Burgers

The Perfect Oklahoma Burger

Burgers have been a staple of American cuisine for over a century, each region putting its own spin on this beloved classic. Today, we’re diving into the heartland of America to explore the iconic Oklahoma Burger. This burger is renowned for its simplicity, juiciness, and the unique method of incorporating onions directly into the patty. Join me, your host AB, as we embark on this flavorful journey and uncover the secrets to making the perfect Oklahoma Burger.

The Oklahoma Burger, often referred to as the “Oklahoma Onion Burger,” traces its roots back to the Great Depression. During this time, meat was scarce and expensive, so resourceful cooks in Oklahoma began adding onions to their burgers to stretch their meat supply. This not only made the burgers more affordable but also infused them with a unique and delicious flavor. Today, the Oklahoma Burger is a cherished tradition, celebrated for its simplicity and taste.

Ingredients for Perfect Oklahoma Burgers

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to recreate the famous Oklahoma Burger:

  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices of bread and butter pickles
  • 2 hamburger buns
  • Optional: mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and relish for a special burger sauce

Why These Ingredients?

Ground Beef (80/20): The 80/20 ratio, meaning 80% lean and 20% fat, ensures that the burger remains juicy and flavorful. The fat content is essential as it renders during cooking, basting the meat and onions and creating a succulent patty.

Onions: Thinly sliced and pressed into the patty as it cooks, they caramelize beautifully, adding sweetness and a delightful crunch. Yellow onions are traditionally used, but you can experiment with different varieties to find your preferred flavor profile.

Hamburger Buns: A good bun is crucial for holding everything together. Choose soft, sturdy buns that can absorb the juices without falling apart. Toasting the buns enhances their flavor and provides a pleasant contrast to the juicy burger.

Pickles: Bread and butter pickles are a classic choice for an Oklahoma Burger. Their sweet and tangy flavor complements the savory beef and onions perfectly. However, dill pickles can be used if you prefer a more tangy bite.

Seasonings: Simple seasonings like kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper are all you need. These enhance the natural flavors of the beef and onions without overpowering them.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Let’s dive into the detailed process of making these delicious Oklahoma Burgers.

Step 1: Preparing the Grill

First, preheat your griddle or skillet on high heat, then reduce to medium-low. This ensures an even cooking surface and prevents the burgers from burning.

Step 2: Slicing the Onions

Use a mandolin or a sharp knife to thinly slice the onion. The slices should be thin and uniform to cook evenly. A mandolin is preferred for its precision, but a knife will work if you don’t have one.

Step 3: Forming the Patties

Measure out 6 oz portions of ground beef for each patty using a kitchen scale. Form the ground beef into loose balls without compacting too tightly. This helps keep the burgers juicy and ensures they cook evenly. Remember, we want the patties to be a bit loose to achieve that classic texture.

Step 4: Cooking the Patties

  1. Place the Beef Balls on the Griddle: Place the beef balls onto the preheated griddle. Let them cook for about 10 seconds to form a slight crust.
  2. Smash the Patties: Using a burger press or a sturdy spatula, smash the beef balls down into thin patties. Hold for a few seconds to maintain the shape. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add Onions: Once the patties have started to develop a crust, place a handful of the thinly sliced onions on top of each patty. Gently press the onions into the meat.
  4. Flip the Patties: Carefully flip the patties so the onions are now on the bottom, in direct contact with the griddle. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft and caramelized.

Step 5: Steaming and Toasting the Buns

While the patties are finishing, place the hamburger buns cut-side down on the griddle next to the patties. Let them steam and absorb the burger juices for about 1-2 minutes. After steaming, toast the buns on the griddle until golden brown.

Step 6: Assembling the Burgers

  1. Prepare a Quick Burger Sauce (Optional): If desired, prepare a quick burger sauce by mixing mayonnaise, ketchup, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and some relish.
  2. Assemble the Burgers: Place a patty (with the caramelized onions on top) on the bottom half of each bun. Add 2 slices of bread and butter pickles on top of each patty. Spread the optional burger sauce on the top half of each bun. Close the burgers with the top buns.

Tips for the Perfect Oklahoma Burger

Use the Right Beef: The 80/20 ground beef is ideal for its balance of lean meat and fat. This ensures the burger remains juicy and flavorful. If you prefer an even juicier burger, you can use a 70/30 ratio, but be mindful of the additional shrinkage due to the higher fat content.

Don’t Over-Compact the Meat: When forming the patties, avoid compacting the meat too tightly. Keeping the meat loose allows the fat to render properly and creates a tender, juicy burger.

Slice the Onions Thinly: Thin, uniform slices of onion are crucial. They cook quickly and evenly, caramelizing beautifully and adding a sweet, savory flavor to the burger.

Steam the Buns: Steaming the buns on the griddle with the patties absorbs the delicious burger juices, adding another layer of flavor. Toasting them afterwards creates a perfect texture contrast.

Season Simply: Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper are all you need to season the burgers. This allows the flavors of the beef and onions to shine through.

Variations and Customizations

While the traditional Oklahoma Burger is a masterpiece of simplicity, there are plenty of ways to customize it to your taste.

Cheese

Though not traditional, adding a slice of cheese can take your burger to the next level. Cheddar, American, or even pepper jack cheese melts beautifully and adds a creamy texture.

Bacon

For a smoky, savory twist, add crispy bacon strips to your burger. The salty, crunchy bacon complements the juicy beef and sweet onions perfectly.

Spicy Kick

If you like a bit of heat, consider adding jalapeños or a spicy sauce. A few slices of pickled jalapeños or a drizzle of hot sauce can add a zesty punch.

Different Pickles

While bread and butter pickles are traditional, feel free to experiment with dill pickles, spicy pickles, or even homemade pickles for a unique flavor profile.

Burger Sauce

Create your own signature burger sauce with your favorite condiments. Mix mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and relish to create a tangy, flavorful sauce that complements the burger.

Serving Suggestions

The Oklahoma Burger is a meal in itself, but pairing it with the right sides can elevate your dining experience. Here are a few suggestions:

French Fries

Classic, crispy French fries are a perfect match for any burger. Season them with salt and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Sweet Potato Fries

For a healthier twist, try sweet potato fries. Their natural sweetness pairs wonderfully with the savory burger.

Coleslaw

A side of creamy coleslaw adds a refreshing crunch and balances the richness of the burger.

Potato Salad

A hearty potato salad is another great side. Its creamy texture and tangy flavor complement the burger beautifully.

Grilled Vegetables

For a lighter option, serve your burger with a side of grilled vegetables. The smoky, charred veggies add a healthy and delicious contrast.

The Perfect Oklahoma Burger

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 30 minutesCook time: 40 minutesRest time: 40 minutesTotal time: minutesServings:4 servingsCalories:300 kcal Best Season:Summer

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. First, preheat your griddle or skillet on high heat, then reduce to medium-low. This ensures an even cooking surface and prevents the burgers from burning.
  2. Use a mandolin or a sharp knife to thinly slice the onion. The slices should be thin and uniform to cook evenly. A mandolin is preferred for its precision, but a knife will work if you don’t have one.
  3. Measure out 6 oz portions of ground beef for each patty using a kitchen scale. Form the ground beef into loose balls without compacting too tightly. This helps keep the burgers juicy and ensures they cook evenly. Remember, we want the patties to be a bit loose to achieve that classic texture.
  4. Place the beef balls onto the preheated griddle. Let them cook for about 10 seconds to form a slight crust.
  5. Using a burger press or a sturdy spatula, smash the beef balls down into thin patties. Hold for a few seconds to maintain the shape. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Once the patties have started to develop a crust, place a handful of the thinly sliced onions on top of each patty. Gently press the onions into the meat.
  7. Carefully flip the patties so the onions are now on the bottom, in direct contact with the griddle. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft and caramelized.
  8. While the patties are finishing, place the hamburger buns cut-side down on the griddle next to the patties. Let them steam and absorb the burger juices for about 1-2 minutes. After steaming, toast the buns on the griddle until golden brown.
  9. If desired, prepare a quick burger sauce by mixing mayonnaise, ketchup, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and some relish.
  10. Place a patty (with the caramelized onions on top) on the bottom half of each bun. Add 2 slices of bread and butter pickles on top of each patty. Spread the optional burger sauce on the top half of each bun. Close the burgers with the top buns.

Hey family,

My name is Aaron Brown. You can call me “A.B.”

My mission is to help you level up the process of making your favorite mealswith my video tutorials and recipe guides,plus my tried-and-true spices, cookware, and more that make every meal special.

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