Bring the restaurant to your Home

Sometimes I just want a sloppy, messy and juicy burger. I think we’ve all been there. That commercial advertising the Big Mac or Double Whopper appears on television and the craving arrives, ready to remain until it is satisfied.

Instead of heading out to buy one of their burgers, which may or may not actually be made of beef and is most likely full of artificial ingredients, I head to the store and supply my kitchen with the tools and ingredients necessary to make a burger reminiscent of such restaurant creations. Particularly, the burger I have in mind is one from a restaurant chain not found in Michigan.

Whether or not you have ever traveled to the West Coast, you may have heard of a not-so-little chain restaurant called In-N-Out Burger. Residents of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Texas are lucky. These burger joints can only be found in those five states. It’s a shame, to say the least. Their burgers are to die for.

The hamburger and cheeseburger aren’t much different than any of the other fast food burgers, but there is something about them that seems just a little juicer, crispier and sweeter. They seem more gooey, salty, tangy and savory. Then there is the Double-Double, which as you can imagine, is twice as good with the addition of one more patty. This is what the fast food burger was in the past and should still be now.

Ingredients for a regular cheeseburger are as follows: a toasted bun, a thick cut American cheese slice, a freshly cut onion slice, one beef patty, fresh and crisp lettuce, a plump slice of tomato and spread. The famous “spread” is a variant of a Thousand Island dressing.

Upgrade to the “Animal style,” which can be found on the secret menu – found not so secretly on their website – and the burger becomes something dreamlike. The burger is actually cooked in mustard. Instead of a freshly sliced onion, grilled onions are heaped onto the burger, which functions as a new sweet addition.

Preparing a restaurant style burger at home is easy, and the results are worthy of making this recipe one for the collection. Enjoy with thin and crispy french fries for the perfect restaurant-style meal.


In-N-Out Burger (courtesy of Serious Eats)

Ingredients for two 1/4-pound burgers:

1/2 pound beef chuck

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

1 large onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt

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

Freshly ground black pepper

8 dill pickle chips

2 quarter-inch-thick slices ripe tomato

2 leaves fresh iceberg lettuce, white core removed and torn to bun-sized pieces

1/4 cup yellow mustard

4 slices deli-cut American cheese



1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cook the onions. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until simmering. Add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are well browned. This will take about 15 minutes. Once onions begin to sizzle heavily and appear dry, add 1 tablespoon water and stir. Cook until the water evaporates and onions start to sizzle once more. Repeat this process until the onions are soft and dark brown. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

3. Make the “spread.” Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Stir.

4. Place closed buns in a preheated oven for 2 minutes until darkened and crispy. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until shimmering. Open buns and place them face-down on the skillet. Toast until dark brown around the edges. This will take about 1 minute.

5. Create the beef patties. Form ground beef into four 2-ounce patties, using damp hands and press each until they are approximately 3/16ths of an inch thick and four inches wide. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil to the pan, swirl to coat the entire bottom and heat over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. Add burger patties and cook without moving until well browned and crusty on the first side. This will take about 2 1/2 minutes. While they are cooking, spread 1 tablespoon of mustard on the raw side of each patty with a spoon.

6. Meanwhile, top each bottom bun with the “spread,” 4 pickle slices, 1 slice of tomato and lettuce.

7. Flip the patties 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 the bottom bun. Top with top bun and serve immediately.


Thin and Crispy French Fries (courtesy of Serious Eats)


2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large,) later to be peeled and cut into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch fries

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Kosher salt




1. Soak potatoes in water and vinegar for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a large pot or in a fryer.

3. Peel the potatoes or leave the peel on if you so choose and cut into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch fries.

4. Depending on the heat of your oil, cook the fries. This could take just 50 seconds or up to three minutes. Remember to always be cautious when working with hot oil. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate. Add salt to taste.