Homemade Big Macs
2 pounds Niman Ranch ground chuck or other high-quality beef. (Or, go all the way and grind your own meat. Try using Brisket.)
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
3 fresh pickles, sliced thin
8 hamburger buns
5 ounces organic mild cheddar, sliced thin
1 large shallot, minced
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup portions
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar, separated
1/2 cup organic ketchup (Happy Girl, if you can find it)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons sweet relish
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Paprika
In a large bowl, beat together egg yolk, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Take a kitchen towel roll it into the shape of an “O.” Place your bowl on top of the towel – this will prevent it from moving around when whisking the aioli. While whisking, add a few drops of olive oil. Keep whisking, and add a few more drops. And a few more. When your sauce begins to thicken, add olive oil in a very slow stream, whisking constantly. Your arm should hurt at this point. When all of the olive oil is incorporated, taste for salt, and add last teaspoon of lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, whisk together ketchup, sugar, minced shallots, 1 tablespoon sweet relish, 1 tablespoon vinegar, paprika and a pinch of salt. Whisk in ½ cup of olive oil in a slow stream.
Slowly add the French dressing to the aioli. Stir to combine, and taste as you add the dressing – you may need not all of it. I had about 2 tablespoons of the French dressing left over. Garnish with a pinch of paprika on top.
Season your chopped meat with salt, pepper and olive oil and separate into 8 patties. Cook them on the grill or on a cast iron skillet for a few minutes per side, adding the cheese at the last minute so it melts.
Assemble the burger
Start with the bottom bun, add special sauce, shredded romaine, a cheesy burger and a couple of pickles. Stop here or add the second layer… Take the bottom of a second bun and slice it down the middle. This thin piece will be your middle section. Add it to the burger, and again top with special sauce, lettuce and pickles.