I figure Chicago style hot dogs are probably the ballpark food-of-choice at Wrigley Field, so I decided to create something that is a popular stadium item in our town -- The Shake Shack Burger. We've only been to one game at Nationals Park, but it was just after Shake Shack opened and it was very popular. We got there early to avoid the long lines and were so happy we did. The Shack Burger lived up to all the hype we had heard about it. It was salty and crunchy and the shack sauce just made the fresh tomatoes and lettuce sing. So, recreating this burger at home was the first thing that popped into my head when I learned about the ballpark theme.
Some googling led me to an article on Serious Eats with a very detailed recreation of the Shack Burger. I took a few shortcuts, mostly for convenience sake, but found it came out pretty darn close to the original! It was just as tasty, and though I didn't figure out the cost, I am sure it was cheaper! We used ground beef we already had, 85% lean, instead of grinding our own and used some potato rolls we already had, which weren't Martin's brand, but still very good! I accidentally bought red leaf lettuce instead of green, but that made no difference in the taste at all.
I'm very thrilled to share my contribution to the All-Star Virtual Baby Shower for Jessica! She's a smart, funny gal who is always sharing an encouraging word or bit of advice in our cooking community and I'm so happy to be a part of this online celebration of her new little girl!
Shake Shack Burgers
from Serious Eats
makes 4 burgers
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 pound ground sirloin, 85% lean
1 tablespoon butter, softened
4 burger rolls, preferably potato
4 leaves of green (or red!) leaf lettuce, tops of leaves only
8 slices ripe plum tomatoes, center-cut prefered
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese
- Make Shack Sauce -- combine mayo, ketchup, mustard, chopped pickle, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor. Give the processor a few good whirls, until the sauce looks to be an even consistency, scrapping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. This will make almost 3/4 cup sauce and you will have some leftover after dressing the burgers. It's great for dipping fries.
- Next form the ground beef into 4 pucks -- about 2 inches high and 2 1/2 inches wide. Sprinkle the top side heavily with salt and pepper.
- Prep a large stainless steel skillet -- using a wadded up paper towel rub vegetable oil on skillet, then place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke.
- While waiting for the skillet to heat, turn broiler on high. Open the buns, but do not split all the way through, leave them 'hinged' open if possible. (My rolls were already split and my burgers still turned out fine, so it's okay if this happens to you as well.) Spread the softened butter over the tops and bottoms of all 4 rolls. Place under the broiler and cook until golden brown.
- Once the buns come out of the broiler, dollop 1 -2 teaspoons (depending on preference) on each side of each bun. On the top bun, add one leaf lettuce then 2 tomato slices. Set prepped buns aside to wait for burgers.
- When skillet is barely smoking, place beef patties in, seasoned side down. Using the back of a spatula, flatten the patties to 4 inches wide. Normally this is a no-no, but for a realistic Shack Burger you want the beef to stick and get 'crusty' for lack of a better term. Season the top side with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp crust forms, about three minutes.
- Flip burgers and top each with one slice American cheese. Cover and cook until cheese melts.
- Transfer patties to bottoms of burger buns and cover with toppings and bun tops. Wrap in parchment paper if desired and let sit for 1-2 minutes. I find this step, while annoying since delicious burgers and their mouth-watering smells are surrounding your surely hungry taste buds, essential. It really lets the juices from the burgers sink into the buns and the sauce to meld with the other toppings and cheese to do the same. We found it easier to cook two burgers at a time in our skillet, so it was easy to let the first set sit in parchment while we finished off the second two burgers, then ate the first set.