Menu hacks have always been a fun way to reinvent standard fast-food orders, and sometimes they even become permanent fixtures on the menu. For McDonald's customers, a recent source of inspiration has been hash browns. While some have been building ice cream sandwiches from the crispy potato side, a McDonald's chef recently uncovered that an actual breakfast sandwich on hash browns almost made it to the McDonald's menu. Unfortunately, the creative idea was shot down by the company.
TikTok user @diegos_eats posted a Keto breakfast sandwich hack from the Golden Arches. "We asked for a sausage egg McMuffin…sub the muffin for hash browns," the content creator explains while unwrapping the finished product in his car.
"They were very hesitant to do this for me at my McDonald's," he adds before taking the first bite. He also explained that he skipped the drive-thru and ordered the off-menu sandwich at the counter, which he felt "made it a lot easier," and that if they still didn't want to do it, he'd order the items separately to make it himself.
Soon, Chef Mike Haracz, the former manager of culinary innovations at McDonald's, chimed in with a video of his own. He claims that he tried to get the hash brown sausage egg and cheese breakfast sandwich onto the McDonald's breakfast menu during his time with the company, but the idea never came to furition for several reasons.
"I was told that it's too many calories, it's too operationally complex, and too many people would order it," Haracz explained. The caption on the video says, "They [McDonald's] didn't let me have any fun."
A second video posted by Haracz dove deeper into a question related to the potential kitchen chaos that a hash brown breakfast sandwich could introduce.
"You can only cook so many items at a time," he elaborates, and that timing is a huge factor in how things are cooked and what gets made. Time limits for cooking, and keeping the items warm, are two examples he listed, but one of the biggest reasons the hash brown sandwich is operationally complex is because of the kitchen layout itself.
The hashbrowns are "cooked in a different section, not by the make table which is where all of the sandwiches are assembled." It would be difficult to get individual orders out quickly enough, not to mention having "goofy people" ordering "six, eight, or ten of those at a time," he adds.
The former corporate chef also notes that packaging the sandwich would be tricky as employees try to cross between sections in the kitchen.
"The packing of the hashbrown is to keep it crispier longer, so if you made a sandwich and wrapped it, the hashbrown would become soggier faster as well," he tells Eat This, Not That!
"The cost of all the components may also affect the success of the item," he additionally revealed, "as two hash browns cost more than one of the muffins or buns."
The Sausage, Egg, & Cheese McMuffin is a fan favorite for many professionals in the food and beverage industry. Chef Christos Bisiotis, Michelin-nominated chef and owner of The CB Concepts, likes it so much he gets two every time, "Because one is never enough," he tells Eat This, Not That!
The original McMuffin sandwich has about 480 calories, 31 grams of fat, and 20 grams of protein. According to the restaurant's nutritional calculator, subbing the two hash browns in place of the English muffin still keeps the whole thing at about 480 calories, but it adds seven grams of fat and reduces the protein to 17 grams. Despite this, dietitians agree that the Sausage, Egg & Cheese McMuffin is still a healthier choice than most of the other McDonald's breakfast sandwiches.