McDonald’s is testing a chicken Big Mac. We hacked a preview.

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Chicken rules the fast food roost these days. Chains have been competing for a few years to create diners’ favorite crispy bird, thanks in part to Chick-fil-A’s market growth spurt and spurred on by Popeye’s introduction of that spicy sandwich that filled the feeds. Instagram and created wraparound lines.

So it seemed inevitable that even the most iconic of burgers would smell like the brush of a feather: McDonald’s is testing a version of its flagship offering, the Big Mac, which replaces beef burgers with chicken patties, according to the company. “We’re always looking to give our fans more ways to enjoy the classic menu items they know and love,” the company said in an email responding to The Washington Post’s question about the rumored new offering.

McDonald’s plans to test the chicken version of the Big Mac, having introduced it earlier this year for a run in the UK, for a limited time at Miami-area locations from the end of the month. And it hinted that the offering could eventually go national if reviews in the United States are good enough. “While not everything we test appears on our US menus, we will use this time to gather feedback from customers and the restaurant team as we consider opportunities to offer more delicious options in the future. “, said the company in the email.

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The formula is familiar (remember the jingle?) – there’s the special sauce, shredded lettuce, American cheese, pickles, served on a sesame bun – but the new riff substitutes two “chicken tempura patties with classic burger meat. (McDonald’s statement didn’t mention the usual diced onion that comes on the Big Mac.) The combination seems so predestined that one wonders why McDonald’s didn’t think of it sooner, especially since the chain had originally failed in the Great Chicken Sandwich. Wars. The Golden Arches were slow to fire after Popeye’s sandwich took off in 2019, and franchisees complained they lacked a “premium” chicken offering to compete with Chick-fil-A and other competitors.

Seemingly to save time before introducing its own version, McDonald’s tried a nominally “spicy” chicken sandwich which, at the time, I noted looked like “an amalgamation of various spare parts lying around in company garage,” including a Big Mac bun, chicken patty and barbecue sauce that tasted like it had been licked off a McRib. Now, with the Chicken Big Mac, the company has another menu item that appears to be similarly assembled from ingredients already in the Golden Arches pantry (although perhaps the chicken patty either a new model), which really appeals.

The Big Mac, which was introduced in 1968, has long since passed its status as a simple sandwich. It has become both an avatar of American capitalism and a substitute for lowbrow taste. And so that seems like the right palimpsest to reflect the current obsession with chicken in general and fast food fried rings more specifically. McDonald’s has already tweaked the formula, briefly offering four-and-a-patty versions in the United States and marketing other riffs, including the Samurai Mac in Japan and the Grand Big Mac, in other markets.

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Even before the Chicken Big Mac sandwich made its debut across the Atlantic, clever “hackers” — people who custom-order fast food menus or order multiple items and smash them themselves — were already enjoying it. They’re a thing on TikTok: Some people have apparently convinced their local McDonald’s to make them, while others have gone DIY, using the chicken from other sandwiches.

And the Big Mac hype spread even further when Mark Vayntraub, a food-obsessed blogger and social media influencer who uses the handle @markie_devo, posted tantalizing news: American employees were being trained to make the new article, he said, citing McDonald’s employees as his sources. He even posted an image of what looked like an instruction sheet for making it, and an invitation to ask any customer ordering a Big Mac a previously unheard of question: “Will it be a Chicken Big Mac? ?”

Since Miami is a bit far for a chicken sandwich, we went the hacker route, getting closer to the new menu item by following the directions on this card and ordering two McChickens (they have a flatter shape and more compact than other McDonald’s chickens). sandwiches, which would give a final product too imposing) and by collecting their pancakes. We took a standard Big Mac and performed a little culinary surgery to remove the discs of beef (the American cheese had melted on the burgers so there was scratching), before making the swap.

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The result was…pretty much what you expected, which in this case is a compliment. The thing about Big Macs is that the beef has always seemed secondary – to me, the burger is defined by the tangy Thousand Island sauce, briny pickles and shredded lettuce rain. The chicken version isn’t all that different from its beefy sibling, with the patty itself taking a backseat in a topping-driven flavor van (although the crispy patty adds a nice textural contrast than the burger ordinary did not).

If you’re a Big Mac fan, this might be the bird you’ve been waiting for, although if you can’t convince your local McDonald’s to do the swap for you, it might get expensive to cook up yourself- even, because it takes two McChicken sandwiches and a Big Mac to create.

And while there’s no guarantee the Chicken Big Mac will ever appear on your local drive-thru menu, it’s worth keeping an eye out for. McDonald’s may not be reinventing the wheel here, just hitching it to a crisper wagon.

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