Admit it, you've felt the heartbreak. You arrive at McDonald's and the cashier says you're minutes late and breakfast is over. There will be no gloriously greasy hash browns for you. Accept that your day is ruined. But did you ever stop to think, those mornings when you're not late, when you roll into McDonald's a few minutes before the menu changeover to lunch, about the potential sandwich creations there for the making?
Think about it, there's a magic window, 10 to 15 minutes in the morning when you can buy breakfast, and then — when the crank is turned, flipping menus above the register — lunch, and have both at their peak flavor points. That might not seem like a big deal at first, but timing and patience allows you to have a Big Mac with a side of hash browns (which, with french fries and the McRib, have to be considered the best things to eat at McDonald's). Or, even better, hash browns on your Big Mac?
That's right, there's a menu witching hour, a fast-food brigadoon featuring breakfast-lunch crossover creations you've likely never dreamed of — if you're willing to do a little work.
Think about what's commonly found at McDonald's in the morning. There's the big breakfast with hot cakes (scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuit, hash browns, and pancakes), two breakfast burritos, and some 12 different breakfast sandwich combos on muffins, biscuits, and pancakes featuring sausage, bacon, eggs, steak, and ham. And just minutes after the lunch curtain rises, there are about 13 different sandwiches featuring chicken, fish, pork, and burgers with various cheeses, sauces, and toppings (with some 23 variations). Imagine the possibilities if you combine the two.
Don't misunderstand, initiative and assembly are required, but you're only limited by imagination and how far you're willing to push your palate, stomach, common sense, and conventional good taste. It's an unhealthy approach, one inspired by the trend of over-the-top fast-food items like KFC's Double Down and top-everything-with bacon approach, but there are also some pretty epic breakfast-lunch mash-up sandwiches to be had.
Some are fun for their sheer ridiculousness. Consider, for instance the Big McCarbMac (left), a breakfast-lunch mash-up sandwich featuring both the lunch-only Big Mac and fries, and the breakfast-menu hash brown. Each level of the Big Mac gets a row of fries and a hash brown, and you get an epic starch-bomb sandwich with shades of Primanti that you'll need that large soft drink to get down. For more pure ridiculous effect, there's the Quarter Hash Pounder, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese that replaces conventional lunch buns with hash browns. Think of it as a potato-y Double Down burger.
Some breakfast-lunch crossover items would be better off left unsampled. Take, for example, the idea of creating a fish taco or burrito. Sure you can take a sausage burrito, remove the egg and sausage, and replace them with Filet-O-Fish, lettuce, and tomato from a Big Mac and drizzle on Picante sauce (which they have at McDonald's, in case you didn't know it), but all reports back after trying this indicate it's a grave mistake to do so.
But others, like the McWhichCameFirst, a combination of fried chicken and breakfast egg, to be honest, are actually pretty good. And you could make the argument that a few, like the creation of the regional-only Chicken Biscuit, are even better than the originals.
There are more possibilities than those noted here, so weigh in with your own ideas, or better yet, go to your local McDonald's, make a mash-up, and send in a photo of your creation. Keep in mind that one of the most fun things about making these sandwiches (besides creating things McDonald's might prefer never to be created in their test kitchens), is coming up with their names. Some, like the Big McCarbMac or the McPhilly Cheese Steak, are obvious. Others need help. So consider epic names for your creations, and as you check out the breakfast-lunch mash-ups featured in this slideshow, suggest names for them in the comments. We'll use the best ones.