I’m going to Portland in a few short weeks and I am beyond excited! I have my dentist and optometrist appointments all lined up, and I’ve got a checklist of things to fix at my house. I know that those things don’t sound particularly exciting, but still — I’m really stoked to be heading home for a few days!
I’m especially excited because the last time I was in Portland, I was in town for Feast. I didn’t get a chance to run any of the boring errands I listed above because Feast was kinda/sorta crazy/hectic. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it! Because what’s not to love? It’s an amazing food festival hosted by my friends at Little Green Pickle and Bon Appetit magazine. And in addition to celebrating Portland’s (already rockin’) local food scene, other really awesome chefs from around the country fly into the city to cook delicious food for Feast too!
One of my favorite events at Feast is the Sandwich Invitational. Think of it as a giant picnic where the best chefs come in and make you all the sandwiches you could possibly eat. I realized I never shared my pictures from last year, so here we go:
From the top to the bottom:
- A crispy pulled pork sandwich with smoked oyster mayo and cabbage slaw on ficelle bread by Portland chef Ken Forkish (of some of my personal favorite restaurants in Portland, Ken’s Artisan and Trifecta Tavern)
- A kimchee-brined pork burger with sambal mayonnaise, American cheese, and a pickle slaw by Portland chef Dustin Clark (formerly of Portland gems Wildwood and Besaw’s)
- A pulled pork grilled cheese sandwich with Gouda and a spicy pepper relish from Chef Ben Ford of Ford Filling Station fame in Los Angeles (and Harrison Ford’s son, apparently!)
- A bulgogi club sandwich modeled by my friend Rachel and created by Chef Han Ly Hwang of Kim Jong Grillin’, a much beloved Portland food cart
- A homemade Shake Shack slider by Chef Michelle Lopez of Hummingbird High
PS — that is Erlend modeling the sliders. My arm is not that hairy. Or white.
Shake Shack doesn’t currently have a location in Portland, so I was eager to try and recreate them for all my friends there who are missing out (real talk: I am packing Martin’s Potato Buns in my fancy new suitcase). With the exception of halving the recipe to make slider versions, I followed Kenji’s recipe on Serious Eats down to a tee and was impressed by how accurate it was. I had successfully made a Shackburger at home! I’ve included the instructions below, but really, you should check out Serious Eats for the full story. Enjoy!
Bonus Track — Here is a photo of me and my friends Celeste and Molly (who you guys probably already know!) at the Sandwich Invitational afterparty (appropriately called “Pork of Ages”):
- To me, Shake Shack tastes like Shake Shack because of the burger bun. Shake Shack uses sandwich buns from Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, a Pennsylvania Dutch mass bakery that specializes in potato buns. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like them — they’re soft and squishy, yet hearty enough to hold a juicy patty of meat. They have an unmistakeable sweetness and pale yellow color similar to brioche. If you live in the East Coast, you can buy them at pretty much every supermarket. For everybody else, you can order them online (like Steph did!). I used the dinner roll variety to make these sliders!
- Shake Shack burger patties are made using a “smash and scrape” technique. The meat is first patted into a disk, before being placed on an incredibly hot griddle and being smashed with the back of a spatula. The patty is then “scraped” off when it’s time to flip. The trick here is to use a well-seasoned nonstick pan (I used my trusty Finex skillet) and not too much oil. According to Kenji, you want the meat to stick to the pan in order to achieve its flat, sheath-like, and almost crispy crust.
Shake Shack Sliders
- a traditional blender or a handheld immersion blender
- a 10- or 12- inch cast iron skillet
For the Shack Sauce
(makes around 3/4 cup sauce)
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 4 slices kosher dill pickle
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
For the Shake Shack Sliders
(makes around 8 sliders)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 8 Martin's Potato Dinner Rolls, opened but still attached at the hinge (see baker's notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound mix of ground chuck, sirloin, and beef brisket
- kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 slices American cheese, cut into quarters
- 4 tablespoons Shack Sauce (see recipe above)
- 4 leaves green leaf butter lettuce, soft parts only, torn into halves
- 8 small to medium slices of plum tomato
For the Shack Sauce
- In the pitcher of a traditional blender (or a medium bowl with high sides if using an immersion blender), combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 tablespoon yellow mustard, 4 slices kosher dill pickle, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a ramekin and set aside.
For the Shake Shack Sliders
- In a cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons salted butter. One by one, griddle 8 opened Martin's Potato Dinner rolls until both sides get nice and toasted, by placing the inside of the sandwich bun down on the butter and cooking until it's a nice golden brown color. Set aside on a wire rack, opened and ready to receive a patty.
- Once the buns are toasted, prepare the cast iron skillet for the burger patties. Use a wadded up paper towel to brush any leftover butter across the cooking surface of pan. Pour 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in the center of the skillet and rub across the cooking surface of the pan. Place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke.
- While the pan is preheating, make the burger patties. Form the meat into 8 equal disks about 1 inch tall and 1.5 inches wide. It will seem small, but that’s okay! They’re sliders, and you’re going to be smashing them down. Season both sides generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Working one at a time, place one patty in the middle of the skillet (which, at this point, should be VERY hot). Using the back of a heavy, flat spatula, press down on the patty to form a 2 to 3-inch round patty, making sure to be careful and not let it stick to the bottom of the spatula. Cook until a crisp brown crust has formed, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Scrape the patty from the skillet, and flip. Top the patty with one quarter of an American cheese slice. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the patty to one of the prepped Martin's Potato Dinner rolls, placing the patty on the bun bottom side. Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of Shake Shack sauce on the top side; place a slice of tomato and some lettuce on the patty. Close the sandwich and enjoy immediately!
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 for any remaining patties and dinner rolls.
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