How to Make Halal In-N-Out Double Double Animal Style Burgers At Home

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When I first drove past an In-N-Out Burger while vacationing in California, I became sad.

In-N-Out is not Halal. Chances are, it never will be. So as a Muslim, there just isn’t any way I would be able to eat what is considered American’s favorite place to get burgers, has cult-like followers and even top authorities in food obsess over. I frowned.

But not for very long. Because as soon as I pulled away, I realized I could do something when I got home. Make my own In-N-Out burgers using Halal meat. I’m talking real deal In-N-Out burgers, made Animal Style, with Animal Sauce. Fully Halal.

Yes it’s doable, and I’m going to show you how.

The famous burger is actually pretty simple. It’s griddled double cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickles. What make it unique is the Animal sauce, caramelized onions, and a special cooking procedure of frying the burger patties in mustard right on the hot griddle. There are guides that have figured out how to do this, and we’ll be following one here.

The trick for Muslims, though? Getting the right beef from your average Halal butcher. They can be difficult to work with which may prove to be a problem, especially since the meat is the most important part of a burger. But it’s doable. I’ve done it before ordering from multiple butchers across multiple states, and I will show you how.

Ready to experience the legendary burger in a fully Halal manner right in your own home? Bismillah.

Step 1: Order the right beef from your Halal butcher

[Photography: Saqib Shafi]

[Photography: Saqib Shafi]

The first order of business is getting the same type of beef used at In-N-Out restaurants. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats figured out in his guide on making homemade In-N-Out burgers which we are following here. He figured out the restaurant uses beef chuck (shoulder) with an ultra flavorful 60/40 ratio of lean beef to beef fat.

Personally, I feel this is too fatty, as most of it will render off into the skillet. So, I prefer 80/20, instead. But how in the world can you ask for that at Halal butchers where it can be very difficult to order meat for American cuisine?

Simple. Just ask for:

  • Fatty beef. Beef chuck (shoulder) is best, but if they don’t have it, any cut will do really. The fat is what’s most important. Do not go leaner than 80/20.
  • Ground fresh. Avoid the pre-ground stuff for burgers; have a whole piece ground fresh for you.
  • Ground twice. To more evenly disperse the fat throughout the grind.
  • Medium grind. Instead of using the fine or coarse grind dial, ask them to use the medium one.
  • Packed regularly. For regular or large sized patties, you want the meat to be loosely packed in the bag. For the smaller In-N-Out, a regular pack-job is just fine.

When you bring it home and take it out of the bag it should be fresh, full of fat throughout the entire grind, and ready to rock.

Step 2: Caramelize the onions

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The sweet, deeply flavored onions are a huge part of what makes the In-N-Out burger so good. It’s simply a chopped onion cooked down until it converts its starches to sugar and literally caramelizes in the pan. These not only add sweetness, but great onion flavor without the bite from when they’re raw.

Step 3: Form the patties

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At In-N-Out, Double Double means two small patties topped with two slices of cheese. Weigh out 2-ounce portions of meat and shaping them into flat, wide patties. If you don’t have a scale, each patty will be about 1/4 cup of loose ground beef. Just make sure they’re nice and wide, and try your best to keep it cold without mashing up the beef too much. The formed patties can hang out in the fridge for a bit.

Step 4: Prepare the bun build before cooking

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The Animal Style burger has a special cooking procedure, so it’s key to have your burger build assembly ready before you cook the patties. With the patties shaped, prepare the burger build.

  • Classic white burger buns, toasted and broiled
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles
  • Animal Sauce, which is a super easy mix of mayo, ketchup, vinegar sweet pickle relish, sugar, salt, and black pepper

The American cheese, caramelized onions, and mustard are ready on standby for the next step when the burgers are cooked.

Step 5: Cook the patties “Mustard Fried”

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This is something that takes burgers over the edge at In-N-Out. As the patties cook on its first side, classic yellow mustard is squirted onto the raw top side. Once they flip the patty to cook the second side, that yellow mustard goes directly onto the hot cooking surface. The beef then gets fried in the mustard. Even if you don’t like yellow mustard, you have to try this. It seriously elevates your burger to a new level and you’ll wonder why you ever made burgers without it.

Step 6: Top the patties with folded cheese and onions

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In-N-Out folds their cheese a bit before placing them on the flipped burger patties. This minimizes the amount of cheese that melts out onto the griddle and keeps more of it on the patties. Once you add your cheese this way, spread a generous spoonful of caramelized onions on half the patties. You’ll see why.

Step 7: Assemble it all together “Animal Style”

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As soon as the cheese is melted, top the patties onto the prepared bun build, caramelized onion patty first, then the other patty. This is the final touch to the Animal Style mantra. It’s not just a double cheeseburger. It’s a double cheese burger with ultra sweet caramelized onions in between. Allahu akbar.

The finished burger is, well…

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You know how Allah says in the Qur’an, “so let man look at his food,” (80:24) to acknowledge His existence by way of reflecting on the food He gives us to enjoy? Well, look at this beauty. Like all burgers, it’s made with beef, milk, grains, and vegetables. But that the fact that we can take those provisions and make them into a burger like this? That is what you call provision from God. This burger is not only amazing, it increases your iman (faith). Well, at least for me, anyway.

Does it taste like the real deal? While I can’t say myself, I served it to someone who’s had the original and said it tastes exactly like In-N-Out. And the reviews for Kenji’s original recipe say much of the same. So, yes, it tastes like the actual burger from people who’ve already had it. It helps to serve it with some Animal Style fries made with some extra American cheese, Animal Sauce, and caramelized onions, too. And to think, you didn’t even have to go to California.

The next time I do, though, I won’t feel so sad when I drive past an In-N-Out Burger. Not only can I make their most popular burger in a totally Halal way at home, I’ve shared how to do it with so many other Muslims.

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That’s enough to crack a smile and keep on driving.

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