Grill Shake Shack Burgers at Your Next BBQ

Since the original kiosk opened in New York’s Madison Square Park in 2004, Shake Shack burgers have (for most of us) become synonymous with delicious quality. Founder Danny Meyer, CEO Randy Garutti and Culinary Director Mark Rosati have built a meat-centric empire that now spans 23 states and 13 countries, with new Shacks popping up all the time.

In 2017, Garutti and Rosati released a recipe book that includes the blueprint for their eponymous burger and almost the exact recipe for their Shack Sauce (hey, they didn’t create a global phenomenon by giving their secrets away).
recipe book

While you may not be able to score their special Pat LaFrieda beef mix or juicy Lucky’s tomatoes, you can serve a few damn close, damn good burgers the next time you fire up the grill using their easy-to-follow recipe.

The Shack Burger

Serves 4

4 hamburger potato buns
1 pound of very cold beef, divided into 4 pucks
8 ¼-inch slices ripe plum tomato
4 pieces green leaf lettuce
4 slices American cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 teaspoons Our Salt & Pepper Mix (½ cup kosher salt with ½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper)
4 tablespoons Shack Sauce (recipe below)

1. Heat a cast-iron griddle over medium-low heat until warm. Meanwhile, open the hamburger buns and brush the insides with the melted butter. A soft brush is helpful here. Place the buns buttered side down on the griddle and toast until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer buns to a plate. Spoon the sauce onto the top bun. Add a piece of the lettuce and two slices of tomato.

2. Increase the heat to medium and heat the griddle until hot, two to three minutes.

3. Evenly sprinkle a pinch of Our Salt & Pepper Mix on top of each puck of meat.

4. Place the pucks on the griddle, seasoned side down. Using a large, sturdy metal spatula, firmly smash each puck into 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.

5. 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 2½ minutes. Slide one of the spatulas beneath the burger to release it from the griddle and scrape up the caramelized browned 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 one minute longer for medium. Cook more or less depending on your preference.

6. Transfer the burgers to the prepared buns and enjoy.

Shack Sauce (close enough)

Makes about ½ cup

½ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon Heinz ketchup
½ teaspoon kosher dill pickle brine
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Put all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.