When it comes to preparing the burger, here are a few notes: Shake Shack prefers potato rolls from Martin’s in Chambersburg, Penn. Unfortunately, the mega-bakery doesn’t supply Twin Cities metro area supermarkets with its milk- and potato-enriched buns. (Conveniently, Lunds & Byerly’s bakes their own version; a dozen runs about $10).
The Shake Shack’s exact beef formula — created by butcher Pat LaFrieda — isn’t revealed, but the book does outline that the formula follows a mix of brisket, chuck and short rib (the percentages aren’t mentioned). The beef is fresh, not frozen, and it’s all-natural Angus, raised without hormones or antibiotics.
For home cooks with a meat grinder (or a friendly butcher), here’s the recommendation: cut the meat into small pieces, and chill the beef; do not bring it to room temperature. On the first grind, use the coarse plate, and on the second grind, rely upon a finer plate.
When it comes to toasting the buns, “We say a well toasted bun should look like perfectly cooked French toast,” writes the authors. They prefer Roma tomatoes because “they are firm enough to hold their shape and color and add a sweet note to balance the salty crust of the burger,” they write.
And why American cheese? “It is quite simply the creamiest, meltingest cheese there is, bringing its special tang to a cheeseburger,” writes the authors. “Buy it sliced; it’s easier to drape on a hot burger.”
Here’s the recipe.
Note: "Like most deceptively simple things, it took us years to get it right, but now you can master burger perfection in five minutes," write authors Randy Garutti and Mark Rosati in "Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories."
4 hamburger potato buns
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons ShackSauce [see Recipe]
4 pieces green leaf lettuce
8 1/2-inch slices ripe plum tomato
1 pound very cold ground beef, divided into 4 pucks
1/2 teaspoon Our Salt & Pepper Mix [see Recipe]
4 slices American cheese
Directions: Heat a cast-iron griddle over medium-low heat until warm. Meanwhile, open the hamburger buns and brush the insides with melted butter (a soft brush is helpful here). Place the buns, buttered-side down, on the griddle and toast until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer buns to a plate. Spoon the ShackSauce [see Recipe, below] onto the top bun. Add a piece of the lettuce and 2 slices of the tomato.
Increase the heat to medium and heat the griddle until hot, 2 to 3 minutes.
Evenly sprinkle a pinch of Our Salt & Pepper Mix [see Recipe, below] on top of each puck of meat.
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.
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 2 1/2 minutes. Slide one of the spatulas beneath the burger to release it from the griddle and scrape up the caramelized brown 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 for 1 minute longer for medium. Cook more or less, depending upon your preference.
Transfer cheeseburgers to prepared buns and enjoy.
Makes about 1/2 cup.
Note: From "Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories." "We're surely not going to publish THE formula for our secret sauce," write the authors. "But this recipe comes pretty darn close with home ingredients. It's our homage to everything sweet, salty, sour and smoky that's ever been put on top of a burger."
1/2 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon Heinz ketchup
1/4 teaspoon kosher dill pickling brine
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Directions: In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, pickling brine and cayenne pepper and stir until well combined. Sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
OUR SALT & PEPPER MIX
Makes about 1/2 cup.
Note: From "Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories."
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Directions: In a small bowl, combine salt and pepper. "Use the mixture to season our burgers as they cook," write authors Randy Garutti and Mark Rosati. "You'll see why we call for a pinch or two of the mixture in every recipe."