fake shack burger Recipes

fake shack burger

The last time I incubated of future generation of my family, my OB’s office — a place you cumulatively spend a spectacular amount of time over the course of 40 weeks — was diagonally across the street from the Upper West Side Shake Shack, and I only ate there once. I understand if this means we can no longer be friends; I am personally embarrassed to know this about me too. Where were my priorities? I have spent years mourning this missed opportunity to not only eat a weekly Shackburger but to have made better use of my last weeks of kid-free leisurely lunches for years to come. The reason is even less sympathetic: I didn’t like hamburgers, or so I thought. They were so thick, so dauntingly large and one-note, so soft and damp inside, I couldn’t for the life of me imagine what made them popular.

what you'll need
cylinders of 80/20 beef

In the final week before my firstborn was given an eviction notice, my husband joined me for an appointment and afterward, gently pulled me in the direction of the Shake Shack. It was the middle of a weekday and there was barely a line, if you can imagine something so absurd. I settled in for a burger and fries and … can I pause for a moment? I’m getting verklempt, guys… I had a moment and that moment was a realization that I didn’t dislike burgers I disliked those monstrous things that were all the rage a few years ago. This burger was totally different — thin, unevenly shaped craggy-edged with crispy salty bits and it sat on a tender toasted bun with a perfect sauce, thinly sliced pickles, tomatoes, a ruffle of lettuce and yet wasn’t too tall to eat a bite of without unhinging my jaw like a snake that swallowed a goat (I’m sorry, second reference in one month, I can stop anytime). It wasn’t so massive that I had to take a nap when I was done, it was my first smash-style burger and it was everything. It’s probably for the best that this guy came along the next week, because I cannot imagine the trouble I would have gotten into if I had many more excuses to eat there.

making the burger sauce
thick fry batons
oven fries
toasting the buns in butter

My current OB, 300x more delightful than my old one, is far from any Shake Shacks, but now that I’ve seen the error of my earlier ways and also rather obsessively crave a weekly burger this time around, I think we can agree it’s probably for the best. As one of those city-dwellers without a grill (stupid laws keeping us 8 million safe, sigh), I’ve always assumed that we’d just never make great hamburgers at home. But then, in January, Epicurious published an obsessively detailed, drool-inducing, behind-the-scenes article about the making of a Shackburger and even in the throes of that first trimester of food loathing, I realized two things: 1. I could totally make my favorite burger at home with zero special tools or fancy ingredients. 2. I needed it to happen — I mean did you read that part about “a rotating metal drum stays perpetually lathered in melted butter?” That the burger is “smashed into juicy, sublime submission” as “the meat starts to caramelize in its own fat, forming those crispy nooks and crannies that make it the English muffin of burgers?” COME ON — right that very second.

it bent my spatula! so much easier to flatten
yep cheese for cheeseburgers

… Give or take a few months. This is my Memorial Day gift to those of us left unsatisfied by thick slabs of grilled burgers and or bereft of outdoor grills: a perfect burger which you can pair with my favorite oven fries, a solid slaw, glorious lemonade or milkshakes and a big fat wedge of watermelon for a dream of a quick, inexpensive summer dinner at home with nary a fly to swat away. Hallelujah.

assemblynot-so-secret sauce
fake shack burger

Fake Shack Burger
Perfect as written and described from Epicurious

First, I want you to read this article in its entirety and tell me what steel you’re made of if you can get through it without booking a ticket to NYC for the sole purpose of being one with a Shackburger as soon as possible. Now, let’s talk about a bunch of things I learned about the Shake Shack burger from the article:

  • They are always served on a potato roll from Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe in Pennsylvania. Not “Made for Shake Shack” Edition, not specially sized or packaged, but the exact same ones I found in large volumes at nearly every store in my neighborhood.
  • They’re only toasted on the inside. At the burger stands, they use the aforementioned “rotating drum perpetually lathered in melted butter” (swoon), but at home, we’re going to toast them in our frying pan.
  • Shake Shacks use Pat LaFrieda high-quality ground beef, and while they can’t say what fat ratio or blend they use, they told the writer that “80/20” was a good place to start. I bought mine at a small butcher shop in the West Village which uses a blend of brisket, short rib and sirloin. 80/20 is fatty; it will splatter like crazy. But that’s why god invented splatter screens and paper towels, right?
  • The patties used there aren’t patty-shaped but arrive in two-inch tall, four-ounce pucks. They’re cooked extra-cold from special fridges — we’re going to copy this by putting our in the freezer for 15 minutes first — not for food safety reasons, but when that cold puck hits the very hot grill, it browns extremely well but retains its juices because the fats haven’t fully melted inside.
  • Smashing the pucks into patties is surprisingly hard! Of course, at Shake Shacks they have specially designed heavyweight smasher spatulas; at home, Epicurious recommends that you use two spatulas, one for pressing and the handle of the other to kind of hammer the pressing spatula flat. I did this on my first batch and it was not terribly easy, especially with the splatters of hot grease making me want to pull my hands far away from the pan. I then switched to this insane meat pounder I bought a few years ago and it was so much easier. As most people don’t buy 2-pound meat pounders just for the heck of it, find something in your kitchen with a solid weight to make this process easier.
  • Nobody, of course, has the recipe for their Secret Sauce, but I rather liked Epicurious’s version, shared below

Makes 4 hamburgers

Burgers
1 pound freshly ground beef (3/4 pound ground sirloin + 1/4 pound brisket is recommended, but if you can’t find, use chuck) with an 80/20 fat ratio

Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons juice from a pickle jar
1 1/2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Assembly
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more if needed
4 potato rolls, preferably Martin’s brand
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices cheese, American or whatever you like on burgers, if you’re making cheeseburgers
Four 1/4-inch-thick tomato slices
Thinly sliced pickles, if desired
4 burger-sized pieces green-leaf lettuce (I used curly green leaf lettuce)

Prepare the meat: Form the meat into four equal-sized four-ounce meat “pucks,” roughly 2 1/2 inches thick. Place them on a plate lined with plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze for 15 minutes, but no longer. We don’t want to freeze the meat, but we’d like it to be extra-cold when it hits the pan.

Make the sauce: Combine all of the ingredients, tasting it and making any adjustments you’d prefer. A dash of hot sauce, perhaps?

Toast the buns: Heat a griddle, large cast-iron skillet (my first choice and recommendation), or large heavy stainless-steel skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and place the buns, cut-side down, in the pan. Cook until cut sides are golden-brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Place toasted buns on four plates; you’ll keep using your griddle or skillet.

Cook the burgers: Remove patties from freezer. Increase heat to high and add 2 tablespoons oil to the griddle or skillet — you’ll need this only for your first burger batch; after you’ve made a couple or if you’re scaling the recipe up, the fat from the earlier burgers will be sufficient — heat until oil begins to smoke, at least two minutes. Working one at a time, add a patty to griddle and immediately flatten it to a 1/2-inch thickness with a heavy spatula and something with weight and heft (the handle of a second spatula, a meat pounder, etc. see details up top) to help it along. You’ll have to “hammer” harder than you might think to flatten the patties out. A second spatula can be used to help remove the hamburger stuck to the flattening one, so not to tear the patty. Generously season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining patties.

Once the first side is deeply browned with crisp, craggly edges, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes for medium — mine were all quite black when they were flipped, and yet still totally pink inside when we cut into them; it will be hard to overcook them at this high heat — use a spatula to scrape underneath the patty and flip it over. Cover with a slice of cheese if making cheeseburgers, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, until melted. Repeat process with remaining patties.

Assemble burgers: Transfer cooked patties to toasted burger buns. Spread top buns with prepared sauce. Top burgers with tomatoes, lettuce, pickles (if using) and immediately dig in.

Serve this this with: My favorite oven fries, slaw, glorious lemonade or milkshakes, and a big fat wedge of watermelon.

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158 comments on fake shack burger

  1. Hilary

    We are on the same pregnancy craving wavelength. Never really wanted burgers or chocolate cake. I didn’t like super chocolatey chocolate chip cookies. I want all of these things with an urgency that defies all logic and reason. I could have a fridge full of groceries and not want anything I bought just the day before. It’s a comfort to me to know I’m not alone in my struggle.

  2. Saving saving SAVING THISSSSSS…
    We moved away from the city in November and I miss Shake Shack so much that it’s (almost but not really) embarrassing.
    I need to make this ASAP.
    Thank you, from the bottom of my soon to be greasy handed heart.

  3. jackie

    Oh boy. I’m going to have to try these to see if they beat my current favorite burger (umami burger from White on Rice couple).

  4. deb

    Amanda — Sorry, Epicurious estimated 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. But, I really just went by color. I found, as I mentioned, that I could get a good charred crisp on the underside, flip it and cook it for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes and it was still a nice medium-borderline-medium-rare inside. I wish I’d taken a cross-section photo. Anyway, I’ll add these cooking time estimates to make it easier.

  5. Melissa

    I make smashed burgers all the time, this is what most of our local diners here in the midwest serve.

    One little tip I picked up, put your meat puck in the pan and cook it briefly on one side without smashing it, THEN flip it over and smash. That way the part you’re pressing down on is already seared a little. It holds the burger together and prevents the spatula from sticking. I find it much, much easier to get them really thin when you do it that way.

  6. Jasmine

    No need to book a ticket to NYC, we have Shake Shacks in DC! It’s been too long since I’ve visited. I know what I’m having for lunch now.

  7. alex

    Can I ask a blasphemous question? I don’t eat beef, but have been craving meat this pregnancy… Do you think it work with ground turkey? If so, I’m assuming that fattiest I could find, right? Do you think it would it be worth the trouble?

    1. deb

      alex — I don’t have any experience making turkey burgers, but I don’t see why the same technique isn’t worth applying to other meats. Yes, definitely use the fattiest blend you can. The cooking times might be different; I’d expect it to take a little longer. Good luck!

  8. Dana

    THIS HAS MADE MY YEAR. I fell in love with SS when I lived in Miami. A year ago I moved to the Midwest — a sad burger desert, hundreds of miles from the closest Shack. I can’t wait to try this out!!!

  9. Lauren

    Can’t wait to try this. I visited NYC for work when I was 14-ish weeks pregnant last February, and stayed in Times Square basically right above the Shake Shack. One just opened in Austin but I can only imagine the insane lines.

    I too craved hamburgers and fries – with KETCHUP, the foodie horror! – and milkshakes daily when pregnant. My baby had very American taste buds when he was on the inside!

  10. Tara

    Hi Deb, any idea if olive oil work instead of butter, since I don’t eat dairy and meat together? And you didn’t mention seasoning the meat — did you season it at all? Maybe just salt and pepper? Thanks!

  11. Jane M

    My butcher in (formerly Eden Gourmet NOW called Ashley’s) in South Orange NJ has the greatest preformed burgers around made with brisket. No more grilling burgers for me for a while-stove top is the way to go! I even have a flattop on my range! Yessssir! Your burgers look Devine!

  12. Susan

    I buy the large “value” packs of hamburger, 80/20 blend, and divide it up into burger patties and 1/2lb chunks to freeze for future use. For those without a scale, I have found that a 1/2 cup measuring cup makes the perfect size patties(which are roughly 4oz) and a 1 cup measuring cup make almost perfect 1/2lb chunks for other uses. I, too, have found that partially unfrozen patties make the best burger…but only because I’m usually so late taking meat out of the freezer for dinner!

    Deb, I recall you went to Georgetown U and wonder if you ever indulged in a Mighty Mo burger from the Hot Shoppes restaurant. I think there was one in DC, if not, one in the Marriot Hotel across the bridge in Alexandria, VA. Their secret sauce for the Mighty Mo burger made burger nirvana for me!

  13. stephanie

    deb, i’m so with you on the fat burgers! those giant things with the steak knife jabbed through them…no, just no. not into it! i like to have good topping distribution, minimal tectonic shift, and never having to ask “how the heck am i supposed to eat this?” actually, the best burger i’ve made at home so far was when we dove into juicy lucy territory. i ended up rolling the meat thin with a rolling pin between two sheets of plastic, scoring it to make squares and then folding them gently over the cheese in the middle. i finally saw the light. bigger is not always better.

    i also like chicken breast this way too. cutting the breasts in half makes way better fajitas, chicken parm, regular ol’ grilled chicken, you name it.

    anyway, totally gonna make these next week. i don’t have many smashing tools, but i may just use my potato masher and flatten any top lumps that rise up with a spatula.

  14. Lauren

    Yeah.Tonight.Can I add onion and not have it be a sacrilege? Gonna do it anyway. To do without would be like having a Hot Dog without sauerkraut.Unthinkable.

  15. Remy

    Deb – These look so amazing and I really want to cook them for our upcoming memorial day bbq….but don’t want to be stuck inside frying burgers on the stove…we have quite a few guests coming which means lots of burgers to make. Was thinking of finding a griddle for a grill so I can make more at a time? Thoughts? Any input greatly appreciated!!

  16. holy cow. i’m ashamed that i haven’t had shakes shack since i moved in from jersey almost two years ago. i used to justify it by saying i didn’t live in the city so whenever i came in it would be a treat. of course now there’s one about a 10 minute drive from my parent’s house in nj and i haven’t had it there either. i can’t keep thinking about this – what’s wrong with me?!

  17. YESSSSSS! This fills me with joy! I would love to make this at home but not sure if I’d be able to find the amazing rolls in the UK…. though I’ll give it a go!
    We have Shake Shack in Covent Garden, London and I find ANY excuse to stop by and grab a burger, though sometimes the queues are just too long for even me. A D*I*E H*A*R*D fan!!!

  18. It looks absolutely amazing! I’m definitely going to try making them, thanks for sharing. I bet you love making this (especially the eating part), it looks so good.

  19. Aline

    When I was pregnant with no 2 last year my friend, who was also pregnant, told me about this bagel place called Chicago Bagel Authority. I mean, Chicago bagels are not NY Bagels but they steamed their bagels which killed the listeria (or so I told myself) and they had a bagel called “Hide the Salami”. It had salami, bacon, pepperoni, banana peppers, provolone, lettuce, avocado, pepper-ranch dressing on an onion bagel. I mean, has a more perfect pregnancy food ever been created?

  20. Sally

    I just got back from NYC & I had a Shack burger for breakfast in Grand Central one day & took one with me home on the plane. Perfection. Thanks for the recipe.

  21. One of my greatest regrets when I moved back to California was not having ate at Shake Shack when I lived in NYC. It’s one of those weird things that when I think about it now…it’s like, what the heck, how could I have not ate there at least once!? To be fair, I reminded myself that there are SO many good places to eat in NYC that it’s really, really hard to eat everywhere, especially when you’re on a budget and not eating out every single day. The good news is I remedied the problem by grabbing a burger from the Shake Shack stand at the Delta Terminal on one of my later trips to the City. It was splendid! I think people love Shake Shack in New York for the same reason that people love In-N-Out here in L.A. Both have those thin patties you described, and can actually be consumed without going into a food coma afterwards. And they both tend to use what are now not-so-secret ingredients (special buns, sauces, etc.) that make them extra good. Personally, I agree with you on the concept of a burger. I think they should be manageable and simple. Whenever I get a burger from a restaurant or whatnot, I can only eat half the burger. You did a fabulous job of recreating an East Coast favorite, Deb!! <3

  22. Am

    My brother is going to love this, thanks!

    And you don’t have to fly to NYC for a Shack burger. Boston and Cambridge have multiple outposts now as well and fewer Yankees fans! (haha).

  23. Awads

    FWIW, Shake Shack is in Washington, DC, too! There’s one at Union Station, about a mile from my house. I’ve only eaten there once because, you know….not healthful. But definitely worth a splurge.

  24. Just Another Anna

    I love these kinds of burgers! My favorite, ever, came from an old drugstore in my hometown. Real beef, cooked crispy and thin on a hot griddle, with fresh lettuce and a soft bun. So good. Perfectly sized so you could also get a chocolate malt and not feel like a total glutton (well, almost).

  25. Leslie

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! After watching a SS episode on DDD(food network) I was saddened by the fact I would probably never get to try a SS burger. Now I can!

  26. deb

    Remy — I have zero quibbles about putting a cast iron skillet directly on a grill, plus, you’ll have less mess inside.

    Kellee/pickle juice — Epicurious’s recipe actually called for spicy pickle juice, but it didn’t seem worth it to buy spicy pickles just for the brine (hence the hot sauce suggestion) if that’s not what you wanted on your burger or what you keep around. Anyway, I used Kosher dills. I think you can use whatever you’ve got around and it will be fine.

    Joel — Not sure how I missed that. (Actually, I think I had a one month-old at the time? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Definitely a great supplemental read here. Will link it up top shortly.

    Susan — Actually, I went to GWU, but all of my friends went to Georgetown. I’ll ask if they remember it… or maybe they’ll comment soon!

    Tara — I am sure you can toast the buns with an oil or vegan butter instead of real butter and be fine. The meat is seasoned in the pan, i.e just the outer edges, the seasoning is not worked into the mix. This is intentional, I suspect. I picked up this trick last year from Cara Nicoletti’s burger tips article on Food52 and I really think it makes a difference.

    AMN — Yes, like Kate said, it’s a second recipe in the mussels post. I was thinking of doing a refresh on it with more details, if people are interested.

  27. Staci

    The Concrete Jungle!!! Oh I miss standing in line for an hour in Madison Square Park to get my greedy fingers on one of these! And sitting on a bench, enjoying its calorie-laden deliciousness while enjoying the sunshine and people watching. It will always be my favorite treat in my favorite part of NYC. I just got super homesick for spring in Manhattan.

  28. Vicky

    I love smashed burgers! My fave is onion burgers from Serious Eats. Its’ an Oklahoma depression recipe, and they are fabulous! I don’t like burgers on the grill, but I adore cast iron, pan fried, with crispy caramelized edges. I have also made animal burgers wanna be’s from In-And-Out. Another yummm. I will have to give yours a try.

  29. I don’t understand why you have to flatten it in the pan. Why not just make them into thin patties when you form them by hand? I don’t really see what makes these different from any other cheeseburgers. (And I’m really over trendy hamburgers.) /bitching

  30. W.

    I live on the west coast and just recently took a work trip out east and tried my first ever Shake Shack burger. I had never heard of Shake Shack prior to the trip, but it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. I’m also a city dweller with no grill and have given up on homemade burgers after so many disappointing attempts. In short, I am SO EXCITED to try this!

  31. These sound incredible! We don’t have a shake shake here (unless I am living under a rock which could be possible) so I might have to make these for dinner tonight otherwise they will haunt me until I satisfy this new craving! Thanks for sharing :)

  32. Rebecca

    I have been a long time fan and reader, and I’ve never commented before, but I feel compelled to tell you that I am also currently expecting my 2nd and the fact that you posted both a milkshake and burger recipe right when I hit 12 weeks and my nausea stopped makes me so happy. Had I read these two posts 2 weeks ago, I may have needed to stop reading altogether because all food tasted and looked terrible. But now, yay shakes and burgers!!

  33. Oooh, if this works, it’ll make my husband SO happy. We discovered the Shake Shack on one of our day trips, and he’s still in mourning that we live at least 2 hours away from any of them so he can’t have their burgers more often!

  34. Rachael

    your cast iron pan is so beautiful! i know you get plenty of use out of it, so i’m wondering how you keep it so clean and shiny. care of cast iron pans seems to be a divisive issue on the interwebs, so can you share your wisdom?

  35. lizzie

    Hi Deb this looks divine!
    My only problem is I am in Australia and I don’t think we have those rolls.
    Is there a recipe to make them? I can easily sub soft white rolls but am keen to make this as authentic as possible. Love your work :)

  36. deb

    Rachael — Thanks, but it does look particularly pretty here because of that 80/20 that had been splattering for a while. :) I’ve been meaning to do a cast iron care post forever, but in short, I just always try for the lowest level of intervention I can get away with to clean it. So, if just warm water and a soft sponge will get it clean, that’s what I use. If it needs more, I’ll use warm water and the scrubby side of the sponge. If that doesn’t work, I’ll use a drop of soap where there’s something really stuck. I always completely dry it when I’m done (or RUST!) with a paper towel and quite often, I do a little trick I learned from CI, which is to very thinly coat the clean skillet in a neutral oil and turn the burner on high for a full minute then let it cool completely before wiping out any excess oil (i.e. I usually give it a wipe the next day). This gives it a light, low-effort reseasoning. Hope that helps.

  37. Beth

    The baking steel guy (Andris?) does a smash burger on the steel and uses a metal bench scraper for the smashing. Works quite nicely.

  38. Carolyn

    Craving this big time! Shake Shack opened in downtown Chicago last year, and plan on two more locations this year. Lucky us!

  39. lizzie

    @ Rachael, I have cast iron pans that look like Debs :). Once I have finished cooking and the pan isn’t too hot, I scrub out the food with hot water or some soap if necessary. I dry it on the flame for a min or 2, then using a silicone pastry brush (or kitchen paper etc) I carefully coat it with a small amount of coconut oil and heat till is almost smoking. The pan will then look a bit more matte when the oil has broken down into a plastic like substance. It just takes a couple of months from new before they start to look gorgeous and shiny. During this time I found I needed a bit more oil, and I wouldn’t attempt to fry eggs / pancakes / anything too sticky, but now I can make anything! Good luck, it is so worth the extra effort in the beginning.

  40. My husband will be SO SO SO happy to see this! We visited NYC for a week a few years ago and the only place we ate at more than once was that Upper West Side Shake Shack (and yep, we actually ate there more than twice. Can you blame us?). Given lots of great meals and even a few iconic restaurant ones, those burgers are the endearing food memory we managed to take home to Australia. Now if only we could find something akin to those potato rolls…!

  41. Tone

    Oh, Deb. Please tell me the reason there are a scant 11 fries in that last photo is that you ate all the rest,slapping away any intruding fingers. Or, that it was for artistic styling. Please. Please tell me I’m not the only savage who eats the fries, hot from the oven, skin on my palate be damned!

  42. deb

    lizzie — Great tip.

    Rachael — You might also like this post from Serious Eats about Cast Iron Myths. I found it very informative!

    Tone — Well, since you asked. :) While it is FINALLY my favorite time of year to take pictures of what I’m cooking — i.e. it’s light out at dinnertime, thus I’m not shooting last night’s dinner at 2 p.m. and reheating it at dinnertime, like I do grumpily over the winter — as you might see in the photos, I scaled the recipe 150% (i.e. 6 burger pucks) so that I’d have a chance to practice on a couple burgers in case it took longer to get the technique down. It did not. The first two burgers were glorious. I wrapped them in foil and sent them home with the babysitter. Then I made the last few for us. I also cooked off just a handful of the fries in that first round, although a much larger handful than made it into the photo because: FRIES. So, in short, you are correct!

  43. You could always come to Chicago for your Shake Shack fix too :-) (Though in all honesty, it opened in winter and I still haven’t had the patience to deal with the lines, even if they do make shakes with some of the best pie in the city.)

    The cold burger part is interesting, I do something similar though in reverse–I keep burger patties in the freezer and take one out an hour or so before I plan to grill. Coarse salt, a little olive oil to get it to stick, and then on a hot grill. The middle is still frozen but by the time the outside has a great char the inside is still perfectly medium-rare/medium. One of my favorite party tricks.

  44. Keely

    I wonder if I could steal one of my husband’s smaller sledge hammers to smash these…he might not notice it missing from the garage and he does love a burger, or two.

  45. Linda

    So prolific lately…are you trying for a new cookbook????
    (Drools)

    And at the very end of the post my eyes skittered a little and I ended up reading “serve with…lemonade milkshakes”
    Could you come up with a recipe for that? Please? (More drool)

  46. Pat LaFrieda published a cookbook last fall where he does give away his burger blends. There are three he makes, and I do not know which one Shake Shack buys. But this should get us closer. It’s either:
    2/3 short rib + 1/3 trimmed brisket;
    equal parts clod, chuck, trimmed brisket, and short rib;
    or 2/3 hanger + 1/3 clod.
    (Clod appears to be the lower part of the chuck area that is around the cow’s heart – I’ve never seen this in any store, even good ones, I’m guessing chuck makes a good substitute?)
    Here’s the Amazon link to the book, which is fantastic, btw: http://www.amazon.com/MEAT-Everything-You-Need-Know/dp/1476725993

  47. Are you kidding? I don’t have to read the article. You convinced me in your pictures alone. I don’t really even like hamburgers, but this looks too good not to try.

  48. Sigh. Shake Shack. Up here in Vermont (where we moved to from Brooklyn in 2012) we only have big thick burgers that, yes, make you feel like you’re in a food coma after you eat them. Can’t wait to try this version (I did read the Epicurious article when it came out but honestly, you make it sound less exhausting!).

    I haven’t seen Martin’s rolls around here at all, and it turns out per their website that they don’t exist up here, but hark! Also per their website: You can order them online for $22.14 per case (that’s six packages of eight). Bet they freeze well.

    Also, thanks to Julie for posting Pat LaFrieda’s burger blend ratios. My memory of the many Shackburgers I have eaten in my life has them tasting like no. 3 (that ever so slightly gamey taste points me toward hanger), but I’m guessing it’s closer to blend no. 2.

    Good LORD, do I sound like an insane person, or what?!?

  49. Diane

    Definitely making these soon! Am going to flatten them with my antique flat iron that I usually use for a book end for my cookbooks.

  50. Oh how I miss potato buns :( Wish we could get them in California! I have been known to bring some back when we visit east, they are so amazing!

  51. Anne Talley

    Remember Kliban’s “Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head”….good advice and why I have never liked the enormous jaw-unhinging wads of meat/sauce/bread that America persists in servings as burgers. Shake Shack’s offering is scaled to fit actual humans.

  52. Karen

    I’ve pretty much given up beef but this might be my once every six months indulgence.

    Also, for others dreaming of Shake Shack, they’re not just in NYC. I love in DC which has several and there’s one in Baltimore too.

  53. Kate

    Well!! I work two blocks from the downtown Brooklyn Shake Shack and have managed to stay away for a couple months. At 9:50am, I now know what’s on the lunch menu. :) thank you!
    Also, I am making these at home with all the delicious (and necessary) accompaniments. Year after year, you continue to impress me!

  54. Laura Miller

    Grew up on these burgers in Chicago, so I will always choose soft, crispy, salty over chewy and charred. Martha Stewart published a how-to on the midwestern burger a few years ago–dressed with mustard, chopped onion, pickles and shredded iceberg–and her innovation was to flatten the meat pucks (generously salted) between sheets of plastic wrap with a rolling pin, which works well if you are feeding legions.

    ABTB, Peeps! Always Butter the Buns!

  55. Visited NYC in August – hotel almost across road from the Shake Shack near your OB. Only ate there once which I regret. That is the problem with NYC – too much else to eat. Last week my teenage son returned home to say he had eaten a Shake Shack burger with frilly fries and milkshake – we live in London. Shake Shack has crossed the pond and I am heading to the subway to get myself one. Wonder what buns they are using here ?

  56. deb

    Linda — Indeed, I am working on a new cookbook, but that has little to do with the site. What goes in the books are separate recipes; only a few (10 percent or so) overlap what’s been seen here. I think I’m just in overdrive because I know things will slow down after the baby gets here. Also: I just really wanted a burger and milkshake this week. :)

  57. For extra heat, that sauce would be so good with some chili flakes and sambal oelek :D

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! Can’t wait to try it.

  58. Perhaps something gets lost in “translation” when these franchises leave their home countries, as the Shake Shack in Dubai is…well, let’s just say that it didn’t live up to the hype the 2 times I dined there. And everything I ordered disappointed. It’s the same old bland rubbersville burger that you get in most, if not all, of the American franchises we have here. Perhaps this recipe will prove to be an improvement inasmuch as I get to control the quality of the meat and other ingredients that go into making the sandwich.

  59. Wow, this looks delicious! I hadn’t thought of doing that to the buns, but now it seems rather obvious that that’s how the restaurants do it. Will definitely have to give this recipe a shot!

  60. Leigh

    The burgers look awfully tasty. My kids will enjoy them. I’m with Meg on the shroom burger, though. Really delicious.

  61. Jenn P

    Does this method produce a lot of smoke? I’ve almost given up cooking burgers on the stove because my smoke alarm goes off every single time. Whomp.

  62. Gina

    Hi Deb, love your food and want to make this ASAP! One question about the meat…I noticed that you don’t put anything on it? No salt or pepper? No flavoring? Let me know if I’m reading the instructions properly!

  63. deb

    Jenn P — Yes, it’s very smoky and splattery. But they also cook very quickly. You can do all 4 in a big skillet and be done with the cooking part in 5 minutes, tops.

    Gina — The meat is seasoned in the skillet, not before.

    Re, the mushroom burger — When Shake Shack first opened in Madison Square Park, I worked 3 (!) blocks away but was (in further insult to injury, heh) a vegetarian and I only went there once because I was so disappointed in the mushroom burger. It’s not a burger, it was two mushrooms filled with cheese, battered and deep-fried. Maybe that’s just not my thing? It was so heavy and greasy, more cheese than mushroom. I was surprised it wasn’t more innovative. Anyway, I understand if this is blasphemous. Have they changed it since then? Is there some charm about it I’ve missed?

  64. Jill W

    Thank you for this, Deb. I LOVE a very simple burger. I live in Portland, OR, where there are many great restaurants that tout amazing burgers, but I find most of them too rich or too big or so creative they no longer resemble what I consider to be a burger. I can’t wait to try this one – it looks right up my alley!

  65. This is totally amazing and will absolutely be happening in my kitchen soon! I am exactly like you – despise enormous burgers, absolutely love super thin patties. I am so horrified that while I was living just a few blocks from the UES Shake Shack, I decided to experiment with vegetarianism. Now living in Denver my best option is Five Guys, which is good enough on the run, but nothing compares to Shake Shack. Thank you thank you!!!

  66. deb

    Wait, there’s an Upper East Side Shake Shack? I take back what I said in the third paragraph. My current doc is, uh, very very very close. This will be dangerous!

  67. While I do love the shack burger (enjoyed here in Boston, not the NYC version where I’m sure it tastes better), I find myself ordering the Shake-cago dog instead. I know it’s not a real Chicago dog, but I can’t resist the toppings.

    I have to say I think here in Boston, Tasty Burger may be better (ducks from people throwing stuff).

  68. Dusty

    Cast Iron Pan Care:

    New pan– boil some water in it and dump. Several times. Put olive oil 1/4 inch deep in pan and heat to smoking. Use long-handle spoon to keep spreading olive oil on sides. Let cool. Drain, wipe with paper towel. Put a teaspoon of olive oil in pan, spread inside and out and put pan away.

    To cook: wipe pan dry with paper towel. Put (a lot more than seems needed or according to recipe) olive oil in pan, preheat pan, and cook. After cooking drain, wipe, rinse with hot (tap) water, more olive oil and put away.

    To clean dried lumps: Put a tablespoon of Kosher salt in dry pan and scrub with small stiff brush. The stuck stuff will vanish. Rinse and wipe, More olive oil and put away.

    Very soon the cast iron pan will be the best never-stick and best-cooking tool in your kitchen.

    South Beach Diet says olive oil is (almost) a freebie and not to worry about calories or fat with olive oil.

  69. Anne

    I’m so upset. I’m still in my first trimester and meat of any kind makes me vomit. But these look so good! But they’re meat. But… *Sigh* I’ll have to wait a few months, I think.

  70. Deb, I’ve never had a Shake Shack burger, but your rendition of it looks fantastic. I love a good homemade burger made with organic grassfed ground beef. Like you, I don’t want some huge overstuffed burger that requires an unhinged jaw! Wish I had one of these right this minute!

  71. Mel

    Deb the most important reason for me to write is to tell you that you used my favorite word…verklempt!!
    Ok now…these look delicious. I cannot wait to make them this weekend. I hate the giant burgers the size of a human head. Shake Shack has always sounded amazing to me but somehow everytime I am in the city it never quite works out.
    Thank you for another delicious recipe!!

  72. NicM

    I haven’t had any cravings so far during my pregnancy but every time I come to your site suddenly I MUST HAVE whatever you’ve just posted. Looks like some burgers are in the near future!

  73. Lyz

    When I lived in Brooklyn, I used to think it was a long way from Shake Shack. Now I live in Berlin, and this post just got me thinking, what I wouldn’t trade for a short subway ride to get to that burger!

  74. We don’t have Shake Shack in our area, so to be honest, I have no idea about the excitement of this, but your burger looks delish! I can’t wait to try it. I, too, do not like huge, thick burgers and much prefer a thin, crispy type. The sauce looks like it is a perfect topping!

  75. Kristin

    I used to live in Battery Park City right kiddie corner from Shake Shack. It was a weekly occurrence to have a Shack attack. Now that I live in South Carolina, it is a LOT harder to get so I will be recreating this at home thanks to you! It is always on the “must eat” list on our trips back to the city & the first thing my daughter wanted to do when we got to the city recently.

  76. Amen and Hallelujah is right! Like you, I have always avoided those gigantic, oversized burgers that you have to unhinge your jaw to eat lol. It is SOOO nice to read your article and discover it doesn’t have to be like that! I’ll be making these delicious burgers this weekend and will use my grill pan (an awesome substitution for an outdoor grill and you get the super cool grill marks!). I’ll probably serve them with a medium-bodied, juicy red wine like a Zinfandel from California’s Central Coast. Thanks so much for sharing ~ Cheers!

  77. rachel

    I like my shack burger with the iced tea/ lemonade combo. Cannot wait to try these and remember my all too brief stint in your hometown

  78. You don’t have to be expecting to crave these burgers! If I didn’t have a shake shack within a mile of my house, I’d be forming meat “pucks” instead of typing. They look (and I’m sure, taste) like the originals! Kudos, Deb!

  79. Shannon

    I just got back from Las Vegas yesterday and this is perfect timing. There is a Shake Shack at New York NY Hotel (FYI for any west coasters!!) and I hit it up once during my stay. I regretted not going back again…definitely going to try this recipe! PS There is also one in Istanbul, Turkey if you ever make your way out there!

  80. Geri

    You sold me on the burger!! Can’t wait to try it. Anxious to try the sauce sounds very tasty. I use my cast iron skillet to smash burgers so they do not get that bump in the middle. Also the skillet makes for a great garlic smasher. I try not to get carried away and remind myself to turn it over and fry chicken too. :) Thanks for all the great recipes.

  81. La Singe Cynthia

    I made them! YAY ME! (we’re in the middle of starting up of the packing up of a big house to move so cooking is difficult).

    I found instead of two spatulas or even one, I used my big heavy meat pounder and smooshed them down as they sizzled away. The principle of high heat and those pucks keeping the juices inside the burger worked like a charm.

    Now I have to tell you, your fries are SICK FABULOUS!!! I don’t do oven fries but lately (being old) I can’t eat fried food. So I figured, what the heck, I have these big fat potatoes – go for it. Truth – I used way too much really good oil and I had this “monterey” salt mixture I get at one of the big stores and dear God in heaven they were just phenomenal. (I believe with all my heart olive oil is one of the more beneficial things in life so I tend to go overboard with it.)

    I make my own special sauce but I figured doing a Deb Dinner I’d give yours a shot and it was quite good – loved the pickle juice and paprika which I handn’t used before – I got out the hot hungarian – added siracha sauce cause I love the insidious deliciousness of siracha sauce. This special sauce goes on all things needing it like sandwiches and last night I put it on those fries, which did not make me feel ill at all. YAY FRIES!

    It was a grand meal. My husband was pleased as punch at his fabulous out of nowhere meal. A bit of work with the pan toasting the potato buns but well worth the effort in the end. DELICIOUS. Thank you. Now I will get back to being beleagured.

  82. Sara

    I’m a little more pregnant that you (due in two weeks!) and I just want the meal in that first picture ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME NOW. That’s all. :)

  83. JoyL

    This looks like the perfect recipe for our weekend festivities. I don’t live in NYC, but my sister does and my daughters go to college there so I’ve eaten at the UWS Shake Shack. My husband has never partaken in the yumminess (always so many places to eat when visiting) so I can make this for him as a substitute–we can even get the potato rolls here!

  84. Marla Helseth

    Making these tonight and eating outside in the glorious sun. :) Love the sauce! Didn’t have pickle juice so used the juice from anchovie stuffed olives. Yummy! Could eat the sauce by itself.

    Anyway, thanks for the recipe!

  85. Julie

    I work three blocks from the Shake Shack in Center City Philadelphia and my husband and I are making these tonight. A few months ago I brought home burgers from SS home with me for dinner and he nearly cried, so needless to say we are both PUMPED to try these. I already have the sauce ready in the fridge and your buttermilk dressing for the napa cabbage salad.

  86. Catherine

    What kind of steel is keeping me from going to New York? A passport. It’s that little thing about Canada/US security that forbids you from crossing the border without a passport. This resembles a lot the standard burger recipe we ALWAYS make at my house. Glad to know I have taste after all ^_^

  87. Pam Seattle

    Made these yesterday…huge success. We all loved them. I am lucky to have a flat top griddle in my Viking range top. I did place the burger pucks on the grill for 30 seconds and flipped them over so they did not stick to my spatula while smashing.

    One smashing tip: I easily smashed by holding a large metal spatula in left hand on top of puck and held the neck of an empty wine bottle upright in right hand. I pressed down on the the wine bottle on top of the spatula/puck….smashed and voila!

  88. Kristin

    I am definitely NOT pregnant but now, thanks to you Deb, I do have a food baby in my belly right now. Whoa, these were to.die.for. Huge Shake Shack fan (thankfully they’re now open in the Boston area – WHOOT!) but usually wary of any “copy cat” recipes since they always seem to be missing…something. Not these, though, nope, not these. Amazing, wonderful grease-errr, I mean juice-dripping-down-to-your-elbow replicas of Shake Shack burgers. I made ours 1/3rd-pounders and cooked in my Lodge skillet for about 2 1/2 mins per side with the burner on high, as directed. Perfection…just perfection. And the sauce, oh, yes, also amazing, along with the Martin’s rolls (a staple in our pantry). Had a little trouble with the Pommes as they just didn’t want to brown up, but cranked the oven a little higher, gave them a few more minutes and they were the ideal vehicle for any leftover shack sauce :) Thank you for a great fake-it-til-you-make-it meal!

  89. Kate S

    I made these burgers tonight and they were perfect! Soooo delicious. We are going to NYC next month for a few days and I can’t wait to try the real thing. Thanks for another great recipe!

  90. EmilyW

    Made these last night for dinner – big BIG thumbs up. The pickle juice in the sauce is amazing; I want to use the sauce for everything (potato salad, here I come).

    I found I really only needed about a minute per side to get a medium-rare burger and it really smoked up my kitchen… but totally worth it!

  91. Lisa

    These were great. All 4 of us loved them. We do have shake shack in Philly but I haven’t been there. My son said your sauce is better than the original. Of course the 17 year old with the amazing metabolism has tried all the fast food!

  92. Cari

    I made them for dinner tonight and I must say that these exceeded my already high expectations! I pre-made a bunch of burgers to freeze and use as needed.

  93. Holly

    Ha, my husband and I live in NYC, and we’ve stood in many a Madison Square Park line for Shake Shack. Then they switched out the crinkle fries to the shoestring ones, but I’m glad they realized the error of their ways. Now a Shake Shack has opened a few blocks from our place, so we have the luxury of a Shake Burger (with a custard shake, of course…and cheese-smothered crinkle fries) at any time. Although I will definitely need to try making my own!

  94. Tammy

    My husband and I made these tonight for our family! They were fabulous! Loved the crispy outside and juicy inside of the burger. Worth the greasy mess to clean up!

  95. Okay Deb, beyond the fact that the Martin’s bakery is just 90 miles away and the rolls are almost always day-fresh–and we can get farm-fresh ground beef any day–this recipe is perfect. No Shake Shack here in Lancaster (although Five Guys isn’t anything to sneeze at–and we love the peanuts), but this brings it home. Shake Shack is just about the best. Only ones I’ve had to compare with it are the aforementioned FG, Hamburger Hamlets in the DC area, and In-and-Out Burger. Your recipe makes it simple and desirable.
    Thanks. You’ve done it again.
    (Oh yes, and the fries…oh myyy!)

  96. Megan

    My 3 year old went to the ER last night after eating “Brownberry Potato Sandwich Rolls” (I didn’t see the kind of buns you recommended at the grocery store). She’s okay now but I guess is allergic to something in them (she never had food allergies before but my husband has a lot). But otherwise I liked the potato rolls and cooking them in butter, and the sauce made the burger good–otherwise the burger wasn’t too different from how we usually eat them.

  97. Rita

    Ho. Lee. Cow!! You SO nailed this recipe! Made it last night. Won’t ever cook burgers any other way. And that sauce is inspired. Inspired I say! A huge success. What’s so fun about this kind of success is that I get to carry it around with me for at least a couple of days. So, thanks for that too. Btw, for flatten the meat, my Lodge bacon press is the perfect tool for the job. — Whatever parts of this job suck, thanks for getting past them to keep this up for us.

  98. Katy

    WOW. I am new to the blogging community, and I have to say, after reading this post, I will most definitely be keeping up-to-date. I have never heard of the Shake Shack, as I am from a small town in the midwest, but it sounds marvelous. I am a lover of all things beef. Hamburgers being at the top of the list. It is always a struggle trying to find a recipe that make a good burger. This one is a definite must try!! Thanks for sharing, and I will be keeping up with your future posts for delicious ideas.

  99. Kathryn

    Wow, I never thought this would fly. My boyfriend is very attached to his grilled burgers. Plus, it made such an unholy mess I swore “never again”. But then he ate his and said, this is amazing. Please make them again. Okay, will do. Time to buy a splatter screen. [Off topic, sort of, when you go on Food52, check out Kukla, a community member who just won the shore dinner contest. I got lost in a rabbit hole of hers today – so many delish Russian/Jewish recipes, I’ve been bookmarking them all morning!]

  100. Sally

    Thin and crispy burgers are my favorites. Thick burgers, especially with anything but salt and pepper added, remind me of meatloaf. If I want a meatloaf sandwich, I’ll make meatloaf!

    I do love meatloaf sandwiches, too, but they’re totally different from a burger. I think the sauce might be good on a meatloaf sandwich.

  101. Lindak

    These burgers are the new house favorite!! Thanks for the tips on how to flatten. We grilled onions and peppers to top – quite the hit with all 3 kids.

  102. Kelty

    Holy Moly. Made these tonight. Our little picky eater ate a whole one. So. very. good. The burgers are fantastic but the buns and the sauce are the cherries on top (or top and bottom as it were.) We used a spatula and then the potato masher to push it down. Also used the skillet on the charcoal grill to keep the smoke out of the house. It worked great. By the end we just had to cook a tad bit longer as the fire was not quite as hot. So so so good. Thank you!!!!!

  103. YV

    The recipes for the burger and fries were spot on! My family thoroughly enjoyed this, including my Shake Shack enthuiast husband. I wish I didn’t have to clean the kitchen afterwards though. The burgers splattered like nobody’s business. Thank you for another recipe that a winner in my house.

  104. Al

    Made the sauce for our 4th of July burgers and it was AMAZING! Loved Shake Shack but nothing beats homemade grilled burgers. Thank you Deb! Can’t wait to make your fries next time.

  105. Jessica

    Confession: while in Istanbul last week I went to Shake Shack for a baklava, cinnamon & caramel filled concrete. It was delicious! They have two special “local” concrete flavors, otherwise the menu is the same.

  106. Merritt

    Aaack, I almost wish I didn’t know how to make this. Spectacularly good!
    Well, they don’t have Shake Shack here in Norway, so I guess it’s okay to get my fix at home eeeeevery once in a while… right? :D

  107. Kat

    This is why I love this blog — there’s not just yummy recipes, but breakdowns of *why* to use a certain method or ingredient.

    I’m dying to try this, especially that sauce, but I also think that freezer hint will help when I make Ernest Hemingway’s burger recipe.

  108. Lizzie

    Hi! I’m planning to make a bunch of these for a crowd this weekend, any ideas for keeping them warm? I’m currently planning on making them right before people arrive and keeping them warm in a low oven. I’m a little concerned about the meat drying out though. Any tips/suggestions would be helpful.

  109. Allie

    I had this post in the back of my mind when I was traveling and Shake Shack was an option in my terminal in JFK. I had low expectations because I’ve never gotten excited about a hamburger before, but WOW. The burger, the fries, the shake. It’s a very good thing that there isn’t a store in my neighborhood… Thanks for the post, you introduced me to something wonderful!

  110. deb

    Taylor — I don’t think that because they’ve both written about the burgers at Shake Shack, they’ve necessarily copied each other. It’s fairly understood these days that the burgers are 4 ounces, they use Martin’s potato rolls, they smash-griddle the burgers, so most good copycat recipes will be similar… Kenji (on SE) was gathering research by studying and reverse-engineering the burger, which is his specialty, Matt Duckor (on Epicurious) visited and was allowed to take notes — Did Matt copy Kenji’s research? Who knows, but not sure why he would need to if he was allowed to see the process firsthand. As for credit, I made it the way it was shown on Epicurious, full credit given.