For the first time in living memory, McDonald's has changed the cooking formula to its classic burgers. If Ronald's PR minions are to be believed, the new burgers are hotter, juicier and tastier than their predecessors. We recently tucked into a Cheeseburger, Quarter Pounder and Big Mac. Here is our verdict.
When I say "we", I mean it in the Royal/editorial sense. In reality, I fronted up to McDonald's and ordered three burgers for myself like a right fat bastard. But I felt a comprehensive test was necessary. Because I care about the truth.
But first, let's take a look at what's different.
For those who missed last month's announcement, McDonald's Australia has changed its cooking process for the holy trinity of 'McClassic' burgers - namely the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder and Cheeseburger. Everything from the onions to the bread has been tweaked and evolved in a bid to make the finished product taste better.
"We’ve reviewed all of the steps and elements that go into serving our classic burgers to ensure they are the very best they can be,” McDonald’s explained in a statement. "Here in Australia, we’ll be the first country in the world to serve these hotter, juicier and tastier burgers at every one of our restaurants."
Here are some of the chief changes:
- The patties are now seared more quickly for a juicier, hotter finish.
- The onions are also added to the grill to impart more flavour.
- The buns are softer and are freshly toasted prior to serving.
- Big Mac's special sauce has been "improved".
In other words, we're not talking about a total reinvention here. Instead, multiple elements have been slightly enhanced to form a greater whole. Well, that's the idea anyway.
Visually, the new burgers are noticeably different to their predecessors and I'm not sure it's a change for the better. The buns now sport a curious sheen that reminded me of apple wax. It makes the product seem even more artificial than before.
In terms of taste, the new burgers have undergone some perceptible changes... and I really quite like 'em! Via some arcane heating method probably involving Grimace's nut sack, the burgers now stay hotter for much longer. I transported my shameful bevy from the store to my house in the black of winter on foot. This took around five minutes, but they remained perfectly warm 'n' toasty.
The onions also taste a lot better, though it's possible you won't notice beneath all the mustard and ketchup. (I always order my cheeseburgers sans sauce, because I'm a weirdo.)
All in all, the 'new taste' burgers are definitely an improvement, albeit a subtle one. If you don't regularly dine at Macca's you probably won't be able to tell the difference. On that note, I rarely order Big Macs and the new-and-improved sauce seemed identical to my taste buds - but your experience might vary.
With that said, fast-food connoisseurs will appreciate the difference. It's just a shame that the buns now look like plastic.
The Verdict: 8/10
Hayley, Tiffany and Quang are three typical 20-something millennials. In addition to working in the same office, they share something else in common: none of them have ever eaten a Big Mac.