Well my question is exactly what is says in the title.

I come from a culture that has hamburger-style meal. Unlike hamburger, our plyeskavitsa (or pljeskavica using another type of transliteration) tends to grow in diameter when the portion size increases. That is to say, when I order a small plyeskavitsa, the patty will have (for example) diameter A and thickness B. When I order large plyeskavitsa, it will have diameter 3 A and thickness maybe 1.5 B. This way, the eating procedure is same for all sizes: You start biting at one end, you bite off a piece through the bun and the patty and basically repeat the procedure until it's consumed. If you buy a bigger portion, you'll just need to repeat the procedure more times.

On the other hand, with American burgers, when the portion size increases, the diameter will stay the same, but the thickness significantly increases as well as the number of patties (for example let's think of say BigMac or BigKingXXL). When I try to apply procedure for plyeskavitsa or say regular hamburgers, what happens is that when I bite down, the middle layers get pushed out of the sandwich, making a total mess of everything.

So my question is: How am I supposed to eat thick hamburgers without having the middle part spill out?

  • 2
    Big American burgers are just crazy. Eat them with chopsticks if you have to. People might even think you're being suave. Feb 23, 2016 at 19:10
  • If the sandwich is constructed properly, the toppings shouldn't slide against each other (too much). Of course, some restaurants construct such large burgers that you have to be able unhinge your mouth to actually eat them. Some places will put the burger into a paper bag, or wrap it in such a way that you can take a few bites and the paper keeps the sandwich fixing from being able to eject.
    – Joe
    Feb 23, 2016 at 19:10
  • 1
    From watching 'Diners, Drive-ins and Dives' on Food Network, I've noticed that Guy will sometimes crush the burger before eating it -- he puts his hand in the middle of it, and presses down. Although, he has the advantage that he's typically standing, not sitting down at a table. You also want to make sure that when you eat you hold it from the back ... press down a little bit at that rear edge to keep the thing together.
    – Joe
    Feb 23, 2016 at 19:12
  • @Joe - you might have discovered the one area that guy fieri is an appropriate expert to cite...
    – TJ Ellis
    May 29, 2016 at 15:01

3 Answers 3


The trick to eating a large hamburger the size of a McDonald's Big Mac (or even a Double Big Mac with four patties) is to grip the burger firmly while crushing it down a bit. It may take a big of practice to get right, but it's something most eaters of hamburgers seem to do instinctively. So much so I can't really describe the technique in a lot of detail, but the basic idea is you're both making the burger somewhat smaller and holding it together firmly. You want to grab it in both hands with your thumbs underneath. Your fingers should be spread out over the top, compressing it down, while your thumbs pin everything in place.

If you watch pretty much anyone eat a hamburger, even normal sized ones, this is how they'll eat it. There's really nothing special in how you need to hold it, the trick is applying the right amount of pressure. Bigger burgers will need a more firm grip, while normal sized burgers can be held fairly loosely (though you'll still see people crushing them anyways). There's a limit to how big of a burger you can eat this way though. It should work with pretty much any burger normally sold by the big fast food chains like McDonald's or Burger King. There are however restaurants that sell enormous burgers that can't really be eaten in any sort of normal way unless you have really big hands.

I should also point out that you sometimes do have the option of going wider rather than taller with hamburgers. For example the Big Mac has two 1.6 oz (45.4 g) patties, while the Quarter Pounder with a single 4.25 oz (120.5 g) patty is both bigger and easier to eat.

  • 2
    A McDonald's Big Mac is considered a large hamburger? Or are they larger elsewhere? We don't have a hamburger culture where I live, nor are we big on serving humongous portions of food in restaurants, but I think the general consensus over here is that a Big Mac is a pathetic little burger (and I'm leaving taste well out of it, of course ;) ) Feb 24, 2016 at 17:57
  • 2
    @WillemvanRumpt The original poster used the Big Mac (and the Burger King's Big King XXL, but I'm not familiar with it) as an example so that's the definition of large hamburger I'm using here. In North America a Big Mac is taller than fast food burgers usually are, all though I think it's overall weight/volume is close to normal. It's really that height that's the problem here.
    – Ross Ridge
    Feb 24, 2016 at 22:16
  • I'm confused by the Big Mac example as well. Even with multiple patties and the extra bread, it's only about the size of a normal hamburger at a sit-down restaurant or diner.
    – Era
    Feb 25, 2016 at 18:42

A somewhat strange but effective technique is to fix the contents by piercing one or two toothpicks through the entire burger, before taking the first bites on the opposite side. When you approach the middle you can take them out, at this point the filling should tend to slip in your mouth rather than the other way.


I have witnessed and used the following techniques when it comes to eating large hamburgers:

  • Cutting it like a pie (i.e. in slices) using a serrated knife, so you get manageable sized sub-burgers that you can eat from the center out. I favor this method whenever available. Depending on burger diameter and height, 2 to 8 slices will work best--experiment!

  • Holding the burger (or sub-burger, if slicing) upside down, which puts the thicker bun (which hasn't been drenched in grease by gravity) on the bottom, allowing the burger to hold its condiments far better. This is my go-to method when knives aren't available.

  • Using a waxed paper wrapper as a pocket to hold everything in place, only unwrapping as little as possible to take a bite. Think exoskeleton, but for your burger. Best used when getting the hamburger from a fast food place (i.e. it's already wrapped), and it's already a half mess.

  • 1
    While not quite what you describe, we have "doofers" at some places here, which is bacially "a little cardboard cut out that folds together to make a hamburger holder! It prevents your burger’s toppings from sliding out and holds the burger together": justgiver.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/what-is-a-doofer
    – Petah
    May 29, 2016 at 10:20

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