Sunday, October 18, 2009
The Burger - the final recipe
I admit it: my tastes are not strikingly original. I'm obsessed with the Beatles, Beethoven is my god, and I even think Bono is a pretty neat guy. Nevertheless, I've consciously tried to avoid all things at the intersection of over-hyped and New York, until a couple years ago when I finally forced myself to stand on line for a hamburger in the name of research—a hamburger that changed my life.
Yes, I'm talking about the Shack Burger from Shake Shack, of which more than enough has been written about already. I'm not here to wax poetic about what Josh Ozersky has dubbed "the platonic ideal of a hamburger"—rather, I'm here to talk about a way to skip the line that doesn't involve standing outside at 9 p.m. on a rainy Tuesday night: Just make the Shack Burger at home. Easier said than done.
There's nothing special about the burger—regular squishy bun, a 1/4-pound patty of griddled meat, lettuce, tomato, and sauce—but like all good burger experiences, the sandwich is far more than a sum of its parts. To recreate the experience at home, I had to eat it, dissect it, deconstruct it, research it, eat it some more, rebuild it, break it down again, reconfigure it, taste it, eat it one more time, and finally reconstruct it again. Here are the results of my labor, from the ground up.
The Fake Shack (or the Shack Burger at Home)
- - Posted by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, October 16, 2009 at 9:30 AM
Note: This is my favorite burger recipe - it's about quality product and technique.
- makes 4 burgers -
8 ounces beef sirloin, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces well-marbled beef chuck, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces well-marbled beef brisket, fat cap intact, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 Martin's Sandwich Rolls
4 tablespoons Shack Sauce (recipe follows)
4 leaves of green-leaf lettuce, clipped
8 center-cut slices ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese
1. Place feed shaft, blade, and 1/4-inch die of meat grinder in freezer until well-chilled. Meanwhile, place meat chunks on rimmed baking sheet, leaving space between each piece and place in freezer for 10 minutes until meat is firm, but not frozen.
2. Combine meat in large bowl and toss to combine. Pass meat through grinder twice. Form into four disks, about 2-inches tall, and 2.5-inches wide. Refrigerate until ready for use.
3. Open buns but do not split hinge. Brush lightly with butter, then place under broiler or in toaster oven until golden brown, about 1 minute. Spread 1 tablespoon Shack Sauce on top half of each bun (for true authenticity, squirt out of squeeze bottle into three lines, three passes on each line). Place 1 leaf lettuce and 2 slices tomato on top half of each bun.
4. Using wadded-up paper towel, rub inside of heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet with vegetable oil, then place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Season beef pucks on top side with salt and pepper, then place, seasoned side down, in skillet. Using back of heavy, flat spatula, press down on beef pucks firmly to form 4-inch round patties, being careful not to let it stick to bottom of spatula. Season top side with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp brown crust has formed, about 2-minutes.
5. Carefully scrape patties from skillet, and flip. Top each patty with 1 slice American cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer. Transfer patties to burger bun bottoms, close sandwiches, and serve.
- makes about 3/4 cup sauce -
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary.