The Failed McDonald's Sandwich That Came With Free Steak Knives

McDonald's is popular, there's no doubt about that. When you can boldly say that you've served billions and billions, you know you're doing something right– especially in the menu department. With classics like the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Chicken McNuggets, and of course, the famous fries, it's easy to see how McDonald's maintains its standing as a fast-food powerhouse.

But, for every Golden Arches success and milestone, there had to be some failures. Can't get a Big Mac without burning a few beef patties, right?  Take, for example, the infamous Arch Deluxe– a burger that was specifically geared towards the "grown-ups" of McDonald's consumer base, designed for the sophisticated fast-food enjoyer. While the burger with its fancy mustard, pepper bacon, and potato roll did sound pretty good, it turned out that, no matter how fancy a burger could look, people just couldn't associate Ronald McDonald with sophistication. You may also recall the brief debut of McPizzathat the chain rolled out in the late 1980s. The McPizza was a plan to get a leg up on pizza joints like Domino's and Pizza Hut that resulted in long wait times, higher costs, and general unprofitability, leading to McDonald's shelving its pizza ovens in place of more common fryers.

Although you've probably heard of the Arch Deluxe before and the McPizza, too, you may be unfamiliar with McDonald's steak– or perhaps more accurately, beefsteak sandwiches.

The Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich was similar to the McRib

If you step into a McDonald's today and request a beefsteak sandwich, the cashier behind the counter will ask if you just want a burger. While McDonald's idea of beef today is something covered in cheese and special sauce, there was a time that McDonald's believed that beef could be more. That's why, in the 1980s, they proudly debuted their Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich.

If the commercials of the time are to be believed, the Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich was a long beef patty served on a toasted French roll and topped with slivers of onions and steak sauce. Perhaps designed to cater to this evening crowd looking for something more substantial than a burger, the Beefsteak Sandwich would be served only after 4 pm. Think of it like a cross between the McRib sandwich and McDonald's answer to a steak sandwich — a meat product topped with onions and sauce, and then put on a toasted roll. 

McDonald's also included cutlery with the sandwich, perhaps to showcase that you weren't getting yet another sandwich, but a full-fledged and hearty dinner. Should you look around online, you can come across sellers hawking steak knives –actual, genuine McDonald's brand steak knives that came with every purchase of the Beefsteak Sandwich. Imagine going to your local McDonald's today and getting a steak knife to complete your order! That's the 1980s for you.

The Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich was said to be really good

Since the Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich isn't on the menu anymore, having joined other products in the greasy annals of McDonald's history, you could assume that the sandwich was discontinued because it just wasn't good. Maybe McDonald's wasn't as adept at selling steak sandwiches as it was fries and Quarter Pounders, right? Surprisingly, those who remember the sandwich claim that it was actually very tasty — even among one of the best sandwiches McDonald's had to offer.

"Woe to those who have never tried this succulent burger," wrote one commenter on a YouTube video. "I was fortunate enough to have tried it in the early 1980s. It was excellent! The steak was more of a ground beef patty, but firmer. The slivered white onions gave it that little crunch, and the steak sauce was a sweet version of A1 steak sauce."

"I used to get those all the time, said one user on Reddit. "They were tasty." "One of my all-time favorite fast food items," said another Reddit user. "Loved that sauce."

The reason for the sandwich's demise? Apparently, customers didn't want to pay the high price for it and focused on cheaper menu items. While the Chopped Beefsteak is now an obscure menu item, its spiritual predecessor, the McRib, continues to be a popular (if not somewhat sporadic) menu item at McDonald's today.