Burgers — Fast Food Shake Shack Stylee

Burgers are great, but only when they are great. There are so many ways to make burgers and with all these new burger places opening to throw meat discs in your mouth it’s hard to know which route to go down. Personally, the place to be seen and heard chowing down on meaty circles is Shake Shack. The thin patty reigns supreme over the thicker equivalent. In the battle of thick vs thin, I think that thin definitely wins here. If you think there is not enough meat going on, stick another patty in there. Yeah boi. Then you’ve got a delicious meat sandwich to eat whenever you get the meat cravings. While I do not claim to be able to create an equivalently delicious patty to the master patty creators at Shake shack, this recipe does make a very easy but delicious burger. This is a fast food style burger and in my opinion, much easier to make delicious than the more gourmet thicker burgers.

What you need 

  • Mince beef –500g (about 10-20% fat content)
  • Pork Mince – 200g (about 20% fat content –raise the fat percentage of the beef if you can only find lean pork mince)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Streaky bacon (optional extras)
  • Avocado (optional extras)
  • Cheddar cheese, or plastic American cheese
  • Brioche Buns (get regular if you ain’t feeling the sweet savoury combo)
  • Gherkins (some would call them optional, I think they are an absolute must, maybe even more important than the meat.)

In my opinion mixing pork and beef together gets the best outcome. Beef can dry out really easily during cooking and having the fatty pork helps keep the moisture levels nice and high giving you that desired juicy burger. I think a good mix is 70% beef, 30% pork giving you delicious beef flavour with the fatty sweetness of pork. (Now you can make much better burgers with beef shin, sirloin, short ribs etc. but for most people getting just mince is much easier). In a mixing bowl, mix together the beef and pork with a good amount of salt and pepper. A lot of other recipes add in onions, garlic and loads of other things, which you can put in, but I think keeping in simple in burgers is best. Add in the other things on top later.

Once these are all mixed together so you can see the lighter pork flecked all over the beef, move yourself to a clear work surface. You are going to need some cling film here. First separate the meaty mixture into equal balls. They should be between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. Now take a sheet of cling film and put it onto the surface, put one ball on top and then place another sheet on top. Then take a chopping board, or a large plate and push down onto the ball. This is how to make the patties nice and thin, letting them cook quickly whilst retaining the moisture. Squish the balls down to about 1cm thick. Then put the patty still covered in cling film onto a plate. Do the same to all of the patties. Now if you’ve got a bit of time put the plate into a cold fridge, if you don’t and want to cook straight away, put the burgers into the freezer. Cooling them down will help retain the shape when cooking.

Next get a frying pan and get it super-hot, as if you were frying a steak. If you have a non-stick pan, don’t bother with oil, the fatty meats should produce enough. Once really hot put the burgers into the pan, don’t overcrowd them though.

When looking up this style of burgers I came across the hockey technique which is to put the ball (i.e. the puck) straight into the pan, smash it down with a spatula (the hockey stick) so it’s nice and thin, then scrape it off. While this is good, I think it is much easier to squish the burgers first and then continue with this. So, once you’ve thrown the burgers in, pat them down and let them cook on one side for a few minutes. Then scrape it off the pan and flip it over. You should have a nice brown crisp all over.

While the burgers are cooking up nice, in a hot oven (under the grill) throw in your burger buns and your bacon. If you want to add cheese you can add the cheese to one side of the bun (if you are using American cheese put it straight onto the patty in the pan). Get the buns nice and crisp and remove and put onto your plates. Next add your burgers and begin to build the tower of your dreams. By the time you get to the top, your bacon should be nice and crispy. Smack the top bun on and begin to chow down.

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