.

As for the taste, it’s exactly what you would expect a slightly bigger Big Mac to taste like. The patties have a larger footprint, but are still quite thin compared to a Quarter Pounder or Angus burger.

You could replicate the experience by eating one and-a-half Big Macs with extra sauce in a single sitting. Not terrible, but no surprises either.

Truth Verdict: 5/10

Taste Verdict: 7/10


  • Had one yesterday on one of my rare trips to Maccas. For me, I didn’t look at it as a premium option, though its being marketed as such, but more a Big Mac and a Half.

    On that note, it delivered for me. It felt bigger both in the hand (and noticeably heavier), and while eating, and reminded me of how I remembered Big Macs when I was a kid. When they were probably still the same size as a normal Big Mac is now, only feeling bigger because I was smaller.

    Not sure I’d chase one down again before they end, but the Big Mac hasn’t felt big for years to me, while this one did. I didn’t feel disappointed.

    • I think you’ve just stumbled upon an untapped nostalgia market: charge people to make their favourite childhood products 1.5 times bigger!

      • Sensationalising the size works, just look at the mini NES and SNES. They work because they look so much like the original, but adding a cuteness factor with their far tinier size. The games help as well I suppose.

        The Grand Big Mac worked for me for similar reasons, just the opposite ratios. It FELT like how many remember a Big Mac being, which has been shown repeatedly to be a Mandela effect. They never were as big as we remember them being.

        Except this one is 🙂 So yeah, enter the nostalgia feels. All it needed was the (horrible) styrofoam container and I’d be back in 1980.

  • Once again we see food that looks barely edible, and prepared by someone who doesn’t care.

    Why waste your money when 20 minutes in the kitchen would produce something vastly superior?

  • I had one the other day. I have to say although it didn’t look exactly like the advertised pictire, it looked much better than yours.
    What I did also notice was it seemed to have a fair bit more special sauce ration than a normal Big Mac. Quite often I’ve found Big Macs to be a bit dry due to lack of special sauce, but the Grand Mac was seriously sauce-up. It also seemed to have a higher pickle ratio, which was definitely welcome.

    It felt substantial compared to a Big Mac – I felt comestibly satisfied afterwards. It was saucier, picklier and cheesier – It was a a decent experience and put a standard Big Mac to shame a bit.

    • Mine only had a single pickle. I thought it was funny that the burger was so big and my second to last bite was when I found the single pickle.

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