“The Bi-Coastal Burger” – Shake Shack AND In-N-Out In One Bite!
Coastal elitism has bred a persistent dispute between East and West: Which side produces the best cheeseburger? As a newly bi-coastal person, I’m tired of having the same “My Cheeseburger is Better than Your Cheeseburger” argument over and over. It seems to me that burger preference is as politically contentious as Red v. Blue government. I’m not even going to TRY to change anyone’s stance in the matter.
So instead of doing one more pointless showdown of the two obvious candidates (the classic In-N-Out Double-Double vs. the New Yorker equivalent, Danny Meyer’s obsessively-crafted ShackBurger), I’m going to perform an experiment that will either be derided as sacrilege… or will be lauded for finding common ground between two warring factions.
My method isn’t original but it IS simple. A few years back, “The McGangbang” became an Internet talking point. It’s a crude phrase for home food engineers putting a twist on an otherwise predictable trip to McDonald’s. Split open a McD’s double cheeseburger and throw a McChicken in the middle. Bun-beef-bun-chicken-bun-beef-bun. Gross, awesome and fun. Let’s apply the “McGangbang” method here.
I will combine the Double-Double with the ShackBurger in an attempt to integrate the best from West Coast with the jewel of the East. I’ve chosen the structural order and contents of this sandwich based on the following criteria; home court advantage, cheeseburger structure, and patty weight.
As I’m in L.A., In-N-Out will have the privilege of providing the top and bottom components of this creation. Moreover, my standard order at In-N-Out is definitely a “Double-Double, animal style.” At Shake Shack, on the other hand, I believe you’re best served by ordering the classic ShackBurger. Also, I think that the two patties of the Double Double probably match the larger mass of a ShackBurger. I’m not busting out the scale for this, I’m going by gut.
My girlfriend and I first went to the In-N-Out drive-thru, then raced to the nearest Shake Shack, trying to maintain as much of the fresh-from-the-grill glory as we could.
Sandwich assembly was simple. We opened up the Double-Double and carefully inserted the ShackBurger. We then sliced the resulting tower of cheeseburger-goodness in half, for ease of consumption. I felt like a madman, about to break the space-time continuum. As the moment grew nearer, I worried that I might ruin two icons of cheeseburger greatness forever. We leaned in to take a bite…
Full disclosure: I like In-N-Out but it isn’t my absolute favorite fast food burger. I’m really more of a Five Guys fan. Blasphemy for an Angeleno, I know… but I DID grow up in Texas so I don’t have that childhood association. That said, I do agree with the widespread opinion that you won’t find a FRESHER burger in L.A.
This is my first ShackBurger (!) so I’m going to taste this one as a stand-alone before I try the combination.
The first thing I notice is that the patty is well seasoned. The second point in its favor is the tasty potato bun. Right up my alley! Comparing the two, I like the ShackBurger better… but I prefer the sauce on the Double-Double.
Upon tasting the ShackBurger-inside-a-Double-Double, all I can think is; “This is great. It tastes just like Whataburger.” I go back in to fish out the pieces of the ShackBurger bun that have soaked up that In-N-Out Sauce.
Pure joy overwhelmed me. An explosion of flavors and textures, working in harmony to create what I will call the world’s best cheeseburger. The nuance of both potato AND regular hamburger buns, the onions, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and animal style sauces. All of it together. Each ingre=dient working in complete harmony.
I am proud that Havva and I have cut our own trail. We are, presumably, the first two people to eat both In-N-Out AND Shake Shack in one bite. More people have been to the moon or the Mariana Trench.
“The Bi-Coastal Burger” is born.
Sadly, In-N-Out has not yet arrived on the East coast, so I’ll use this space to make one more impassioned plea for the chain to figure out their freshness-range dynamics to include the rest of the country. I dream of an America where this 1220 calorie meat explosion is available in every major metropolis and where cheeseburger/coastal supremacy is a conversation of the past.
Co-Written by Havva Eisenbaum