Fake Shack in the UK


Ever since I saw this blog post from A Hamburger Today about how to make your own fake Shake Shack burger a little while ago I wanted to make one. Even though I had never been to Shake Shack (although in 2003 on a business trip I worked in the Flat Iron for two days without knowing of it’s existence – the horror), seeing the various amazing reviews and images online I needed no convincing of it’s awesomeness (although one day I will taste it’s deliciousness, mark my word). So on one recent Saturday night, I decided to have a go at my own version of the next best thing, the ‘Fake Shack’ burger via AHT (A Hamburger Today, yes I look at lots of pictures of burgers on the internets). Obviously being a Brit I couldn’t get my hands on some of the ingredients, most particularly potato rolls, no idea why we can’t seem to get or make them here in the UK but there you go. Also, nice soft rolls, none of that crusty / sourdough stuff you tend to get this side of the pond in burger joints (the posher ones), which IMHO just fights against the balance of the rest of the burger.

Shake Shackby jeremiah_owyang

However we are blessed with some awesome beef over here, and my local farmers’ market in Stoke Newington has a great range of organic rare breed beef (esp. Red poll beef, which seemingly has great meat to fat ratio), hopefully meaning the subsequent patty will be juicy without drying out to much during the frying process.

Anyway, I gathered all the ingredients together from various outlets and set to work, below is the list of what I required.

The Ingredients
(for one burger)

For the burger patty:

For the buns:

  • 1 Kingsmill soft white bun
  • Some Butter / Margarine

For the rest:


  • American Cheese: 1 Sliced processed neon yellow stuff

Fake shack sauce:

  • Mayonnaise ~ loads
  • Ketchup ~ dash
  • American (Yellow) Mustard ~ dash
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Crushed garlic glove
  • 2 small Gherkins

Rabbit food:

  • 2 leaves of lettuce (iceberg)
  • 2 slices of good ripe tomato


The Process

The sauce:

So first off the magic sauce. I started mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl, in the order above (for the main part AHT suggests the sauce is mostly Mayo). Then came the moment of truth with the sauce, I chopped up two gherkins and added them to the mix, then used a hand blender to blend it into the sauce until it’s a fairly smooth consistency (although some very small chunks remained). I then spooned the delicious mixture into a empty squeezy bottle for smoother application later.


The burger:

I shaped the patties from the excellent red poll beef into squashed balls and sprinkled over a salt and pepper mix during the process, and immediately placed onto a hot griddle. Then I used the suggested ‘smash and scrape technique’ to squash the patty down with the back of a spatula onto the hot griddle, it’s suggested not to use too much oil so that the patty actually sticks a little to the pan, thus ensuring a crispiness to the beef


The assembly:

After giving the burgers about 2/3 minutes each side I placed the sliced cheese on the burger whilst still in the pan whilst the lightly buttered buns are grilling. Then when the buns look nicely toasted I added some sauce to the top half then some lettuce and a slice of tomato. To the other half of the bun I placed the burger. Then it’s simply a matter of adding the two together to make the burger complete. Then nom time!


La nomage:

The sauce was just amazing, with the taste of the pickles and garlic really coming through. To be perfectly honest it’s a little like Big Mac sauce but made with fresh, sharper ingredients. The burger was more that the sum of it’s parts, the lettuce and tomato gave a lovely balance to the richness of the beef and cheese (I know it’s processed but it really is at it’s best on good beef and obviously authentic for the Fake Shack). It was at once soft and crispy, rich and smooth. All in all wonderful, certainly the best burger I have made for myself EVAR, and I’ve made some burgers in my time.


Just look at that fucking burger, look at it.

6 thoughts on “Fake Shack in the UK

  1. Kingsmill roll? Seriously, you have no idea what a Martin’s Potato Roll brings to a burger if that is your substitute. Look up a recipe for brioche buns, or Hokkaido milk bread – that’s a closer match.

    You’re also using the wrong type of pan (flat, not griddle style), never bother adding British tomatoes to a burger as they are far too watery, and the burgers are both too thick and overcooked (Shack do ’em a nice medium rare)

    Finally, don’t buy pre-ground mince – get your butcher to mince specific cuts so you know exactly what is in your burger!

  2. Either use potato rolls or go home. Burgers aren’t the same without a proper potato roll.

    What Rich says is 100% on point. You want a nice thin patty to evenly cook it. Don’t use too much grease or oil because you’ll lose the nice crisp on the meat.

    The problem with European beef in general is the feed. Shack burgers are infinitely better in America. Even if you go to Shake Shack in London the burger doesn’t match American beef.

    The reason is simple, in America we feed our cattle corn whereas in Europe they feed them grass. Sure grass is healthier, but what fun is that when corn fed beef TASTES better.

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