A real hamburger

It's been a while since I devoted an entire post to one cooking project, but I figure this one might justify a stand-alone entry. I was perusing recipes the other day when Dan, watching over my shoulder, mentioned that he doesn't really like "things that look like burgers but aren't burgers." (This was the recipe in question.) Which was, uh, interesting! Since I do that kind of a lot. But this seemed like reasonable input from the man who ate raw kale salad without blinking, so I thought I'd make him as real a burger as I could come up with: In-N-Out's Double-Double Animal Style, via Serious Eats.

Now, we do not have In-N-Out Burger here in Austin. The first time I heard of it was in law school, when people who had lived in California spoke of it in hushed and reverent tones. I was intrigued! We spotted one during a 2006 trip to San Francisco, but it was closed.

I have an impressive collection of pictures of myself looking sad in front of closed buildings eateries.
My first and only In-N-Out burger was in Vegas in 2008. Exciting! Of course, it was at about 3 am, and followed our patronizing (heavily patronizing) this vodka bar. But I recall it being very good. I (fortunately) couldn't find a picture of that particular meal, but I did find this, from the same trip.

Sorry Honey, it just delights me so.
Anyway, I figured if the good people at Serious Eats went to all the trouble to put together an authentic replica of this storied burger, I should stick as close to the recipe as possible. This meant suppressing a lot of second-nature healthifying instincts. I bought real mayonnaise! I bought hamburger buns that have never even been in the same room as a whole grain. I bought 80/20 chuck, the regular all-American corn-and-antiobiotics kind. But then I ran into some trouble. I couldn't buy a whole head of iceberg lettuce when I only needed two pieces of it. And despite a long internal struggle in the dairy section, I found it physically impossible to put American cheese in my cart.

But I suffer from a particular strain of minutiae-oriented obsessiveness and was tormented by my corner-cutting until I made ANOTHER TRIP TO THE STORE just for iceberg lettuce and American cheese. I sincerely hope to never have a more pitiful grocery run. (Also, when Dan saw the American cheese he made a face and requested cheddar on his.)

At LONG LAST, it was time. I threw myself wholly into the greasy fatty grease-fat of the thing and produced a decent facsimile of a famous burger.

And then I panicked and served it with steamed broccoli.

Anna salutes my effort.