All arguments concerning where Shake Shack burgers fall on the fast food spectrum aside, the chain’s iconic ShackBurger is straight fire. This is objective and undeniable, even to west-coasters enamored with In-N-Out, or to Texans who believe Whataburger or P.Terry’s reign supreme.
There’s no use comparing the ShackBurger to any of the burgers above because they’re all so different. Apples and oranges and all. But the the fact of the matter is, the ShackBurger is awesome. Anybody who has ever spent an hour or more in line waiting for one knows this to be true.
Unfussy and simple, its place in the top echelon of fast food burgers was cemented long ago.
And lucky for us, we’ve got the recipe. Last year, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti and culinary director Mark Rosati released a cookbook fittingly titled, Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories. Naturally, the ShackBurger was featured (though the exact Shack Sauce recipe—they provide a “really close” approximation—and the exact beef blend, tailor-made for the chain, remain secrets. Boo.)
The ShackBurger | MAKES 4
“Most likely the reason you have this book in your hands—our version of the great American cheeseburger. Like all deceptively simple things, it took us years to get it right, but now you can master burger perfection in five minutes.”
4 hamburger potato buns (Martin’s Potato Rolls, though any will do)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
4 tablespoons Not Quite Our Shack-Sauce
4 pieces green leaf lettuce
8 ¼-inch slices ripe plum tomato
1 pound very cold ground beef divided into 4 pucks
½ teaspoon Our Salt & Pepper Mix
4 slices American cheese
ShackSauce | MAKES ABOUT 1/2 CUP
“Long ago we threw away the key to the secret recipe for ShackSauce; but we promise to get you really close with ingredients easily found in your kitchen.”
½ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon Heinz ketchup
¼ teaspoon kosher dill pickling brine
Pinch of cayenne pepper
OUR SALT & PEPPER MIX:
“We mix ½ cup kosher salt with ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper and use that mixture to season our burgers as they cook. You’ll see we call for a pinch or two of the mixture in every recipe.”
1. Heat a cast-iron griddle over medium-low heat until warm. Meanwhile, open the hamburger buns and brush the insides with the melted butter. A soft brush is helpful here.
Place the buns buttered side down on the griddle and toast until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. (You want the inside of the buns to look like french toast.) Transfer buns to a plate. Spoon the sauce onto the top bun. Add a piece of the lettuce and two slices of tomato.
2. Increase the heat to medium and heat the griddle until hot, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Evenly sprinkle a pinch of Our Salt & Pepper Mix on top of each puck of meat.
4. Place the pucks on the griddle, seasoned side down. Using a large, sturdy metal spatula, firmly smash each puck into a 1/3-inch-thick round patty. Pressing down on the spatula with another stiff spatula helps flatten the burger quickly. Evenly sprinkle another big pinch of Our Salt & Pepper Mix.
5. Cook the burgers, resisting the urge to move them, until the edges beneath are brown and crisp, and juices on the surface are bubbling hot, about 2½ minutes. Slide one of the spatulas beneath the burger to release it from the griddle and scrape up the caramelized browned crust.
Use the other spatula to steady the burger and keep it from sliding. Flip the burgers. Put the cheese on top and cook the burgers 1 minute longer for medium. Cook more or less depending on your preference.
6. Transfer the cheeseburgers to the prepared buns and enjoy.
Your homemade burger might not look as tasty as a real-life ShackBurger, but it’ll probably taste as good—especially because you made it yourself. And a pro tip for life: 45 seconds is the ideal amount of time it takes for that cheese to melt JUSSSST SO.