Almost Animal-Style Burgers

Raise your hand if you’ve been to In-N-Out Burger. Okay, for those of you who have not: the first In-N-Out Burger was opened in 1948 by Harry Snyder. It was California’s first drive through burger stand and was barely 10 square feet. All the ingredients were bought fresh and all the meals were hand prepared. In 1961 Animal-Style was added to the menu. Customers can request Animal-Style for any burger and they get lettuce, tomato, a mustard-cooked beef patty, plus pickle, extra spread and caramelized onions. In 1963 the Double-Double is introduced, two patties with cheese in between one set of buns. Now, in 2013 there are over 200 hundred drive-throughs and sit down restaurants still run by a family member of the original owner.

Today I am going to share with you a Double-Double Animal-Style Burger. This isn’t the official recipe since that’s a secret, but this will be sure to wow your taste buds just the same. Make sure you bring along plenty of napkins because it can get messy. We had it last night and while everyone else decided to be prissy and use a knife and fork to eat their burgers I used just my hands. In retrospect, I probably should have followed suit and used utensils, but after the first bite it was too late.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for brushing
2 large onions finely chopped
Kosher Salt
1/4 cup mayo
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
2 pounds ground beef (don’t go too lean)
4 hamburger buns split
1/4 cup sliced dill pickles
3/4 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
4-8 thin slices of tomato (Depends on how large your tomato is. I found a monster one and only needed four slices.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup yellow mustard
8 slices american cheese


Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and 3/4 teaspoon of salt, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft. This should take about 30 minutes.

IMG_20130303_193157onions becoming soft and golden

(Oh here’s my secret for eliminating the tears when cutting onions: put the onion in the freezer for about 20 minutes before cutting it, or if you don’t have time for that light a candle and keep it close by when cutting the onion.) If the onions brown too quickly in the pan turn the flame down to low. Once the onions are golden, uncover and increase the heat to medium high. Continue to cook, stirring often, until they are caramelized. This should take about 8 more minutes. Add 1/2 a cup of water to the skillet, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer and stir occasionally until all the water evaporates, about 2 more minutes. The onions can be pre-made up to three days ahead of time as long as they are covered well and kept refrigerated. Just reheat them before using.

IMG_20130303_195659almost completely caramelized onions.

In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, and vinegar then set aside. It should be a pinky orange colored sauce similar to Thousand Island Dressing. My pictures are a little off in color because I use my cell phone as a camera just because its convenient.

IMG_20130303_194353“secret” sauce

Shape the beef into 8 patties about four inches across and 1/2 inch thick. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

IMG_20130303_193145seasoned patties

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Toast the buns on the griddle split side down.

IMG_20130303_193153IMG_20130303_193916toasted buns

Once the buns are toasted spread about a tablespoon of the sauce on the bottom bun then top with a few pickles, some lettuce, 1 or 2 slices of tomato and another dollop of the mayonnaise mixture. Keep the griddle hot while you prepare this step.
Working in batches if necessary, which I did (four at a time), put the patties on the griddle and cook for 3 minutes. While they are cooking spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of mustard on the uncooked side of each patty. Flip the patties and top with one slice of American cheese each; continue cooking for about 2 more minutes for medium doneness.

IMG_20130303_200302mustard cooked patties


Cover 4 of the patties with the caramelized onions

IMG_20130303_200200caramelized onions

Cover with the remaining patties, cheese side up, and sandwich the double patties between the toasted buns.




Happy cooking!


3 thoughts on “Almost Animal-Style Burgers

  1. IN & Out burgers are my favorite and I’ll definitely have to try this recipe out and let you know how they compare. If you are looking for a great beer to go along with these then follow my blog for the best recommendations.

  2. I am going to make these and I am going to eat these. My family and my friends will also eat them and they will look upon me with great wonder and joy and say unto me, “You are truly the lord, great and holy, igniter of charcoal and deliverer of beef.” And they shall rejoice.

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