Fast-food fans can easily relate to the Whopper vs. Big Mac debate because both of these items are their respective chain’s signature items. The Whopper is, of course, Burger King’s signature sandwich – or as the chain calls it, “America’s favorite burger” – while the Big Mac is McDonald’s signature item.
Keep in mind that both are marketed as “better burgers” in the sense that these aren’t your regular fast-food burgers with dry beef patties, limp veggies, and bland cheese served on soggy buns. These are instead characterized by flavorful bites and a filling quality that leaves no doubt whatsoever that you’ve just enjoyed great burgers.
Introduced in 1957, the Whopper has become Burger King’s signature item and it has certainly lived up to its name. The sandwich has undergone several transformations through the years, such as in its bread and portion resizing, but it has basically remained the same.
The current Whopper is almost 50% larger than the Big Mac – we measured it at about 4.75” in diameter and 2.5” in height with a total weight of 10.6 ounces. When compared side-by-side, it’s indeed a more impressive sight than a Big Mac.
Take note, however, that with size comes price. The Whopper is also more expensive by about $1.60 than Big Mac as well as packed with more calories. But if you aren’t doing the math and you’re aiming for the satisfaction, then the extra dollars and calories are well worth it.
What makes the Whopper such a whopper? Let’s start with the flame-grilled 4-ounce beet patty cooked to perfection – a delicious, juicy and succulent all-beef patty that quickly gets your juices going at the mere sight of it.
You know that it isn’t a fake meat patty, too, because there’s a certain heft and chewiness to it. You can, however, skip the meat while still enjoying the Whopper by ordering the meatless Veggie Whopper.
And if you can’t get enough of the beef patty, you can actually order the Whopper with two or three patties – the single patty Whopper is for wimps, so we’re told. But if you’re on a diet, you may want to order the Whopper Jr., a smaller version, so you get the satisfaction of a Whopper with less calories to feel guilty about.
No burger is complete without the toppings and condiments and the Whopper isn’t an exception. Everything about the Whopper’s ingredients make for a great burger – the lettuce was crispy, the pickles were sturdy, and the tomatoes were juicy while the onions were fresh and the cheese were tangy. We even love the just right amount of the ketchup and mayonnaise, which complemented the sesame seed bun.
The bottom line: Everything on the Whopper actually contributed to its tasty overall flavor profile! No wonder then that it has become among the bestselling items in Burger King’s menu, perhaps even the most famous burger in the fast-food industry.
Furthermore, Burger King allows for a certain degree of customization for the Whopper, such as in adding other condiments (i.e., the “Have It Your Way” slogan). In certain areas, especially in regional and international locations, the ketchup and mayonnaise can be substituted with salsa and BBQ sauce.
The Big Mac
McDonald’s is known for its Big Mac, a relatively large burger measuring about 3.75” in diameter and 2.75” in height. Yes, it’s smaller than the Whopper but it’s still large enough to satisfy the hunger of the hungriest student or young professional. Plus, it still packs a mean calorie punch at 550 calories per serving.
The Big Mac consists of 3.2 ounces of beef patty (precooked weight) with iceberg lettuce, onion bits, pickle slices, and American cheese. The cooked beef patty is relatively flavorful but it can be a bit dry, perhaps because it’s frozen beef, so adding condiments can add more moisture. The toppings are also okay but there’s room for improvement, especially in comparison with the Whopper.
But the Big Mac is more than the sum of its parts! For some reason, it’s still a delicious burger despite its less-than-appetizing appearance, a widely-known fact that still surprises even its millions of fans. There’s also the nostalgic factor – many men and women today have happy memories of enjoying a Big Mac with fries and soda after a baseball game, perhaps with their gang of friends.
We also like that the Big Mac stands proud instead of droopy. There’s something about appreciating a burger that looks like the burger on the photo – you don’t feel cheated out of your money, for one thing.
In conclusion, the choice between the Whopper and Big Mac will boil down to your personal preferences, perhaps even your sense of loyalty and nostalgia. You may prefer the Whopper because it’s larger and more flavorful but you may also like the Big Mac because it’s also delicious in its own way.