It’s hard to get away with saying that anything at McDonald’s, the world’s biggest fast food chain, is “underrated.” The company pulls in billions and billions in revenue each year, and its menu is aggressively focus-grouped and scrutinized in order to wring maximum profit from the limited offerings (note: this level of efficiency is why we can’t have all-day McMuffins anymore). So nothing hangs around on the menu that isn’t eagerly purchased by millions of customers per day.
Still... some parts of the menu just feel less celebrated, don’t they? While the Quarter Pounder and the McFlurry get top billing, items like the Chocolate Chip Cookie and the McChicken keep quietly to themselves on dusty corners of the menu board. We’re here to celebrate those unsung heroes of the drive-thru. Below are our picks for Most Underrated McDonald’s Items. Shed light on your own picks in the comments.
Steak, Egg, and Cheese Bagel
You might not know about McDonald’s best burger, and that’s because it’s only available at breakfast. Despite all my begging and crying, no McDonald’s location will sell me a Steak, Egg, and Cheese Bagel after 11 a.m. Just because bagels and eggs are in the equation does not make this a breakfast-only food!
The Steak, Egg, and Cheese Bagel satisfies all the criteria I have for fast food: it’s indulgent, salty, greasy, and provides a little thrill to your palate whenever you eat it. If a meal makes you sleepy after you eat it, it’s fair to consider it a lunch/dinner food, with special dispensation given for breakfast consumption. McDonald’s should just admit that this “breakfast” food is a burger and let it work its magic all day long.
Perhaps the reason McDonald’s Steak, Egg, and Cheese Bagel is relegated to the breakfast menu is because it makes the other burgers look bad by comparison, particularly the “Queen Bee” that is the Big Mac. A Big Mac cloaks two nearly flavorless, bone-dry 1.6-ounce beef patties with an abundance of bread, lettuce, toppings, and sauces. The Steak, Egg, and Cheese Bagel stacks fluffy folded eggs, melted American cheese, and a thick, juicy steak burger patty on a chewy split bagel that soaks up all that magnificent grease, then gilds the lily with a smear of salty butter and a smattering of caramelized onions. How could the Big Mac—or any other burger, for that matter—compete with all of that? It can’t. —Allison Robicelli, Staff Writer
The Daily Double (plus ketchup)
Do any of you know what the Daily Double is? If it’s on the menu at the counter or at the drive-thru, I don’t recall the last time I’ve seen it. You can still order one in person even if it’s not displayed anywhere, I promise. They’ll know what you’re talking about. It’s definitely in the mobile app (I just checked), if you prefer to roll with minimal human interaction.
The Daily Double is a double cheeseburger with one piece of cheese, shredded lettuce, a slice of tomato, fresh raw onions rather than the dehydrated ones, and mayo. I always add ketchup to mine for some balance. It’s the perfect substitution for something heftier like a Quarter Pounder Deluxe (which is more or less the same thing, but big, and on a sesame seed bun), and in my mind, is wildly underrated.
If you’re looking for a big snack or small meal, this is the way to go. As much as I love the double cheeseburger, sometimes it feels like it’s missing fresh ingredients, which is what the Daily Double solves. I don’t know why it still feels like it’s shrouded in mystery, but now you know my little secret. —Dennis Lee, Staff Writer
Everyone has strong feelings about McDonald’s breakfast. I once knew a kid who ate two McGriddles a day, every day, for roughly three years. I also know many of you have plentiful thoughts about what kind of egg to request on a McMuffin, and whether McCafe coffee is any good. But amid all the cacophonous discourse, the humble, plain-looking Sausage Biscuit sits in the breakfast lineup, quietly confident that it has more to offer than meets the eye.
First of all, the biscuit. People will tell you it’s dry—it’s not dry. It’s crumbly, yes, but those crumbles are bound up with hefty amounts of salted butter, and the exterior has a texture that’s grainy with fine salt and flour. We’re off to a great start already, because when I’m craving fast food, I’m mostly craving salt. The pork sausage, meanwhile, is imbued with a surprising amount of spices, or at least the flavor-compound equivalent of those spices; according to the website, the sausage is made with rosemary extract, which might be the fanciest ingredient on McDonald’s entire menu. The rich, buttery, salty bundle would be thrown off-balance by the addition of egg or cheese. It’s perfect on its own, and because the overall package is so unassuming, it gets left out of the breakfast conversation. More for me, I guess. —Marnie Shure, editor in chief