RECIPE – The Best Canada Day Burgers Ever

Happy (early) Canada Day! Hopefully everyone that follows the blog has been working hard in the gym, and is therefore deserving of a cheat day on July 1st.

Burgers are a hot topic of debate. There is no “best burger” in the world, but there are definitely burgers people seem to prefer more than others. This recipe is  for an In-N-Out / Shake Shack type of burger, which let’s be honest, is the best type of burger (don’t @ me). These burgers involve a simple patty of just meat and salt, American processed cheese, soft bun, iceberg lettuce, special sauce, and perhaps tomato, pickle and onion. The patties are also cooked in a pan or griddle, not the actual BBQ grill. The problem with a BBQ is that all the fat and juices from the burger drip away into the grates. By cooking in a pan, all the fat stays in the pan getting very hot, thus giving a wonderful caramelization to the patty – something you can’t get on a regular BBQ.

If you don’t want to smell up your house or apartment, turn your BBQ on high and throw a cast iron pan directly on the grates and close the lid. This way you can still cook outside and avoid the kitchen smoke out.

Happy Canada Day!


For the patties

  • Ground beef, at least 80% lean, 20% fat (go higher on the fat if you really like to party…)
    • If buying from the grocery store, go for “Regular Ground” or “Lean Ground”, whatever is their highest fat grind
    • If you want to go a bit fancy, hit a butcher shop and ask for ground short-rib, brisket, chuck (or all 3) with maybe a bit of extra fat thrown into the grind. The fat helps keep it juicy and give a better beef flavor.
  • Sea Salt
  • Processed cheese slices (Kraft Singles or similar)
  • Thinly sliced onions (optional)

For the buns

  • Soft burger buns, preferably from Cobs or somewhere else. A crusty, chewy bun will just break apart…. no bueno.
  • If you want to keep it low carb, simply wrap the burger in iceburg lettuce, or “Protein Style” as they call it on the In-N-Out secret menu

For the “Special Sauce”

  • 2 parts Mayonnaise, 1 part Ketchup, 1 part green pickle relish, and a dash of vinegar

For the Toppings

  • Iceburg lettuce
  • Thinly sliced tomato
  • Pickles
  • Caramalized Onions (optional)

For the patties, take chunks of your ground beef about the size of a tennis ball and form into very flat patties. Thinner than you think as they will shrink during cooking. As well, if you’re using ground meat from the grocery store you will want to cook it 100% through (no pink), so a thin patty makes for even cooking. Form all the patties and lay on a baking sheet while you assemble everything else.

To make the sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together and set aside.

Before cooking, make sure all your toppings and other items are ready to go, because these burgers are best assembled right when they get off the grill and eaten immediately. Have the toppings laid out, the cheese unwrapped, the buns sliced in half.

Heat your pan or griddle very hot, and then put a small amount of oil or butter in the pan and spread around with a spatula or paper towel. Immediately press the patties onto the pan and hold down for a few seconds to get a good sear on the patty. Season the raw side with salt, and then allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. If using the onions, take a small pinch and “smush” them into this raw, salted side of the patty.

After 2-3 minutes, flip over so that the onion side is now on the hot pan. Immediately put a slice of cheese on the cooked side, and then top with the top part of the burger bun. While the burger finishes cooking the cheese with melt into this top part of the bun, as well as steam and soften it. Very crucial step…

With the bottom part of the bun, you can toast this if there’s space in the pan, or under the broiler, but it’s not totally necessary. Assemble the ingredients on the bun as preferred, starting with the special sauce, then lettuce, tomato, pickle.

After the cheese has melted and the burger is cooked, take out of the pan and place directly on the topped bottom bun. Proceed to inhale said burger along with many cold Canadian beers.

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