David’s Big Twin Double Cheeseburger

David’s Big Twin Double Cheeseburger

This is not just an ordinary double cheeseburger. This is David’s version of Hardee’s Big Twin Double Cheeseburger.

The grilled double beef patties are smoke-kissed and smothered in creamy American cheese. Topped with a tangy sweet sauce with crisp crunchy lettuce, making for a glorious bombardment on your taste buds. 

With one bite of this Big Twin Double Cheeseburger David was transported back to 1986, eating a Hardee’s Big Twin.

David having a foodgasm after biting into big twin double cheeseburgr
Can you say Foodgasm, boys and girls?

The combination of the amazing charcoal flavor, the tanginess of the sauce and crisp lettuce are what sets this double cheeseburger apart from McDonald’s Big Mac

I sure wish I had had a Big Twin when I was going through my weird kiddo Big Mac phase. I know it was better because of those char-broiled patties.

Ever since I made the first batch of Homemade Thousand Island for our pastrami sandwiches last year, David has been begging me to make some more so that he could recreate a copycat version of this burger that he fell in love with all those years ago and has never forgotten.

David going in for a bite of the big twin double cheeseburger

How To Make David’s Big Twin Double Cheeseburger

The key components that make up this Big Twin Double Cheeseburger are the “special sauce”, double beef patties, cheese, lettuce, and the bun. Let’s break each of them down so you can get a better understanding of the flavor and texture.

Thousand Island Dressing in serving jar

The Special Sauce for the Big Twin Double Cheeseburger:

The sauce that was on Hardee’s Big Twin is comparable in taste to Thousand Island dressing, so that is basically what we used. However, we made ours from scratch.

For best flavor, make the Thousand Island dressing ahead and wait 24 hours. This gives the onions time to soften up and the flavors will meld and become richer. 

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl using a whisk. Mix well! Transfer the dressing to a jar or airtight container with a lid. Store in the refrigerator until needed.

For a sweeter tangier dressing, add a little more pickle relish, if desired.

Read more about Thousand Island Dressing HERE.

The Double Beef Patties:

Fat equals juiciness and flavor! This is why the lean-to-fat ratio in ground beef is critical. If you want a good burger, 80/20 is definitely the way to go.

In a large bowl, pull the meat apart into small chunks, season with salt and pepper, to taste and toss gently with fingers spread apart until loosely mixed. Using wet hands, form 8 equal ¼ pound beef patties gently pressing them to be about ¼ to a ½ inch thick. 

Using your thumb, make a dimple in the center of each burger patty. The burgers will shrink and pull in as they cook. The dimple will even out as the burgers cook. After cooking, this results in a burger with a nice uniform shape.

Remember, it’s important not to overwork the meat while forming the perfect patties. The more you handle the meat, the tougher your burger will be. 

beef patties cooking on grill

When the grill is ready, lightly oil the clean grill grate and place the patties on the grate. Allow a few flames to lick the meat undisturbed and then cover the grill with the lid. Grill the burgers until the underside is semi-charred and brown; about 3 to 4 minutes. 

Use a spatula to flip the burgers. Grill until the other side is brown; an additional 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. 

Insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the center of the burger. At medium-rare, the thermometer should register 130 to 135 degrees F and the burger will have a deep pink color.

If the burgers are not ready, cover the grill, let them cook for another minute and test again.

If you like your burgers cooked medium you’re looking for a temp of 145 degrees F and are looking for to reach 160 degrees F for well done.

Done Temperatures For Hamburgers:

  • Rare burgers (120 to 130°F)
  • Medium-rare burgers (130 to 135°F)
  • Medium burgers (135 to 145°F)
  • Well-Done burgers (160°F)

NOTE: For food safety, the USDA recommends a minimum done temperature of pre-ground hamburger is 160 degrees F.

american cheese on burger

The Cheese:

For this Big Twin Double Cheeseburger, only American cheese slices will do. American cheese is mild and as much as we hate to say it this creamy processed cheese melts like no other! I try my best to help our recipes stay clean, but sometimes I bend the rules for taste and results.

The Lettuce: 

For a “Big Twin”, it is important to use shredded iceberg lettuce. Shredded iceberg lettuce is used for flavor, for structure, and for that cold crispy crunch. It doesn’t get as soggy as whole leaf lettuce and it gives this double cheeseburger texture and balance.

Shredding lettuce also allows the “special sauce” to ooze down onto the burger and adheres the lettuce to the burger so it doesn’t fall out with each bite.

The Buns:

The hamburger bun you choose is just as important as the meat that goes in between them. The bun is what encompasses all of the components of your burger and allows you to eat with your hands. The buns scoop everything up off the plate and into your mouth.  

For these burgers, we used toasted sesame seed buns about the same size as the burger. It’s important to choose a nice soft, shapely bun that is equal in proportion to the burger you plan to put inside it.

There’s nothing worse than trying to chase a burger around the inside of a bun or ending up with a hand full of soggy bread. Toasting the buns not only brings out the flavor of the bun, but it gives the bun a firmer structure and helps prevent it from absorbing too much moisture.

Toast the buns by splitting them open and placing them on the grate cut side down. Grill them until they are lightly golden brown; about 10 to 15 seconds. 

When toasting the buns on the grill, make sure you keep a close eye on them and don’t let them get too brown or it will affect the overall texture of the soft bun.

During the last 30 seconds to one minute of cooking, place a slice of American cheese on top of each patty. While the cheese is melting, toast the buns by splitting them and placing them on the grate cut side down until light golden brown; about 10 to 15 seconds.

Big Twin Double Cheeseburger on plate with mountain view

So there you have it, a burger so good that it lead a man to recreate it 33 years later. Now that’s a good cheeseburger!

We hope you will fire up the grill and try one of David’s Big Twin Double Cheeseburgers. May this recipe takes you back or makes you fall in love for the first time.

David's Big Twin Double Cheeseburger
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David’s Big Twin Double Cheeseburger

David's copycat recipe of Hardee's Big Twin Double Cheeseburger. Grilled beef patties nestled on a sesame seed bun with cheese, special sauce and lettuce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Grilling
Keyword Burger, Double Cheeseburger, Hamburger
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 911kcal
Author David & Debbie Spivey

Ingredients

For The Burger

  • 2 pounds ground beef 80/20 or ground chuck
  • Kosher salt and Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 8 slices American Cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • ¼ cup Thousand Island Dressing Preferably Homemade (recipe below)
  • ¾ cup iceberg lettuce finely shredded

Prepare the Special Sauce (Thousand Island Dressing)

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup yellow onion minced
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt to taste

Instructions

Prepare The Special Sauce

  • Prepare the Special Sauce 12 to 24 Hours prior to grilling the burgers, by combing all of the dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl using a whisk. Mix well! Transfer to a jar or airtight container with a lid. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
  • Prepare the grill with a hot fire for direct grilling and preheat to 400 degrees F. Clean the grate as needed with a grill brush making sure you start with a clean grate.
  • Meanwhile rinse, drain and shred the lettuce; refrigerate to keep crisp until needed.

Form the Beef Patties:

  • In a large bowl, pull the meat apart into small chunks, season with salt and pepper, to taste and toss gently with fingers spread apart until loosely mixed. Using wet hands, form 8 equal ¼ pound beef patties gently pressing them to be about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Using your thumb gently press a dimple into the center of each patty. (See Notes)

Grill The Beef Patties

  • When the grill is ready, lightly oil the clean grill grate and place the patties on the grate. Allow a few flames to lick the meat undisturbed and then cover the grill with the lid. Grill the burgers until the underside is semi-charred and brown; about 3 to 4 minutes. 
    Use a spatula to flip the burgers. Grill until the other side is browned; an additional 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the center of the burger. At medium-rare, the thermometer should register 130 to 135 degrees F and the burger should have will have a deep pink color. If the burgers are not ready, cover the grill, let them cook for another minute and test again. If you like your burgers cooked medium you're looking for a temp of 145 degrees F and are looking for to reach 155 degrees F for well done.
  • During the last 30 seconds to one minute of cooking, place a slice of American cheese on top of each patty. While the cheese is melting, toast the buns by splitting them and placing them on the grate cut side down until light golden brown; about 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Remove the buns and take the burgers off the grill to rest; about 3 to 5 minutes (See Notes).

Serve The Big Twin Double Cheeseburgers

  • Generously spread some of the special sauce on each half of the toasted buns. Top the bottom with some of the shredded lettuce, then add two cheese melted patties and top with a little more shredded lettuce before adding the top bun.
  • There is nothing left to do, but to enjoy every delicious bite!

Notes

The Special Sauce:
For best flavor, make the Thousand Island dressing ahead and wait 24 hours. This gives the onions time to soften up and the flavors will meld and become richer. 
For a sweeter tangier dressing, add a little more pickle relish, if desired.
Store in unused dressing in an airtight container for up to a week.
The Double Beef Patties: 
Fat equals juiciness and flavor! This is why the lean-to-fat ratio in ground beef is critical. If you want a good burger, 80/20 is definitely the way to go.
Don’t overwork the meat while forming the perfect patties. The more you handle the meat, the tougher your burger will be. 
Make the burger patties with a dimple in the center. The burgers will shrink and pull in as they cook. The dimple will even out as the burgers cook giving the burger a nice uniform shape.
Remember, it’s important not to overwork the meat while forming the perfect patties. The more you handle the meat, the tougher your burger will be. 
Done Temperatures For Hamburgers:
  • Rare burgers (120 to 130°F)
  • Medium-rare burgers (130 to 135°F)
  • Medium burgers (135 to 145°F)
  • Well-done burgers (160°F)
For food safety, the USDA recommends a minimum done temperature of a pre-ground hamburger is 160 degrees F. Use the freshest ground meat possible or grind your own (Learn more HERE).
Allowing the burgers to rest, allows the meat to finish cooking and allows the juices within redistribute throughout the patty for maximum juiciness. 5 to 10 minutes will make a difference.
The Buns:
When toasting the buns on the grill, make sure you keep a close eye on them and don’t let them get too brown or it will affect the overall texture of the soft bun.will take on a life of its own and defeat the purpose of starting with a soft bun.

Nutrition

Calories: 911kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 66g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 207mg | Sodium: 1205mg | Potassium: 758mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 10% | Vitamin C: 1.1% | Calcium: 55.7% | Iron: 35.4%
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