When I lived in Los Angeles, I did my best to sample In-N-Out as regularly as possible and when I took M there in 2009, she fell in love too. Sadly, we now sit at some mock-burger joint eating substitute "burgers" dreaming of the day when we can stuff a juicy, messy Double Double in our mouths and experience true burger ecstasy again. UNTIL NOW!
Many thanks to my co-worker Daune for pointing me to a great article about DIY In-N-Out Burgers. For the past two weeks I've been lusting after these delicious home made burgers and finally we made them! The recipe and procedure are quite simple, but we did make a few minor changes.
M's Extra Toast, Extra Spread (Top) and My Double Double Animal Style (Bottom)
Sadly, we didn't grind our own meat, instead the Golden Eagle provided us with some 80/20 ground beef. Next time I will definitely ground my own. We also left out the tomato. Neither of us really like them and they end up making a mess - and these burgers are messy enough. We also traded the Arnold Brand buns for Eagle bakery buns and iceberg for Boston lettuce.
I started by dicing the onions and getting them in the skillet to caramelize, which took about 15 minutes total. I used a Vidalia onion which browned up nicely and was pleasantly sweet with a hint of tang. While the onions were working, M made the In-N-Out spread and I measured out the meat and pressed down the patties. I found that working with parchment paper between each patty allowed me to stack them for easy transport to the griddle. We used a sharp American cheese from the Eagle deli, Land O'Lakes brand.
I've worked a grill before, but making burgers In-N-Out style is something that requires you complete attention and precision choreography. Sadly, I didn't have the precision part down. The napalm - I mean cheese - burns on my hands prove that. Still it was a valuable learning experience. Next time I'll be ready.
If you choose to make your own In-N-Out style burgers - and I really think you should - make sure you've read the procedure at least twice. Have everything ready and waiting - which is sorta hard given you need to cook the burgers and the buns on the griddle, plus the buns need a nice dose of spread before you lay the burgers to rest. It's a bit of a rush, but it's definitely doable with some coordination.
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How did they taste? The cheese, onions and pickles were right on. The spread was amazing. I can't say for certain if it was In-N-Out spread, but I don't honestly care; I'd eat it with a spoon. If there was a low point, it was the beef. Maybe it was the Eagle ground meat, maybe I didn't add enough salt and pepper, but it was a little flat. I also had the griddle set too low when I dropped the burgers, they didn't get a good GBD crust.
So they might not be perfect In-N-Out copies, but it was the best burger I've had in a very long while.