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One hamburger patty or two?

I tried The Shake Shack yesterday http://www.shakeshack.com/location/we....
It was very good but no better or worse than the other “gourmet” burger places that have popped up in my area in the last couple of years like Five Guys, Plan B, Jake’s Way Back. What I don’t like about them is most use small patties rather than a single large one (maybe not Plan B). One patty (4-5oz) for a regular burger and two patties for a large. I understand they cook faster this way on a griddle but they invariably come out well done even if you ask for pink, which I prefer. I much rather have one large patty than two. And I like them better char broiled vs griddled like in a pub.Does it bother anyone else? And what about In and Out Burger? I’ve never been. Why are they so beloved? Are they more fast food style like McDonalds or upscale?

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  1. Up here in Canada we have more than a few purveyors of "American style burgers"(griddled,smaller patties) and I think they do a damn fine job of them. We also have plenty of old school char grilled burger(open flame/charcoal large patty) joints, I like em both. It's nice to have that choice..

    1. I consider them different beasts. I like both grilled and griddled. I love In n Out. Always fresh, and a perfect balance of sponge dough bun, meat and fresh perfect veggies. Never soggy, never wrapped in foil like Five Guys. To me it's not an either or.

      A lot of places won't do pink in the middle after the big ecoli mess. It's not that thin patties can't be done pink, I have no problems doing it at home. It's just that at lot of restaurants won't due to liability.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rasputina

        Same here. The Shake Shack experience (ingredients, prep, service) is superior in every way to Five Guys, so to me there's no comparison. Your ratio analogy also holds for sliders like Krystal and White Castle. And on the odd occasion I just want a thick, juicy, medium rare burger, I'll grill one outside. I've lost track of the thick bar/restaurant burgers that didn't taste like anything.

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          I generally judge a restaurant (not fine dining) by how well they make cheeseburgers. We have a cabin and hunting land in northern Minnesota. For several years I compared all restaurant burgers to that served at the nearby truckstop. It closed for a year about ten years ago. The restaurant reopened about three years after the fuel/convenience store operations resumed. The new restaurant, obviously a leased operation, did not serve the burgers I liked so much.

      2. In and Out is more along the lines of Five Guys. I am a big fan of Fudrucker's and Bob's Burgers.

        1. There is no In and Out burger where I live but I visited my daughter in Phoenix during Christmas so because of the reviews I kept reading about, I had to try it. I had the double, animal style (with grilled onions); it was....okay. The burger was cooked fine and tasted okay but it did not blow me out of the water. It was not memorable and to me, it was no better than a big mac.

          I also had the fries; they were crispy on the outside but dry on the inside. I was disappointed in the entire experience. I asked myself what was so great here? Next up, Shake Shack...

          4 Replies
          1. re: Cherylptw

            I completely agree about In and Out. I tried it in Long Beach, California for the first time a few years ago and it was exactly that: just okay. I knew it was different from McDonald's, BK and the others but it didn't wow me so much.

            Shake Shack on the other hand though...I live in NYC and only finally tried Shake Shack this past July after it being open here for so many years. Oh man, that ish is delicious! It's to the point where I'm somewhat addicted to it. I had to stop myself from getting it once a month because it was becoming "not so special". The patties are juicy and amazing. I have no idea how they cook them but they're doing a damn fine job.

            EDIT: I also don't really care for 5 Guys either. I thought those were okay and again better than mass chains but eh. Another local burger joint here in NYC that's amazing is 5 Napkin Burger. That's amazing delicious too, but still not as good as Shake Shack.

            1. re: cornedhash

              Have you tried the shroom burger at shake shack yet? No, seriously. Its rediculous. Thank god my office moved further away!

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Oh god, not yet. I keep getting that delicious smoky burger thing with bacon and two patties. My pants, they need a break!

            2. re: Cherylptw

              Cheryl, I grew up in CA where there was an In n Out, and even as a kid, didn't get the hype. Still don't. Prefer Carl's Jr.

            3. For a fast food restaurant (like Shake Shack etc.) it's not really practical to make 2 sizes of patty. The logistics on a "production line" would become too cumbersome. So for people who want a bigger burger, the simple solution is to offer a double, hence the smaller patty size. Agreed that 1 big is better than 2 small, but I understand why it doesn't happen. I've never had a problem getting the patty rare as ordered, it may be a matter of being insistent and making sure they understood, when taking your order, exactly what you wanted. Don't assume they heard you first time.

              1. If there's one thing I've learned after years here, it's that there are a few categories where people are unbelievably polarized and passionate, and burgers are one of them.

                I happen to prefer thinner griddled burgers and don't care for either thick ones, grilled ones or rare ones. I happen to like In-N-Out quite a bit, consider it better than Five Guys, and consider both to be miles better than McDonalds, but a quick trip through the many Burger threads here will show there are many who vociferously disagree with me on every single point.

                I've never been to Shake Shack but I hear it's pretty good. I'd be shocked if the patties are as large as you describe, but I'll take your word for it. My guess is they are about half that size.

                2 Replies
                1. re: acgold7

                  According to this SS patties are 4oz. raw weight and they are 50% brisket with the balance being chuck and sirloin. In & Out patties are 2oz. while 5 Guys are somewhere in the middle.
                  http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...
                  I too like a small, thin almost steamed burger on occasion like McDonalds & White Castle. Actually, I never met a burger I didn't like as long as here are no additions like green pepper or onions. I wonder if In & Out will ever come to the east coast? Their marketing job is half done. There's plenty of buzz around here (NYC area). We also need some Chick Fil-A franchises around here.

                  1. re: zackly

                    Wow. 2- four oz. patties is impressive.

                    I'm not a fan of the steamed burger, which is why I really don't ever go to Mc Donald's anymore. INO has, to me, a real old-fashioned griddled taste that takes me back to the corner stands of my youth. I like the caramelization without charring you get from a hot, oily griddle.

                    It's highly unlikely you'll see them on the East Coast, although they have expanded to Texas. We can't even get them to move up north to us in Seattle, even though the founders are from here.

                2. In-N-Out has a good ratio of bun to meat. The package as a whole just tastes good. They are more fast food than sit down. Their fries however suck. I don't know what it is about them, but they are never particulary good.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: mike0989

                    Hahaha, maybe the fries "suck" because they are actually fresh cut.........( not cooked from frozen)

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      Actually, I believe their fries are icky because they don't double fry them. I also find them tasteless, and asking for them "well done" to make them crispier still doesn't make them taste like the properly double-fried kind.

                      1. re: PegS

                        If they are using a high water content potato which are cheaper (on the East Coast anyway) they won't get very crispy. Russet potatoes are much drier & crisp up more. Nathan's Famous uses Eastern potatoes and their fries have a creamy interior texture.I like them too.

                        1. re: zackly

                          They use Kennebec potatoes for their fries.

                        2. re: PegS

                          Yeah, I was ordering them light-well for a while. They throw your order back in the fryer for a bit when you do this. They crisp up a little more, but they still suck.

                    2. I enjoy a good hand formed thick juicy burger cooked medium at my local restaurant/bar.
                      For a fast food burger like all the places you mention, I like thin, crispy and greasy burgers and with the exception of one local family owned place where a double cheeseburger (Double Double) is the only burger I order, I never order a double patty burger, always a single.
                      There ain't no In-And-Out burger around these parts, so Five Guys, Shake Shack, etc. and some mom-and-pop shops are what we get for fast food burgers (McD's and Burger King, White Castle etc... are within driving distance as well) YMMV

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gastronomos

                        Hit All American yesterday for the Dieter's Special; Double Double, no fries, no shake :-)

                      2. In-n-Out is fast food, not at all upscale. But they offer a better product with better service than McD. I've been to Five Guys only once and don't see any similarity. They are different styles of burgers.

                        I think the fast food places like In-n-Out and McD use a small patty doubled merely for efficiency. They get two sizes of burgers from one standard patty.

                        I prefer a single patty of 1/4 to 1/3 lb at a sit-down restaurant, but if I want a fast burger I'll get the In-n-Out Double-Double.

                        1. One is plenty. Unless it's the Whataburger chile cheese double. I'd rather have it as a single, but i guess not enough to pull one of the patties off. :-)

                          1. And absolutely charbroiled. I prefer a Burger King burger to most other FF burgers. YMMV

                            1. If i'm having a restaurant burger, I want a single thick burger. I do not want a giant hamburger that is impossible to eat easily. I see the TV shows where they show a burger with five or ten patties and I just don't get it. Frankly, I want most of my burgers to be no bigger than a single 1/3# pattie.

                              1. Two thin patties beats one thick patty. With two patties you are doubling the crispy browned surface area. I'll take more crispy brown stuff over mushy pink stuff in a burger every time.

                                In N Out is a fine burger in my opinion because they pay attention to detail in assembly. The meat is frankly not much better than McD's (or if it is I can't tell the difference) but all the ingredients are layered on so carefully that you get a little bit of everything in each bite, never just a mouthful of dry bread or onion. It's also a pretty sandwich, maybe the only fast food burger I've seen that actually looks like the ad pictures.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                  I think I can taste the difference in the quality of the beef between In n Out and McDonalds/other fast food places. But I agree with you that In N Out's attention to detail is so good and I also think the quality (and turnover) of the produce and buns is so key to their overall excellence. The total burger is just fantastic because of all of the elements.

                                2. I've come to enjoy griddled, single thin patty burgers most. I like the ratio with the lettuce, tomato and onion I get put on them with just the one patty.