So last night, I finally got around to trying the In-N-Out burger clone recipe found here. I have to say it was a pain in the ass to make and was really messy. That mustard-grilling thing splattered mustard *everywhere*. BUT. They were really good. I think with a few tweaks, we’d have a really viable clone. It needed more sauce and more mustard, but they were yummy and were quickly gobbled up. It’s no wonder In-N-Out wraps theres in paper – our burgers literally fell apart without wrapping. The onions slid off as did the lettuce, but still. Did I mention they were good?
I ground my own beef as ordered, made my own caramelized onions (ahead of time), and did most things the same as the recipe. But I didn’t have the thick-sliced cheese and used regular American slices. I don’t think it made a huge difference, though. The cheese was meltingly delicious as it was. The biggest issue, as I mentioned, was the lack of enough sauce and mustard. The sauce recipe was supposed to serve two, but we had leftovers – which means we didn’t use enough on the burgers. I also felt it needed more of a mustardy flavor. I never realized how that was missing from my previous attempts, but it really was. It lends a lot to the finished burger. I used Trader Joe’s white buns because, for some ungodly reason, our version of Arnold (Oroweat here) buns don’t come in plain old white. WTF… seriously? They only have sesame, potato, and whole wheat. Whatever. Next time, I might even make my own as I’ve heard In-N-Out makes their own and it’s similar to a light brioche bun.
Oh how I do miss the original, though. Nothing beats heading down to In-N-Out and grabbing a double double and fries. If we didn’t just buy a house in Tacoma last year, I think I’d really push for Bryan to get a job in California. Yes, just so we could have In-N-Out again. They are that good. The abundance of Trader Joe’s stores doesn’t hurt, either.
1/2 pound fresh beef chuck with plenty of fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 soft Hamburger buns, preferably Arnold brand
Freshly ground black pepper
8 dill pickles chips
2 quarter-inch-thick slices ripe tomato
2 leaves fresh iceberg lettuce, white core section removed, torn to bun-sized pieces
1/4 cup yellow mustard
4 slices American Cheese
If using a meat grinder: Place feed shaft, blade, and 1/4-inch die of meat grinder in freezer until well-chilled. Meanwhile, place meat chunks on rimmed baking sheet, leaving space between each piece and place in freezer for 10 minutes until meat is firm.
Combine meat in large bowl and toss to combine. Grind meat and refrigerate immediately until ready for use. Handle as gently as possible. Proceed with step three below.
If using a food processor: Place bowl and blade of food processor in freezer until well-chilled. Meanwhile, place meat chunks on rimmed baking sheet, leaving space between each piece, and place in freezer for 10 minutes until meat is firm, but not frozen.
Combine meat in large bowl and toss to combine. Working in two batches, place meat cubes in food processor and pulse until medium-fine grind is achieved, about 8 to 10 one-second pulses, scraping down processor bowl as necessary. Refrigerate ground meat immediately until ready for use. Handle as gently as possible.
Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees while you cook the onions: Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally until onions are well browned, about 15 minutes. Once onions begin to sizzle heavily and appear dry, add 1 tablespoon water to skillet and stir. Continue cooking until water evaporates and onions start sizzling again. Repeat process, adding 1 tablespoon of water with each iteration until onions are meltingly soft and dark brown, about 3 times total. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Make the sauce: Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, sugar, and vinegar in small bowl. Stir to combine.
Place closed buns in preheated oven for 2 minutes until slightly darkened and crisped. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in 12-inch non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until shimmering. Open buns and add face-down to skillet. Toast until dark brown around the edges, about 1 minute total.
Form ground beef into four 2-ounce patties, using damp hands to press each into a patty about 3/16ths of an inch thick and 4 inches wide. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil to pan, swirl to coat, and heat over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. Add burger patties and cook without moving until well browned and crusty on first side, about 2 1/2 minutes. While they are cooking, spread 1 tablespoon mustard on raw side of each patty with a spoon. Meanwhile, top each bottom bun with up half of spread, 4 slices pickles, 1 slice tomato, and lettuce. Flip patties with a thin spatula so mustard side is down and continue to cook for 1 minute. Top each patty with a slice of cheese. Divide onion mixture evenly between two patties. Place the other two patties directly on top of the onions , sandwiching them between the beef. Transfer patty stacks to bottom bun. Top with top bun, and serve immediately.