Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Egg McMuffins for Homeskillets

This was first published in 2009. In retrospect ... a tuna can? Yep. A tuna can.

Like 10% of all Americans, I used to work at McDonalds. Like 33% of all McDonalds workers, it was the morning shift.

Everyday in the summer of 1997, I hauled my cookies in at 5am to start the percolator, fire up the grill, and lug 50 pounds of Happy Meal toys out of the sub-basement. My early morning co-workers were a sweet 72-year-old, a slightly retarded janitor, and a middle-aged woman that had no business dealing with the public. On good days, I got to take orders from the drive-through, and didn’t have to face anyone for a few hours. On bad days, entire buses of senior citizens would argue with me over the price of a 60-cent cup of coffee.

During that time, I learned the menu backwards and forwards, including basic nutritional information for most of the meals. While the Deluxe breakfast would melt your aorta, I was always pleasantly surprised at the Egg McMuffin. An egg, a muffin, a slice of Canadian bacon, and a dollop of cheese would come in around 300 calories, which still stands as one of the leanest fast food breakfasts around. Plus, they were (and are) delicious. I know. I ate one every morning for three months.

After last week’s Strata, I had a bunch of leftover Canadian bacon, and decided to give homemade Egg McMuffins a shot. Happily, it wasn’t rocket science, and ten minutes of cooking time scored me two eminently edible imitations of the real thing. Even better, no one yelled at me afterward.

So! For your McMuffining pleasure, here are step-by-step instructions for homemade Mickey D’s. Of course, there are a few things to know first:

1) If you don’t have an egg ring handy (and who does?), try a THOROUGHLY WASHED tuna can with the lids pried off. (NOTE: Don’t use a Bumblebee can. The bottom lid sticks outward, making it nearly impossible to remove. See the pics below? It took ten minutes of straight-up wrestling to create that hole. In the end, it was big enough to pour the egg through, but I almost lost a thumb in the process.)

2) For a more McDonalds-like experience, go with American Cheese. Then, have a 62-year-old retiree berate you because his coffee was too hot.

3) The muffins aren’t browned in a toaster for two reasons: A) they’re harder to hold, and B) I like ‘em better this way.

4) At $0.93 a serving, these should be cheaper than your local Mickey D’s. If not, look at it this way: you don’t have to deal with the tall girl behind the counter. You know – the one with the 1000-yard stare, whose only thought is, “Man, I can’t wait to get back to school. This nametag is making my boobs itch.”

Happy cooking!

Egg McMuffins
Makes 2 McMuffins

Cooking spray
2 English muffins, split in half
2 slices Canadian bacon
2 large eggs
1 ounce reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I prefer Cracker Barrel)
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Coat a medium non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Once pan is warm, place English muffins facedown on pan. Squish lightly with a spatula, so they get evenly browned.

2) While muffins are toasting, break one egg into a cup. Break its yolk with a fork, but DON’T beat the egg.

3) When muffins have been lightly toasted (about 3 minutes), place them on a plate and IMMEDIATELY sprinkle grated cheese on one side. This will get the melting process started.

4) Re-coat the pan with cooking spray. (Note: if you have a gas oven, do this away from the stovetop to avoid a fire.) Place the Canadian bacon in the pan. Place an egg ring OR thoroughly washed tuna can (with both lids removed) on the pan. Pour the egg into the ring. If some should leak out the bottom, no worries. You can flip it later.

5) After 2 or 3 minutes, the egg should be pretty set, so cut it out of the ring and flip it over. Then, add egg #2 to the ring. Flip the bacon while you're at it, too.

6) After another minute or so, egg #1 should be finished. Place it on top of one of the cheese-covered muffin halves, and add salt and pepper to taste. Then, add a slice of Canadian bacon and top with the other muffin half. Press down lightly with a spatula so the egg will finish melting the cheese.

7) Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining ingredients.

8) Take a blog picture in front of a sufficient light source.

9) Serve and eat with glee.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
283 calories, 12.4 g fat, $0.93

Cooking spray: 0 calories, 0 g fat, $0.04
2 English muffins, split in half: 240 calories, 2 g fat, $0.38
2 slices Canadian bacon: 89 calories, 4 g fat, $0.79
2 large eggs: 147 calories, 9.9 g fat, $0.38
1 ounce reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated: 90 calories, 9 g fat, $0.25
Salt and pepper to taste: 0 calories, 0 g fat, $0.02
TOTAL: 566 calories, 24.9 g fat, $1.86
PER SERVING (TOTAL/2): 283 calories, 12.4 g fat, $0.93

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JB said...

As one who put in four years at McD's back in the 90s, here's a few to make that Egg McMuffin a bit more authentic.

* McD's actually slightly poaches their McMuffin eggs. They have a cover that drips water over the rings while cooking, giving an alternate poaching effect to the top, while the bottom is getting fried on the surface. One could probably replicate this with the tuna can.


Valerie G said...

One way to skip the tuna can ring part is to use egg substitute or egg whites and nuke them in the microwave in a small, round BPA-free silicone or plastic container. Takes just seconds and you can measure out exactly how much you need.

The Food Hunter said...

there's something to be said for an egg mcmuffin

Anonymous said...

If you don't want to use a tuna can, a well greased metal cookie cutter works well. My son likes his in the shape of dinosaurs. Avoid the ones with detailed corners.

Dianna Blair said...

I have learned to do the semi poached thing by using clean canning jar rings that I spray with non-stick spray then toss in a couple of ice cubes and place a lid over it. The cubes melt and the poaching begins. The thing I do that my kids love is to mix the eggs with a fork and a tad of water (as if scrambling) and the pour them in a foil lined cooking pan (cookie sheet works well)and bake for about 14 minutes. Then I use a biscuit cutter to cut rounds of egg out.

Tt in nyc said...

Complete heresey but i use scrambled tofu... And ketchup!! You forgot the ketchup! The whole point is to have ketchup at breakfast :)!

chacha1 said...

gotta say, a breakfast sandwich is a fine thing but I would never turn on the cooktop in order to do it.

Break that egg into a microwave-safe 12 to 14-oz bowl, break the yolk or beat lightly (to taste), and zap it for 1 minute.

Take a little bit of butter on a silicone spatula and run it around the cooked egg to loosen it, then leave it while ...

place split English muffin in toaster oven with a slice of cheese on one half and a slice of breakfast meat of choice on the other; toast till cheese bubbles.

remove muffin from toaster onto plate, slide the egg out onto one half, flip the other half on top, voila.

Nicole said...

the whole point in cooking an egg with a little bit of water is because it makes the egg tender and fluffy. To get a perfect egg worthy of a McMuffin. I used
a roung metal cookie cutter and placed in the center of a non-stick pan. Next I poured in my scrambled egg mixture into the cookie cutter. Outside the cookie cutter I poured in a little water (no more than 2 or 3 table spoons), then covered with a lid.

i got extra fluffy eggs that I just simply just took a butter knife to remove the egg from the cookie cutter. Important thing though is to keep your eye on the egg. Once the top of the egg is spongy it is done. Cook it longer and you will burn the bottom of the egg.