I just couldn't get it out of my head. "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese... pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun." It kept singing brightly in my head, until I couldn't STAND it! This happens to me, sometimes. The siren call of a sweet, sweet burger. It just won't rest until I re-create it. So I did. I made a miniature Big Mac, aka The Mini Mac. I did the best I could to be consistent with the ever popular McDonald's sandwich, but I did leave out the sesame seed bun. I just couldn't find one in a small enough size that looked right. No big deal, they came out really, really nice. So delicious in fact, that I ate two of them. Hey, they're mini after all. I also came across an AMAZING recipe for scratch-made American cheese, and let me tell you... it BLOWS DOORS down on that packaged, plastic crap they sell you in the store. Don't forget the golden, crispy fries!
Make your own American Cheese:
1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin
1 Tbls water
12 oz. Colby cheese, shredded fine (about 3 cups)
1 Tbls whole dry milk powder
1 tsp kosher salt
⅛ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let it bloom for about 5 min. Line a small loaf pan, about 4" x 5", with plastic wrap, leaving extra plastic wrap enough to fold over and set aside.
Add the shredded cheese, salt, milk powder and cream of tartar to a food processor, and pulse to combine. Heat the whole milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat and whisk the gelatin into the hot milk, until well combined. Pour the hot milk mixture into the food processor as it's running, and mix until smooth and creamy.
Quickly scrape the creamy mixture into the prepared loaf pan, and press and smooth it out using a spatula. Cover with overhanging plastic wrap, and place in fridge to chill for at least 3 hours. Preferably you should slice the cheese with a cheese slicer, or unflavored dental floss.
Next prep the burger patties:
- 1 lb 15% or 20% fat ground beef
- kosher salt and pepper
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Place meat in a bowl, and season liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Apply a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and lightly mix. Form into 1 1/2 ounce balls, and smash into a round mold, to form a tight, circular patty. Let formed patties chill in fridge, layered between sheets of waxed paper, in order to place in the pan more easily.
Make some "Special" sauce:
- ½ cup mayo
- 2 Tbls French salad dressing
- 1 Tbls sweet pickle relish (I chopped up some gherkins)
- 2 tsp honey mustard
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, covered and let chill for at least an hour.
Time to build the baby burgers.
- Reserved Special Sauce
- Reserved burger patties
- a few slices of American cheese (home-made)
- slider buns, with additional "middle bun"
- 1/2 small onion, finely diced
- shredded lettuce
- dill pickle slices
Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and season one side of each patty with a little salt and pepper. Add a little oil to the pan, and sear the patties, seasoned side down, for about 2 min. Season the opposite side of each patty with more salt and pepper, and flip over to sear for another 2 min. Add a slice of cheese to the patties, to melt just slightly. Toast the buns, and get ready to build them up!
Start with the bottom bun, and slather a little "special" sauce on it. Place a few slices of pickles on top, and then some shredded lettuce. Top with one cheesy patty, a little diced onions and place the "middle" bun on top. Then, add a little more sauce, and some shredded lettuce, then another patty. Top the patty with some more diced onions, and place the top bun, again slathered with a little more sauce, on top and VOILA! Serve with crispy shoestring french fries. Ohhh man.