Brat Haüs' Pig Mac Is Mighty Fine Swine Dining

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

The Guilty Pleasure: Pig Mac Where To Get It: Brat Haüs, downtown Scottsdale The Price: $9 ($10 with a fried egg) What It Really Costs: I'm glad they don't post calories on the menu like McDonald's does.

It has long been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's the case, the most sincerely flattered burger must be McDonald's Big Mac. Fast-food establishments everywhere have made their own versions of the iconic burger. Even the Big Mac itself is an imitation, created to compete with Bob's Big Boy and its namesake Big Boy sandwich. (Side note for those of us old enough to have Bob's Big Boy nostalgia: There's a very well-preserved Bob's waiting for you the next time you're in Burbank, California. You're welcome.)

There's a reason everyone and their brother replicate the Big Mac. At its core, the Big Mac is a well-crafted burger. Modern burger makers have gone topping-crazy and forgot that a great burger is about the synergy between beef, toppings, and bun. The Big Mac has all three components in perfect balance.

See Also: Krispy Kreme's Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Doughnut Jumps on the Sweet and Salty Bandwagon An Ode to the One Good Thing to Eat at Red Lobster

Any fiddling with the original formula throws off the whole thing. Even when components are prepared better than the Big Mac (It's McDonald's, almost everyone prepares things better than them), almost every other version I've had still pales in comparison because the burger loses that essential balance. The trick for restaurants to succeed is to change the burger enough to make it their own but still keep it recognizable. It's a difficult balancing act. There's one place in town that has pulled it off with aplomb: Brat Haüs.

While the centerpiece of Brat Haüs's menu is housemade sausage, the sleeper hit of the menu has to be the Pig Mac. The lineage is obvious: Two patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun. The Pig Mac takes the McDonald's classic and cranks up everything across the board, yet keeps the whole thing in perfect harmony.

The bun is more substantial (all the better to hold the burger's extra-juicy innards), and crusted with plenty of sesame seeds. Big Mac's lone slice of barely melting American cheese is replaced by two slices of gooey Cheddar. Reconstituted dehydrated onions are gone (thank goodness), replaced with suave, deeply caramelized onions infused with root beer.

Then there's the meat. Oh my, the meat. Instead of two all-beef patties, one of the patties is a housemade sausage patty the same size as the beef patty. The sausage seasoning brings out the proteins' flavors that much more, while the beef patty keeps everything tasting like a burger instead of a breakfast sandwich experiment gone horribly wrong.

As with most any burger, it's worth your while to add a fried egg. I know most people aren't fans of eggs on burgers, but adding one here is a definite improvement, taking it over the top in a very good way. The Pig Mac is certainly fine without, but the easy-cooked runny egg is proof positive that anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

There is one major flaw with the Pig Mac. This kind of burger is exactly the kind of thing I crave in the dead of night after extensive socialization, but Brat Haüs's kitchen packs up at 10 p.m. on weekends. There is an easy fix to this predicament. You'll have to stay tuned for the next Guilty Pleasures column to find out.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.