Burger King Resurrects Big Mac Clone, Complete With Third Bun

On the left is the Big King, which is basically identical in terms of ingredients and nutrition to McDonald's classic Big Mac on the right.

On the left is the Big King, which is basically identical in terms of ingredients and nutrition to McDonald’s classic Big Mac on the right.

Think back all the way to 1997 and you might recall something called the Big King on the menu at Burger King. It had a lot of thee same fixings as the Big Mac, but it never caught the hearts and stomachs of consumers and was pulled from the menu before it went national, and it lacked the all-important middle bun. Now it’s back from the dead with a few new additions in an effort to put the heat on the Big Mac.

It sure sounds a lot like the Big Mac, what with “two savory fire-grilled beef patties, topped with, melted American cheese, fresh cut iceberg lettuce, crisp onions, crunchy pickles, and featuring a sweet thousand island style dressing, all on a warm, toasted, sesame seed bun.”

But since there’s no trademark on how you assemble a sandwich, accusing Burger King of copy-catting likely won’t trouble consumers much, notes BurgerBusiness.com. After all, Big Boy has been selling a similar double-decker burger since 1937, 30 years before the Big Mac showed up in a Pittsburgh McDonald’s in 1967.

“Consumers care about price, quality and taste, not whether this is like that,” explains BurgerBusiness.com’s Scott Hume. In other words, all the fast food companies are just copying each other anyway, so who cares?

Burger King says the Big King will stay on the menu for good this time, complete with the middle bun that wasn’t there during its first go around.

Both the Big King and Big Mac claim 29g of fat and 10g of saturated fat. The King is slightly lower in calories (510 vs. 550 for the Big Mac), sodium (780 mg vs. 970mg) and total carbohydrates (38g vs. 46g), but some of these numbers could vary wildly depending on just how much sauce is put on any one sandwich.

Burger King claims its old-is-new again sandwich is not the same as a Big Mac because of the hamburgers.

“What makes Big King different than any other burger on the market is the unique fire-grilling,” says chief marketing officer Eric Hirschhorn, in a statement via USA Today.

McDonald’s isn’t taking the bait either, with a spokeswoman saying the company is “focused on our business and our customers.”

However, the McDonalds.com page for the Big Mac now reads “There is only one,” which could easily be understood as a knock against Burger King’s clone.

And in a very odd side note — who knew that Burger King tried to buy Elvis Presley’s former home in Beverly Hills? The offer was rejected, but still. What in the what?

“He is the original “King,” Burger King said of its attempt. So there’s that.

Burger King adds Big King, $1 BBQ Rib [BurgerBusiness.com]
Burger King re-rolls out Big Mac-buster Big King [USA Today]

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  1. JasperBeardly says:

    I haven’t had a Big Mac in years, but I might try a Big King. Based on the photo and description above, it appears to have two main advantages over the Big Mac: first, it uses Burger King’s patties, which in my opinion are better than McDonald’s patties; and second, it features fresh onions, rather than the nasty dehydrated ones that come by default on a Big Mac.

  2. ComputerGary says:

    Was it ’97 that Burger King had the Big King? Didn’t realize it was that long ago! Because I remember one experience at a Burger King in NYC (23rd Street near Park Avenue South) where, during a 99-cent Big King promotion, I ordered one without lettuce, onions, and dressing. Yes, that would have made it essentially a double cheeseburger. But that was how I wanted it.

    They wouldn’t do it.

    And dopey me doesn’t think about making a fuss over how a place famous for their “have it your way” slogan won’t let me have it my way.

    Well, at least I got some karmic justice – that particular location is out of business.

  3. FozzyOsbourne says:

    I remember the Big King from grad school days in Missouri. Quite tasty at the time, but recently the BK patties around here (Southern Indiana/Northern Kentucky) have been very dry, so I miht not try the new one.