Have you ever had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful state of California? We went a couple years ago to see my mother-in-law in Ventura, and had the time of our lives! Everything that you’ve heard about it in books, movies, and television – is completely true. Gorgeous weather, sweeping vistas, sprouts galore, and rubbing elbows with movie stars…
Okay, maybe it was more like standing in line behind them at Magic Mountain, but whatever. For the record, Breckin Meyer is just as cute in person. We had a great time visiting the LA Farmer’s Market and Grand Central Market (very ethnic. Lamb head, anyone?), Pink’s Hot Dogs and all the other cheesy Hollywood stuff, the pier at Santa Monica, and of course no California trip would be complete without a trip to In-N-Out.
They are a small burger establishment, that has a bit of a cult following. And, for good reason. Their menu is limited; burgers, hand-cut fries, and shakes. If you’re looking for a chicken sandwich, salad or a Happy Meal, you won’t find it there. Nothing is frozen – everything is prepared fresh to order. They also have a “secret” menu, with things that are not found on the ordinary menu. One of which, and probably the most popular, is the “Animal Style”. A homemade special sauce similar to Thousand Island, dill pickle slices, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mustard – which is seared directly onto the burger patty on the grill, and the pièce de résistance, plenty of grilled onions. “Double double” refers to two beef patties, instead of one. In the past few years, they’ve branched out to a couple neighboring states – but nowhere near here! I read their rule of thumb is it has to be within a day’s drive of corporate headquarters?
At any rate, I was in love – ate as many as we could before we had to return to the East coast. We came home, and I turned up pregnant a month or so later. Biggest craving of that pregnancy? You guessed it! Thankfully, the good people at Serious Eats had done a whole writeup about it. I bookmarked it, but never got around to making it. Last week, Maya at Alaska From Scratch posted them and it jogged my memory. I rearranged the menu plan for the week to make room for these burgers, and am so thankful that I did. They were spot on! Going down in the recipe books for sure. While I can’t wait to get back to California for everything else under the sun, at least I’m not wanting for In-N-Out anymore!
“Animal Style” Double Double
makes 2 double cheeseburgers
For the sauce:
2T + 2t mayonnaise
2t sweet pickle relish
1/2t distilled vinegar
For the onions:
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp canola oil, for frying
For the burgers:
1 lb ground beef, formed into four 1/4 lb patties
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 slices American cheese
8 dill pickle chips
1 tomato, thickly sliced
Iceburg lettuce leaves, torn into bun size pieces
Hamburger buns, no seeds, toasted
For the sauce, combine ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside (or cover and refrigerate until ready to use).
For the onions, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions, coat with oil and salt generously. Cook, stirring and tossing often, adding small amounts of water (1T at a time) whenever onions appear to be dried out (you’ll need to add water several times). Cook 10-15 minutes until onions are very soft and browned. Set aside.
To make the burgers, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Toast the interior of the buns in the hot pan. Place into a 200 degree oven to keep warm. Season the patties with salt and pepper. Place into hot pan. While they cook on the first side, spread 1T of mustard onto the raw sides of the patties. Flip. Place a cheese slice on each patty. Remove patties from pan when cheese is well melted and burgers are cooked through.
To assemble, on the bottom bun, spread a generous amount of the sauce. Top with 4 pickle chips followed by tomato and lettuce, then burger patties. Place the grilled onions directly on top of the cheese. Complete with top bun and serve.