Meet Don Gorske, The Man Who Holds The Guinness World Record For Eating The Most Big Macs

Published March 5, 2024
Updated March 6, 2024

Don Gorske is the "ultimate Big Mac fan" and has eaten more than 34,000 of the McDonald's burgers since 1972.

Don Gorske

Guinness World RecordsDon Gorske has said that his obsessive-compulsive disorder is why he loves Big Macs so much.

“Many people thought I’d be dead by now but instead I’ve been a record holder for my 24th year — one of Guinness World Records’ longer-running record holders, so that’s pretty cool to me,” said 70-year-old Don Gorske.

Gorske is the “ultimate Big Mac fan,” a man who has eaten almost nothing but the famous McDonald’s hamburger since May 17, 1972. In 1999, he set the Guinness World Record for most Big Macs eaten in a lifetime. In March 2024, he extended the record again.

Altogether, Don Gorske has consumed more than 34,128 Big Macs over the course of his lifetime. Most people didn’t think he’d make it to 70, but Gorske’s unique diet has worked well for him for more than 50 years — and he doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

Don Gorske’s Record-Breaking Big Mac Journey

Needless to say, Don Gorske’s favorite food is a hamburger. It has been ever since he was a child because, as he told the Green Bay Press Gazette in 2016, “it’s the best food in the world.”

On May 17, 1972, Gorske drove to the McDonald’s on Military Road in his hometown of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, bought three Big Macs for lunch, and wolfed them down.

His obsession began immediately. That same day, he went back to McDonald’s twice, buying three more Big Macs each time.

Don Gorske Holding Mcdonald's Merchandise

Guinness World RecordsAn old photo of Gorske holding McDonald’s merchandise.

At first, Gorske stashed all of the burger cartons in the back of his car so he could keep track of how many he had eaten. To this day, he still keeps all the receipts and containers for every Big Mac he orders.

In that first month alone, Gorske ate 265 Big Macs. However, he didn’t necessarily think it would become a lifelong habit.

“I thought I was going to get drafted for the Vietnam War, you know?” he said. “So I thought, well at least I’ll eat them every day until I get drafted or whatever, and then when I didn’t get drafted it just kept on going.”

Gorske’s Big Mac obsession started making rounds in the media around 1986, but it was his appearance in the 2004 documentary Super Size Me that truly propelled him to national fame.

Exploring The Diet Of The Big Mac’s Biggest Fan

It was in 1999 that Gorske first received his Guinness World Record for eating the most Big Macs. At the time, he was working as a correctional officer at a maximum security prison.

At first, he largely stayed away from interviews. As he put it, he didn’t want to deal with the “relentless” verbal abuse he would have received from the inmates if they saw him on TV. Of course, his unique diet didn’t remain a secret for long.

His coworkers, at least, were supportive and would occasionally sneak Big Macs in for Gorske when he was working double shifts.

Case Of Big Mac Boxes

Guinness World RecordsDon Gorske standing next to a glass case of Big Mac boxes.

For what it’s worth, Gorske’s Big Mac obsession never got in the way of his personal life. He met his wife, Mary, in September 1973 and proposed to her three years later in the McDonald’s parking lot. The two have one son named Gideon, and both he and Mary are accustomed to Gorske’s eating habits.

“[Mary] has put up with a lot of obsessive-compulsive things I do and hasn’t let my Big Mac thing get to her,” he said.

While Gorske essentially only eats Big Macs now — foregoing breakfast and only having one other small snack each day — there was a period when he made himself try other foods.

From 1973 to 1981, at his mother’s request, Gorske would eat one meal each day that didn’t include a Big Mac. But in April 1981, his mother acquiesced, telling him, “If they haven’t killed you by now, go ahead.”

He also tried a Whopper from Burger King once in 1984 on a dare — and then spent his winnings on more Big Macs.

The Secret Sauce: How Don Gorske Maintains His Passion For Big Macs

Gorske mainly attributes his Big Mac obsession to his obsessive-compulsive disorder. “When I like something,” he said, “I stick with it all the time.”

In his younger years, that meant driving to McDonald’s every day and buying his Big Macs fresh. However, as he got older — and especially after he retired — that became less feasible.

Instead, Gorske buys his Big Macs in bulk. He eats a fresh one when he goes to the restaurant to stock up and keeps an “emergency stash” in his freezer that he can heat up at meal times.

In 2011, as Gorske was preparing to eat his 25,000th Big Mac, he explained to the local paper The Reporter that he would go out and purchase six Big Macs on Monday and eight on Thursday to last until his next visit to the restaurant.

Don Gorske Holding A Tray At Mcdonald's

Guinness World RecordsDon Gorske in line at McDonald’s with two Big Macs on his tray.

Occasionally, while traveling, Gorske had some trouble finding a McDonald’s, so he eventually started putting two Big Macs in his luggage, just in case. “A person like me, I just don’t change too much,” Gorske said. “It’s pretty much two Big Macs a day. When I can travel to sporting events, I like to take my Big Mac along.”

Once, a friend mailed him a Big Mac from Hawaii, which Gorske froze and then baked in his oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

“I figured if that didn’t kill the germs, nothing would,” he said.

Other than a few days when circumstances beyond his control prevented him from getting a Big Mac, there was only one instance in which Gorske, by choice, skipped his favorite meal: the day his mother died.

He ate his 30,000th Big Mac on May 4, 2018, and on May 17, 2022, he celebrated 50 years of eating daily hamburgers.

Big Mac World Record

Guinness World RecordsGorske hasn’t had any health issues despite his Big Mac diet.

To keep his health and weight in check, Gorske doesn’t order fries, walks six miles per day, and maintains a calorie deficit in order to avoid putting on pounds. Based on McDonald’s nutritional information, a Big Mac has around 590 calories, so at two per day, Gorske is eating around 1,180 calories in hamburgers alone.

But with the exercise and otherwise limiting what he eats, this is still less than the recommended 2,200 calories per day for adult males.

Gorske hasn’t experienced any major health issues, and when he went to the doctor in 2011 upon retiring, he had a below-average cholesterol level.

At 70 years old and in good health, Gorske continues to hold on to his world record, surpassing 34,000 Big Macs as of March 2024 — and it’s unlikely anyone else will ever hold his title.

After reading about Don Gorske, the Big Mac’s biggest fan, read about Burt Munro, the man who set a motorcycle record at nearly 70 years old. Or, read about Rolf Buchholz, the man with the most body modifications in the world.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Cara Johnson
A writer and editor based in Charleston, South Carolina and an assistant editor at All That's Interesting, Cara Johnson holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Washington & Lee University and an M.A. in English from College of Charleston and has written for various publications in her six-year career.