If you read The Salt House, you might recall it continues Max’s love of diner food, this time hitting up the southwest for one of the most beloved burgers in the United States – the Oklahoma onion burger. This burger has a fascinating history and a unique flavor that keeps people coming back for more. The Oklahoma onion burger appears to be having a bit of a moment recently, including a write up and recipe in The New York Times. Great! More people deserve to know about this quirky American classic.
The Oklahoma onion burger originated during the Great Depression when burgers were an affordable and popular meal. The burger was created at the Hamburger Inn in El Reno by owner Homer Davis and his son. Unlike most things during the Depression onions were abundant and cheap, making them a perfect addition to the burger to add some bulk and filler.
The Oklahoma onion burger is a simple yet delicious dish that has become a staple in many restaurants in Oklahoma and beyond. It’s a classic burger with just a few toppings – usually just onions, pickles, and mustard. The simplicity of the burger allows the flavors of the caramelized onions to shine, making it a favorite among burger lovers.
So, why do people love the Oklahoma onion burger so much? Well, for starters, the flavor profile of the burger is hard to replicate. The onions give the burger a slightly sweet and savory taste, often steaming the flavor into the bun. It all makes the Oklahoma onion burger stand out from other burgers. Additionally, the onion-y crust, when griddled or finished on a flattop, adds a satisfying crunch to the burger, adding another flavor pop, and making it an even more enjoyable eating experience.
Oklahoma Onion Burger
- Large skillet or cast iron pan
- 1 pound ground beef 80/20
- 1 large onion sliced very thin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 burger buns
- Divide the beef into 4 equal parts and shape into thicker patties about 3 inches wide.
- Season the patties with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Slice the onions. A mandolin works best. Divide the onions into 4 equal parts.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, place the patty and top with the onions.
- Using a stiff spatula, smash down the onions and beef until the patties spread out to 5 or 6 inches wide with thin edges.
- Let the patties cook 2-3 minutes until the edges are dark and crispy. Carefully flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer or your desired doneness. Add a slice of cheese in the last minute, if desired.
- Toast or steam the buns and spread mustard on both sides, if using. Add pickles.
- Assemble the burgers and enjoy!
In conclusion, the Oklahoma onion burger is truly a classic American dish with a unique history and flavor. Its simplicity and deliciousness make it a favorite of not just Max, but burger lovers everywhere. Give it a try and see why the Oklahoma onion burger has earned such a beloved reputation.