The Biggest of Macs

With two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, and cheese, the Big Mac is as much an icon as it is a sandwich. (And yes, a hamburger is a type of sandwich.) It’s also something you probably shouldn’t eat too often; with 550 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat, it’s not the healthiest of options. Once in a while, sure, but every day… that’s not great.

Besides, you’ll never eat as many as Don Gorske has.

That’s him, pictured above, from February of 2017. It was a big day for McDonald’s — they were introducing two different sized Big Macs: the Grand Mac and the Jr. Mac. As part of the fanfare, a local news station, KOMO in his home state of Wisconsin, asked Gorske to meet them at a local restaurant and give all three a try — and to give his opinion on the new ones. He liked them both, but that’s not saying much: over the last 48 years, Gorske has eaten well over 30,000 Big Macs — nearly two per day. 

As Gorske tells the press, he ate his first Big Mac on May 17, 1972 and really liked it, so he came back for more. And he never stopped doing so. Gorske claims that (as of 2017), he’s eaten two per day, every day — and that he’s only missed eight days in the process. According to Thrillist, “his first miss was when he drove in a snowstorm to get his fix, only to find his local McDonald’s closed. Another was on the day his mother died. She’d requested that he forgo it in honor of her death,” and he obliged.

But other than that, he’s just kept eating — and he can prove it. Per KOMO, “Gorske says he’s kept every Big Mac container that he’s purchased,” and “he has a display showing the packaging changes, about 50 in all. He still has record books where he kept track of how many Big Macs he’s eaten.” That was good enough for the team at Guinness World Records; on August 24, 2016, they certified him as the person with the “Most Big Mac burgers eaten in a lifetime” with 28,788 consumed. The burgers kept coming after that. In May of 2018, at age 64, he ate burger 30,000, with no plans to stop, although he expects to not hit 40,000 until the year 2032 — at age 78.

And while one would think that a diet high in Big Macs will preclude him from reaching that milestone, Gorske claims otherwise. Upon reaching that 30,000 milestone, he told Vice that “he’s in perfectly good health and actually weighs less than he did 5,000 burgers ago. He’s also taken to eating a daily McDonald’s fruit and yogurt parfait because his wife wanted him to eat more fruits and vegetables.” And he also claims that his cholesterol is, somehow, within a healthy range (and lower than most people’s).

If you want to ask him yourself, though, don’t expect to simply show up to his local McDonald’s and see him sitting there. He eats most of his Big Macs at home. In a typical week, he’ll only show up on Monday and Thursday, buying six and eight burgers each time. He eats two right there, but the others go home with him; as he told the New York Post, “I don’t freeze them, I just put them in the fridge and take them out when I want one. I microwave them, I like them like that.”

Bonus fact: While hardly as extreme as Gorske’s mark, in 2018, an Ohio man ate Chipotle for 500 days straight, also likely a record. The eater, in that case, decided to celebrate the occasion by dressing up as Batman, which seems ridiculous because eating Chipotle for 500 straight days isn’t heroic. But the man behind the mask had a reason for the costume: his real name is Bruce Wayne.

From the Archives: Lyin’ Fries: McDonald’s french fry apology.