Talk about a Big Mac attack.
To promote the debut of two new versions of its iconic Big Mac, McDonald’s is giving away 10,000 bottles of its special sauce on Thursday.
This is a first. McDonald’s has never sold its special sauce. It doesn’t even bottle the stuff, normally. The sauce gets delivered to McDonald’s restaurants in sealed plastic canisters.
But if you want your very own bottle of special sauce, you’re going to have to act fast.
Restaurants will hand out these limited-edition bottles of sauce — each with its own number — on a first come, first-served basis at participating locations.
How to find a participating location? Turns out there’s app for that.
For this promotion, McDonald’s created an iMessage app that will locate the restaurant nearest you that’s giving away bottles of sauce. This app is cleverly called the McDonald’s Big Mac Special Sauce Finder. You can download it from Apple’s App Store on any iPhone, iPad or iPod running iOS 10, McDonald’s told the Today show. To find participating locations, you have to open the app in your iMessage portal.
Once you get to the right McDonald’s, you have to say the secret code phrase, “There’s a Big Mac for that.” (No, we’re not making this up. These are Mickey D’s rules, people.) Quantities vary by location.
If you’re not near a participating McDonald’s, you have a chance to score a free bottle by following the fast-food chain on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. McDonald’s will host a live giveaway across these social media channels at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017.
The New Big Macs
So, you ask, why is Ronald McDonald suddenly bottling his special sauce and giving it away? Is he having some kind of midlife crisis?
Here’s why: McDonald’s is promoting the introduction of two new burgers, the Grand Mac and Mac Jr. These limited-time menu items are only available through March 20.
The Grand Mac is, um, big. It has two larger beef patties, totalling a third of a pound of meat, plus an extra slice of cheese, more sauce and a bigger bun. The smaller Mac Jr. has a single beef patty with Big Mac toppings but without the Big Mac’s signature middle bun.
Just How Special Is This Special Sauce?
The Big Mac itself has remained essentially unchanged since it was introduced in the 1960s.
The special sauce, which is similar to Thousand Island dressing, was made famous in the mid-1970s by a commercial jingle that sang the burger’s ingredients in rapid-fire fashion: “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”
Commercials with this jingle ran on TV approximately eleventy gajillion times. People of a certain age can still hear this jingle in their sleep. (“Big Mac Attack” commercials followed in the 1980s.)
What’s in the Special Sauce?
A few years back, a McDonald’s chef posted a YouTube video demonstrating how to make a Big Mac — and how to make the special sauce with store-bought ingredients. He noted that the sauce’s ingredients are “not really a secret” because the recipe has been available online for years. It consists of mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish and yellow mustard whisked together with vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. “Contrasting flavors,” the chef said.
Or you can try to score a free bottle of it. Better act fast.
Your Turn: When’s the last time you had a Big Mac?
Mike Brassfield (email@example.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. To be perfectly honest, he’s more of a McNugget guy.