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Aug 1, 2012 12:09 PM

How are McDonalds hamburgers cooked

I know they are in holding bins prior to serving but do they arrive at the location pre-cooked? Where does the raw 100% beef first cook because it certainly no longer looks like on a griddle in the store.

I guess I would ask the same question about Wendy's (the franchise near me is very small in a mall so perhaps that is an accommodation they make but a new Burger King just opened and I no longer see them being "flame broiled"

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  1. I have to confess I don't pay active attention to what happens behind the counter but last time I looked they had some sort of 2-sided griddle that cooks them from above & below. I am fairly certain they are not cooked before they get to the restaurant.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Here's a quotation from an interview with a McDonald's franchisee:

        "... I can tell you that our beef is 100% Grade A and McDonald’s has higher specs than the USDA. McDonald’s inspectors work daily at all the beef plants that we purchase beef from, inspecting the manufacturing processes and assuring quality control is in place. ... No dairy cow over 5 years old will be used for beef supply in the McDonald’s food chain supply. The hamburgers are 80 to 82% lean beef. When the hamburger patty is formed at the plant, it is cryogenically frozen and stored at a minimum of 10 degrees below zero. ... Once the product reaches our back door we take two-hours' supply of frozen meat to our grill-side freezers where the temperature is zero and the meat is grilled on our grill at a specific temperature and time to assure a properly cooked patty that has good visual characteristics, has the proper internal temperature for food safety and quality, is hot and maintains its natural juices. The cooked patties are held in a temperature and humidity-controlled cabinet that keeps the patty hot and moist. From there the patty is placed on the properly finished bun with the ingredients or toppings the customer requested. ..."

        McDonalds uses double-sided "grills" something like this:
        They go on raw and frozen.

        11 Replies
        1. re: drongo

          This jives with what I see when I sneak peeks into the back while I'm waiting for food... Burgers are raw and cooked on a large George Foreman type grill.

          1. re: drongo

            Sounds about right, and "The cooked patties are held in a temperature and humidity-controlled cabinet that keeps the patty hot and moist" is where things have gone downhill. I've mentioned this before, but (prior to the aforementioned cabinets) you used to be able to order a "grill" with say, ketchup and onions only, and be assured of a freshly grilled burger, as opposed to one congealing under the heatlamps, like they used to do.

            No more heatlamps, as the burgers are "assembled-to-order", but no more freshly grilled burgers, either. The difference may not be so noticeable between heatlamp-aged burgers, and cabinet-aged ones, but comparing either of those to a freshly-grilled burger (which you can't get anymore), the difference was night and day. Which is why I very rarely eat McD's burgers anymore.

            1. re: drongo

              The thing is that, once it is 'cooked to the proper internal temperature' it is no longer moist and has any natural juices left.

              1. re: mucho gordo

                You're really judging McDonald's by the quality of its hamburgers? That's like watching a Superman movie and being disappointed that the actor wasn't really flying on his own.

                1. re: ferret

                  I'm sorry, ferret. Maybe I'm missing the point. How else does one judge aside from the quality of the food? I've eaten there and found some things tolerable but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. If given a choice, McD would not be the lesser evil.

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    I think the point is: it is what it is. If you want a juicy burger, go to a burger joint (like 5 Guys, so I hear, we just got one in town, haven't been). If you want something fast, easy, and delivers a certain taste (which one may choose for a variety of reasons), go to Micky D's.

                    1. re: wyogal

                      That's exactly what I do. For me, the juiciest burger from a chain comes from Fatburger with in/out running a close 2nd.

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        I just understand that a Mickey D's burger craving is similar to my cheetos craving. :)

              2. re: drongo

                "McDonalds uses double-sided "grills" something like this:

                They go on raw and frozen."

                So they are essentially steamed? Could explain why alll I get is an excessive taste of salt when I have a McDonalds burger.

                1. re: drongo

                  Why don't they melt the cheese on the burgers while still on the grill?
                  I havent had a hot cheeseburger in over 30 years. They always serve a luke-warm patty with a cold pice of cheese on it. On the Big Mac, the patty is placed on top of the cheese.

                  1. re: Rrssnnphx

                    Based on the descriptions in this thread it's cooked in a George Forman/Waffle maker type grill. Being enclosed by the top and bottom by a grilling surface forbids the ability to cook the cheese on it. Plus as stated above it then goes into a temperature and humidity controlled enviroment where the cheese would turn into a wet runny mess.

                2. I'm far from an expert on this topic....but I believe Burger King uses a similar method or at least has the same way of keeing the burgers at the right temperature and humidity. My question is doesn't Wendy's still use an actual grill? I thought......and it's been at least a year if not more since I was last at my local Wendy's.....but I thought they have the grill in plain sight and cook the burgers almost to order. Am I mistaken? Wendy's has always been my choice for fast food burger quality. Mc Donalds win's hands down for their fries but God only knows what they have in them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    Their fries aren't all that mysterious:

                    Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid
                    pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to
                    preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

                  2. As a former employee of McDonald's in the 80's the burgers were grilled to order. They did use warming bins and the sandwiches were only allowedto be held 7 minutes then destroyed. Also back then Mc Donalds used to be very selective on who they hired. When founder Ray Kroc was alive he would visit company and franchise stores alike. If you werent 100% customer focused you were gone. Now in my opinion its gone to the toilet. They hire anyone and dont really care who it is. It doesnt surprise me that they have gone from being one of the best burgers to one of the worst.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LDIAZEW

                      The workforce has shifted since the 80's. You aren't getting the high school/college student turnout and there's higher turnover due to the lower pay. As pointed out by Fast Food Nation, McDonald's wants unskilled labor using automated equipment. Not a criticism of how they operate, it's just a recognition of how the world has changed. They were hardly "one of the best" burgers in the 80's but they had far less competition and a less sophisticated consuming public. The world changed but they've stayed the same.