U.S. Markets closed

10 Big Mac Facts You've Probably Never Heard

Esther Trattner
10 Big Mac Facts You've Probably Never Heard

Since its launch a little over 50 years ago, the Big Mac has become the most reknowned burger in the world.

McDonald's popular double-decker burger is so familiar — and maybe you still remember that jingle of its ingredients from back in the day ("Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese ...") — but how much do you really know about it?

Click to see a fresh-off-the-grill stack of Big Mac trivia, including probably more about McDonald's star sandwich than you ever wanted to know.

That's a lot of beef patties

Alexander Raths / Shutterstock
Juicy beef hamburger patties sizzling over hot flames on the barbecue

Ever wonder how many Big Macs McDonald's has sold since the beginning of time? As it turns out, so do they.

Though McDonald's admits they've lost track of exactly how many Big Macs they've served up along the way, the company can tell you they serve roughly 550 million each year in the United States alone.

At the website Every Second, you can even see how many Big Macs and other menu items hip-hop off the grill and out of the fryer every second of the day.

There's a 'Big Mac Index'

Sisacorn / Shutterstock
How much will a Big Mac cost tomorrow?

Back in 1986, The Economist developed a fun theory using the Big Mac that eventually became a staple of economic thinking.

Dubbed the "Big Mac Index," the theory goes that you can detect exchange rates between countries by measuring the converted price of a Big Mac in each.

For instance, if a Big Mac costs $4 in the U.S. and 2.5 pounds in the U.K., the expected exchange rate would be $1.60 to the pound (because 4 divided by 2.5 equals 1.60).

If the equation doesn't match up with actual exchange rates, it can mean that currencies are either overvalued or undervalued.

McDonald's is literally a global currency

Chili Palmer / Shutterstock
MacCoins

McDonald's decided to do something special to celebrate the Big Mac's 50th birthday in 2018. Inspired by The Economist's "Big Mac Index," they decided to develop the MacCoin.

The MacCoin was dubbed a "global currency" and was given to customers who bought a Big Mac on Aug. 2, 2018.

The MacCoin's value? It was redeemable for one free Big Mac at a McDonald's in any of over 50 countries around the world.

A world of Big Mac flavors

TonyV3112 / Shutterstock
A McDonald's in Beijing

As you travel the globe, you'll find that not all Big Macs are created equal. For instance, in Japan, you can get a “Giga Big Mac,” which contains three times more meat than the usual Big Mac.

In Israel, you can get Kosher Big Macs without cheese; and in India, the Maharaja Mac substitutes chicken patties for traditional beef.

At one time, you could even buy the Monster Mac in Germany — which was a sandwich made with eight beef patties and extra cheese.

The original 45-cent wonder

Allard One / Shutterstock
The oldest operating McDonald's restaurant in the world

Before the Big Mac became a household name, it was little more than a great idea from a McDonald's franchisee named Jim Delligatti. He wanted to create a bigger but still inexpensive McDonald's sandwich.

In 1967, the burger that would conquer the world made its debut at Delligatti's McDonald's in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

Its starting price? A mere 45 cents. Delligatti's creation would go nationwide in 1968.

During its early days, it wasn't known as the “Big Mac” — but as you'll find out, its original name didn't really stick.

A Big Mac by any other name

Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock
Frisch's Big Boy restaurant, home of the Big Boy Hamburger

Before it became the "Big Mac," the burger was known by two other names. Back when it was introduced, the Big Mac was first called “the Aristocrat."

The lofty name was an early attempt to reference the burger’s size. Unfortunately, the name was confusing and some customers had problems pronouncing it.

Next, the sandwich test drove the name, “the Blue Ribbon Burger." People still weren’t getting it.

Ultimately, the name that stuck was inspired by the burgers at a competitor called Big Boy. In this case, the “Big Mac” fit the bill, and hungry customers snapped it right up.

The special sauce's secret

sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock
The secret sauce revealed

Most would agree that the Big Mac just wouldn't have that iconic taste if it weren't for the legendary secret sauce topping the patty.

For years, fans suspected the sauce was some rendition of Thousand Island dressing, but McDonald's refused to confirm or deny the rumor. The company managed to keep the sauce's recipe a secret for 45 years.

In 2012, the mystery was finally unveiled, and the sauce's ingredients were made public: mayo, sweet relish, yellow mustard, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.

And, based on its addictiveness, probably some sort of voodoo magic.

The Big Mac had a hip-hop moment

Debby Wong / Shutterstock
Jay-Z performs onstage

In 2005, McDonald's decided the Big Mac needed to up its swag, and turned to the hip-hop community.

The chain offered rappers the chance to make some major cash simply just by mentioning the burger in their songs.

The deal stipulated that every time one of the songs mentioning the Big Mac was played on the radio, the artist would receive up to $5 as a thank you for the shout out.

But after six months, Mickey D's had to admit that there were no takers.

The Big Mac's biggest fan

YouTube / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Donald Gorske, the Big Mac's biggest fan

No matter how much you love the Big Mac, rest assured that there's a guy out there who loves them more.

A Wisconsin man named Donald A. Gorske has consumed over 30,000 Big Macs in his lifetime, earning himself a place in the Guinness World Records in 2006.

Gorske even wrote a book about his dietary exploits back in 2008 titled 22,477 Big Macs.

But if you do consider yourself a Big Mac fanatic, you’ll want to check out the shrine to this magical sandwich.

The ultimate Big Mac museum

daveynin / Flickr
Giant Big Mac at the Big Mac Museum

If you can't get enough random Big Mac trivia, then a quirky tourist attraction in Pennsylvania may be your dream destination.

In Irwin — about 20 miles southeast of Pittsburgh — you'll find an entire museum dedicated to telling the fascinating story behind the iconic burger.

The museum was founded in 2007 by Mike Delligatti, son of Big Mac inventor Jim Delligatti. Its many wonders include a timeline showing the history of the burger, and the world's largest Big Mac sculpture, which is a staggering 14 feet tall.

Take that, Monster Mac!

Join the MoneyWise mailing list. You’ll get the latest financial tips and news, straight to your inbox.