Fourth of July is just a few days away. A time where everything to make a great American burger is on sale, so why not make the best at home burger possible? A few weeks back I received Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories as a gift (or bribe to make cheese sauce..either way). Pretty much everyone knows how much I love the Shack or just burgers in general so I was really excited to try to make one of my favorite burgers at home. Truth be told, I wasn’t that great at making burgers at home…until now.
As a cookbook Recipes & Stories is great. It gives homemade versions to so many of Shake Shack’s offerings including the chicken sandwich, fried pickles, hot dogs, and, of course, the iconic burger. Along with the classics there are recipes for meals created through collaborations with famous chefs some that were offered in regional areas of the country. Anything you could possibly want to make from Shake Shack is here including the shakes and custard. Another really cool thing about Recipes & Stories are the stories themselves. There’s the history of Shake Shack, their ingredients, their suppliers, employees, and loyal fans across the world. My favorite is the History of the American Burger because duh. There are tips and tricks for everything from grinding your own meat to making crinkle fries and even cripsing bacon!
So how did my experience go? We decided to have Shack Burgers and cheese fries. This meant making Shack Sauce (super easy) and cheese sauce (tastes nearly the same). The burgers took a little altering and I did not make my own crinkle fries. At the end it was the best burger I’ve ever made at home. Hands down. I will likely never make another burger at home ever except, maybe, alterations on this one (i.e. the Smokeshack). Given the recipe for the burger is already online (find it @ Tasting Table), you may not consider buying the book but it’s so worth it. We made these over a week ago and are STILL talking about how good they were.
I do have some tips and tricks I thought I would share from my experience.
- Using store made burger patties worked just fine. I used the regular ones from the meat counter not frozen.
- Be sure to use the Shake Shack kosher salt and pepper mixture on the burgers, but make it to your own liking. It seems like a lot of salt, and it is.
- Cooking the burger based on the recipe seems complicated with the using two metal spatulas and all. I did not do that (I only own one metal spatula), and it worked just fine. Considering they are not homemade burger pucks the crispy bits they mention aren’t really there anyway.
- Do not skip the butter toasted potato buns. It’s non-negotiable. Don’t try to use a different type of bun, don’t try to toast it without butter, or whatever else you’re thinking of skipping. Don’t.
- Alter the Shack Sauce by adding more ketchup because the recipe ends up being mainly mayo. As delicious as that may be, it wasn’t my cup of tea so I made some personal alterations. Don’t forget the Shack Sauce. Period.
- The cheese sauce is incredibly simple but it makes a lot. It says serves 4, but makes far too much for two people simply putting it leisurely on fries. I had leftovers for days (still really good days later. Better even).
- I wasn’t sure I needed a crinkle cut fry maker, so I used store-bought crinkle fries. Cook them longer than the package directions to make them extra crispy and you’re good to go. My kitchen is still very complete without a crinkle fry cutter.
- Be prepared to be forever changed and not able to eat any other homemade burger ever again.