Wait, we have a meat grinder? My husband, who can no longer claim I’m a kitchen minimalist, was in disbelief. Well yes, technically we had received the KitchenAid meat grinder attachments, I explained, but this wasn’t like having a huge meat grinder that would take up space and that we’d never use. It was completely different. And, as I needed an excuse to prove my point, I followed up on my promise to make Shake Shake burgers.
Let it be noted that Shake Shack is exactly one block from our apartment. We can lean out the window and see the line. And the line is where this recipe comes into play. This is for the times when we do not want to waddle out of our apartment, walk one block, and stand in line for more than 20 minutes. And, you know, for the day when we will not live one block from a Shake Shack (but from the way Shake Shacks are popping up everywhere, this could be less of a challenge than one would think).
First question you’re probably wondering: Do I really need to grind my own meat? Yes. You could get by with buying ground meat, but it will not taste as good. And it’s a pretty satisfying experience. When I was a kid, my dad used to make his own breakfast sausage using his KitchenAid attachment, and I remember it being really tasty and easy to do. These were sausage patties (no casings involved as I did not grow up on a farm but in suburban Detroit), and we’d make a big batch and freeze them for lazy Sundays in the future. Grinding your own meat insures you actually know what’s in there and it made a big difference in the finished texture of the burgers.
There are a number of Fake Shack recipes out there, and this is based on one of the best I found via Serious Eats. Along with Fake Shack aficionados comes crazy attention to detail, much of which I left out here. If you want to go full Shack, you’ll need a squirt bottle to apply the sauce to the bun, among other things. Getting the right bun is key, however, and a detail not to be skipped. You want a potato roll bun (I use Martin’s brand) so that it’s both soft and sweet. I found them easily at Fairway, and it might be worth checking out if they’re available in your local store in advance. American cheese is key as well – this is not the time for fancy additions. Nor is it time for subtractions. Confession: I usually order the burger without the Shack sauce. Yep, a regular old plain cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato. That sounded pretty boring, so I went for the full experience in this recipe. The sauce was not at all as mayonnaise-laded as I had assumed/feared, so this cooking experiment may have forever changed my order. Fashioning a burger sleeve out of wax paper is optional (and surprisingly frustrating!).
40 minPrep Time
5 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 8 oz beef sirloin, cut into 1-inch strips
- 4 oz beef chuck, cut into 1-inch strips
- 4 oz beef brisket*, with fat cap, cut into 1-inch strips
- 4 tablespoons Shake Shack sauce (recipe below)
- 4 hamburger buns (Martin's potato rolls preferred)
- 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter
- 4 lettuce leaves (I used curly lettuce)
- 8 slices plum tomato (cut from the center, if desired)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- salt & pepper
- 4 slices yellow American cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 4 slices kosher dill pickle
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Arrange strips of meat on a baking sheet, without crowding, and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes, until just firm (not frozen). Also place blade and 1/4-inch die of meat grinder in freezer until well chilled.
- Assemble meat grinder, remove meat from freezer, and feed strips of beef into grinder, making sure to grind different cuts of meat together.
- Pass meat through grinder for a second time.
- Refrigerate meat prior to forming burgers for 10-15 minutes.
- Divide meat into 4 burgers, about 2 inches tall, careful not to over-handle or pack down meat. Don't worry if they look too tall/plump, you'll be smashing them down in the pan later on.
- Make sauce by combining mayonnaise, paprika, ketchup, mustard, pickle slices, and cayenne in a blender. Blend until smooth, set aside.
- Open buns, being careful not to break the bun hinge. Butter insides of buns and toast until just golden.
- Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat and add oil until hot (not smoking). Season burgers generously with salt and pepper (both sides) and place in pan.
- Using a metal spatula, press down and smash burgers until flattened to about 4 inches in diameter. Cook until crust has formed, about 2 minutes, and flip, using a scraping method.
- Top each burger with a slice of American cheese (cover with a lid to help cheese melt, if desired) and cook 1 minute longer.
- Assemble burgers by spreading 1 tablespoon of Shack sauce on the top half of each toasted bun. Layer 1 leaf of lettuce and 2 slices of tomato on top. Add cooked burgers to the bottom half and close. Serve right away!
* It might be difficult to find such small quantities of brisket - I bought double the recipe and froze the extra for next time (Oh, and there will be a next time for this recipe, and more after that!)