Ask anyone about their favorite fast food or fast casual burger and you’ll hear two answers—Shake Shack or In-N-Out. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, Shake Shack’s SmokeShack burger is top tier. The crispy bacon, chopped cherry peppers, and ShackSauce perfectly elevate their top-secret smash burgers.
I’m a huge fan, but the original Double SmokeShack has 870 calories and 57g of fat. My Kinda Healthy Shake Shack SmokeShack copycat has 460 calories and 19g of fat. While you sacrifice a little flavor with leaner ground beef, the beauty of the SmokeShack is the bacon and peppers provide tons of flavor to compensate. I say this as one of Shake Shack’s biggest fans, you won’t miss the original that much.
Ingredients for Healthier Shake Shack SmokeShack Burgers
A great burger, in my opinion, is a simple burger. And that’s exactly how Shake Shack does it. Here’s everything you’ll need to make my version:
- 96% lean ground beef
- salt and pepper
- center cut bacon
- American cheese
- Martin’s potato rolls
- cherry peppers (also known as peppadew or juanita piquante peppers)
You’ll also need to make ShackSauce, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The recipe calls for a half pound of ground beef to make two Double SmokeShack burgers. If you wanted to use a whole pound of ground beef to make four, go for it. You’ll just need to cook in batches.
You’ll also notice my copycat Shake Shack burgers don’t call for reduced fat American cheese. You’re welcome to substitute, but I’d rather get the melting action of one slice of the real deal instead of two reduced fat slices. Some calories aren’t worth giving up!
Making Smash Burgers
If you’re a burger lover, I’m betting you’re all too familiar with smash burgers. They’re super hot right now, and for good reason. I’ll take a thin, crispy burger patty over a thick and juicy burger every day of the week.
In case you’re unfamiliar with a smash burger, it’s exactly what the name suggests—a burger patty that’s smashed in an un-greased skillet or on a griddle and cooked to crispy perfection. It’s the Maillard reaction in full effect, and a thing of beauty.
Cast iron or stainless steel works best for making smash burgers, but a nonstick skillet will still get the job done (see my healthy In-N-Out burgers as proof). Since you’ll be cooking bacon in the skillet first, you’ll want to be sure and drain all the bacon grease away before cooking your smash burgers.
Shake Shack has a special tool for smashing burgers, but I think a square of parchment paper and spatula get the job done just fine. You want to really apply some pressure with the spatula. If you’re using a flexible spatula, use a second spatula (or your fingers, carefully) to press the burgers into thin patties slightly larger than the potato rolls.
Once the burgers are well browned, scrape them off the skillet and flip. Add a slice of American cheese on top of each patty and finish cooking/melting the cheese before assembling your Double SmokeShack burgers.
Kinda Healthy ShackSauce
Like the top-secret blend of beef Shake Shack uses for their burger, ShackSauce is also under lock and key. You can find lots of copycat recipes online that are all pretty close to one another.
I played around with a few ratios and settled on what I think is a worthy low calorie ShackSauce substitute. Here’s what you’ll need:
- light mayo
- sugar free ketchup
- dijon mustard
- pickle brine
- dash of garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper
I modeled my ShackSauce off the sauce Andrew Rea used in an episode of The Burger Show where they made In-N-Out and Shake Shack clones.
If you’re a burger lover, you’ll definitely want to subscribe to this show!
Serving Your Kinda Healthy Shake Shack Burgers
For a true Shake Shack experience, you’ll want to go with crinkle cut fries. I have a recipe for air fryer crinkle cut fries, in case you wanted to make a lower fat option. I also have other copycat recipes like Five Guys cajun fries and Wingstop fries. Or if you’d rather go the colorful fries route, check out my low carb carrot fries or air fryer sweet potato fries.
Want more ideas? Here’s a 21-recipe roundup for what to serve with burgers.
And that should cover it. If you have a recipe question I missed, leave a comment at the bottom of the post. If you try these Shake Shack copycats and love them, I always appreciate recipe reviews!
- 4 slices Center Cut Bacon
- 8 oz Lean Ground Beef (96/4)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 4 slices American Cheese
- 1/4 C (30g) Cherry Peppers, diced*
- 2 Martin's Potato Rolls (or your choice of bun)
- 1 Tbsp (15g) Light Mayo
For the ShackSauce
- 1 Tbsp (15g) Light Mayo
- 1 tsp (5g) Sugar Free Ketchup
- 1 tsp (5g) Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp (5g) Pickle Brine
- Dash of Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and Cayenne Pepper
- Begin by preparing the peppers, ShackSauce, and spreading 1 tablespoon of light mayo on the buns. Set aside and divide the ground beef into four 2-ounce portions (don't over handle or form into balls/patties) and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Once hot, toast the buns until golden brown and set aside.
- Cook the bacon in the skillet until crispy before transferring to a paper towel and draining the remaining grease.
- Place a portion of the ground beef in the skillet and place a square of parchment paper on top. Use a spatula to firmly press down and smash the burger into a thin patty. Repeat for all four burgers.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until a crust has formed on the bottom of each burger before flipping, adding a slice of cheese to each burger, and cooking another 1-2 minutes. (You won't see as much browning as you would with fattier cuts of beef.)
- To assemble the burgers, add the ShackSauce to the top bun, followed by the cherry peppers and two slices of bacon broken in half to fit the bun. Place the two burger patties on the bottom bun and serve.
*Also known as peppadew or juanita piquante peppers.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 Burger
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 460Total Fat: 19gCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 42g