I Asked 4 Chefs What Their Favorite Fast Food Cheeseburger Was and Their Pick Was Unanimous

Have you tried it?

<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios/Allrecipes</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios/Allrecipes

Options abound in the wide world of hamburgers. Whether you like them beefy or vegan, restaurant-style or backyard barbecue-approved, we’ve got plenty of burger recipes for you to try. We’ve even stretched the boundaries of what qualifies as a burger, taking inspiration from beef Wellington, chicken Parmesan, and even Thanksgiving leftovers.

But when it comes to one category of burger—fast food cheeseburgers—many of us are usually looking for the same thing.

Priority number one? The meat. According to Jim Perillo, executive chef at The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York, the beef should always be fresh, not frozen, since “frozen patties tend to be dryer. They lose moisture through the thawing process. Pre-cooked frozen patties that have been sitting also leave much to be desired. Nothing beats a fresh burger,” he says.

The best burgers are well-seasoned and rocking a satisfying “crust,” adds Dominic Iannarelli, chef-owner of Prime & Providence in West Des Moines, Iowa. This usually comes from being grilled, smashed, or seared.

Caroline Chambers, the Carmel Valley, California-based author of the Substack and the cookbook "What To Cook When You Don't Feel Like Cooking" chimes in with a vote for a thin patty, which allows for “a perfect balance. I basically want equal parts cheese to patty to bun.”

As for that bun, it better not distract from the real star of the show, says Dan Pelosi (aka @grossypelosi), a New York-based recipe writer and New York Times bestselling author of "Let's Eat: 101 Recipes to Fill Your Heart & Home." It should be soft so it’s able to “hug the burger,” Pelosi says, but toasted to stand up to any sauces.

When it comes to the toppings, less is more. Every topping should have a reason for being invited to the party, Iannarelli says.

Overall, a good clue that a burger is high-quality is the fact that it’s one of few sandwiches on the menu, Pelosi continues. “The sign of a confident burger is when she is not afraid to be one of the very few options available.”

<p>Courtesy of In-N-Out Burger</p>

Courtesy of In-N-Out Burger

So after hearing all of those criteria, which fast food burger comes out on top? In-N-Out's Double-Double Animal Style.

Described by the chain as featuring two 100% American beef patties, lettuce, tomato, pickle chips, grilled onions, the brand’s “special sauce” (their riff on Thousand Island dressing) and a soft bun that comes toasted by default (although you can ask for it “no toast”), this not-so-secret menu item checks all the boxes.

“It stands out due to the quality of the patties and balance of toppings. This is especially noticeable when ordered with two or three patties,” Iannarelli says.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of “animal style,” this means that the beef patties are “mustard-fried,” or grilled with mustard on them, “which is something I do at home as well to add extra flavor,” Pelosi says.

But the mustard doesn’t mask the flavor of the beef. As we mentioned in our deep dive into what makes In-N-Out burgers unique, In-N-Out grinds their own 100% USDA ground chuck for their signature thin smash burgers. Each location gets a shipment daily of the never-frozen beef, In-N-Out's president Lynsi Snyder told “Forbes” in 2018.

While the quality of the meat is the top reason why this burger is “perfection” for Pelosi, the fact that every element on the burger is fresh is what captures Perillo’s heart.

“On top of using the freshest ingredients, In-N-Out’s staff training is excellent. Their restaurants are always clean and their staff is always smiling,” Perillo says. “I only wish they would come to New York.” (Unfortunately, that's unlikely, per the newest expansion announcement by In-N-Out's CEO.)

You need not wait until a location of the fast food franchise opens up in your neck of the woods to enjoy this chef-approved burger. Last year, we tested and perfected a Copycat In-N-Out Double-Double Animal Style Burger so you can have one any time, any place.

According to fans who’ve ordered from In-N-Out then tried our copycat recipe at home, “This a smashing hit,” and “You won't be disappointed.”

While you won’t exactly be “in and out” of the kitchen, it takes only an hour to make four double-doubles. Most of this time is dedicated to the caramelized onions, so if you happen to have some left over from another recipe, you’re well on your way.

Start by stirring together the special sauce ingredients: mayo, ketchup, relish, sugar, and vinegar. Then warm a mix of butter and oil in a nonstick skillet. Add a mountain of chopped yellow onions, and allow them to melt into their golden-brown, tender, jammy glory, which should take about 30 minutes total.

Next, you'll make and cook the patties, then assemble the burgers. Our recipe calls for soft, toasted hamburger buns, but Pelosi suggests a potato roll. Once you're finished, dive into your own best burger, relishing the fact that no drive-through trip was required.

The only thing missing? A side of fries. Animal style, if you like (we do!).

Read the original article on All Recipes.