I have a confession: I have never actually been to Shake Shack. I’ve been to NY and DC, but never passed one or made the effort to experience Shake Shack in all its glory. After seeing numerous photos of the famous burgers and crinkle fries on instagram and twitter, I decided to do some googling to see what the hype is all about. Spoiler alert: it’s all about the sauce. My dad said it is similar to the Big Mac sauce, but I don’t frequent McDonald’s and rarely eat fast food, so I’ll leave that verdict up to you. I also went at least fifteen years without eating beef (middle school – high school) and I have to say, I am now the type of person that craves it. Every once in awhile I really want a burger. I have to have one. I think going beef free for so many years has also made me more particular about my burger. If I am going to have a burger, I want a quality patty with delicious toppings and a really good bun.
The Shake Shack burger has cheddar cheese, a quality bun, and of course the sauce. Burgers are also great because they don’t require any fancy tools. I go with an 80/20 fat ratio in the beef – you don’t want it too lean (come on, it’s burger!), but you want a good ratio of lean to fat. Somewhere I read to freeze the burger patties for ten minutes or so immediately before placing on a hot grill because you want the meat to be cold. Also, if you want this to be really amazing, butter and grill the inside of the buns.
I am also not a big fan of mayo, but it is crucial in the sauce and it really makes the burger special. I served the burgers with roasted asparagus, potatoes, chips and guac, and a tomato mozzarella salad.
If you want more inspiration, read the recent article by Epicurious: ‘The Secrets to Making the Shake Shack Burger at Home.’ High quality beef, smash it, and scrape it.
Makes 4 hamburgers
1 pound ground beef
SHAKE SHACK SAUCE
1/4 cup mayo
1 1/2 teaspoons juice from a pickle jar
1 1/2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
4 buns (I got mine at Fresh Market)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Form the meat into four patties and place them on a plate and freeze for ten minutes (don’t leave them in there any longer). Place them on the grill or in a hot pan over the stove with a little oil.
Make the sauce: Combine all of the ingredients.
Butter the inside of the buns and place on the grill or in a pan for 1-2 minutes.
Assemble the burgers: Place the burgers on the toasted buns. Spread the top of the buns with the sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.
Winston and his ‘burger’
Happy Memorial Day weekend! The warm weather, time with family, and great food remind me how blessed I am. Life is a beautiful ride!