Abstract : We determine the asymptotic behavior of the maximum subgraph density of large random graphs with a prescribed degree sequence. The result applies in particular to the Erdős–Rényi model, where it settles a conjecture of Hajek [IEEE Trans. Inform. Theory 36 (1990) 1398–1414]. Our proof consists in extending the notion of balanced loads from finite graphs to their local weak limits, using unimodularity. This is a new illustration of the objective method described by Aldous and Steele [In Probability on Discrete Structures (2004) 1–72 Springer].