Legend has it that the Oklahoma Onion Burger was a product of The Great Depression.
The concept was simple: stretch out expensive, limited beef by adding onions, lots and lots of onions.
The beauty of this incredibly flavorful burger lies in its simplicity – a flat top grill or cast-iron skillet and simple ingredients are pretty much all that's required to make this classic.
For nearly one hundred years, this humble burger has been a staple in Oklahoma and is gaining popularity across the country.
Fast forward to the present day and this burger is enjoyed in various permutations in and around Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Here's my take on the OK Onion Burger.
Walla Walla sweet onions if in-season. Otherwise, a big mellow sweet onion will do. Medium or large sized and slice it thin. Got a sharp knife, then get it paper-thin if you can. If you can see the blade through this little slice sliver of onion, then you’re doing it right.
Fresh, not frozen, fresh ground beef. Not too lean, not too fatty – 85% to 93% lean is a good range. Grass-fed is always preferred. Oh, did I mention to use fresh ground hamburger, not frozen? ‘Trust me now and thank me later as they say.'
Roll that burger into some 1/3-pound balls.
Colby-Jack, Jack, Pepper-Jack, American, Velveeta – pick your favorite easy-melt cheese and slice up a bunch of it.
Fresh sliced Jalapeños. Optional, but why wouldn’t you?
Now that we’ve assembled the ingredients, we’re ready to make burgers.
For cooking we’ll need:
A cast iron skillet with lid
A strong, metal spatula
High smoke point / high temp cooking oil such as coconut oil.
Coat the skillet lightly with a high-temp cooking oil, I use coconut oil in spray can. Heat that pan up get it nice and hot.
Press down on the burger balls with a heavy spatula to flatten them, insuring a good sear and crust from the hot skillet.
Add those jalapenos and onions. Add all of the onions, if you love freedom. Cover the skillet and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Pull the lid off and flip those burgers. Well, it looks like it might have had the skillet bit too hot but those burgers have a bit too-seared, but they’re still perfectly serviceable and have a nice crust.
And those onions are caramelizing wonderfully.
Next place in the cheese on top of the burgers and onion. Get that cover back on and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Optional – Create a cloud of steam by squirting a little water into the skillet just before putting the cover back on. That steam will help melt your cheese and deglaze the pan.
Now turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. Let everything sit there for a good 5-10 minutes. You will be rewarded for your patience
Now we uncover it and marvel upon the glory of this caramelized-melted feast.
Serve up on a bed of lettuce; there’s no shame in using iceberg lettuce if that’s your jam. Sliced tomatoes from the garden, because you can.
Enjoy and send me a picture!