The Oklahoma Onion Burger is a wonderful example of a cook’s creativity in stretching ingredients to keep prices low during the country’s economic depression of the 1930s. Pressing gobs of sliced onions directly into ground beef both extended the meat and imparted flavor into the meat. Like many dishes from this era, the Oklahoma Onion Burger has become an important part of the culture and continues to be eaten in huge numbers to this day.
Oklahoma Onion Burgers
- Large cast-iron skillet (12-inch)
- Food processor with slicer attachment (options, for slicing onions)
- 1 lb Freshly ground beef (or 80% package), divided into 6 equal balls
- 1 tbsp Oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 3 medium Onions, thinly sliced
- 6 slices American cheese
- 6 Soft hamburger buns
- Pickles, mustard, and other condiments
- Spread oil over bottom of a cast iron skillet with a paper towel. Heat over high heat until lightly smoking. Add beef balls and press down to flatten with the back of a spatula. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Working quickly, spread onions evenly over the cooking burgers and press down with spatula to embed onions into meat. Let patties cook for 2 minutes untouched.
- Flip burgers carefully, scraping up all browned meat from the bottom of the skillet. Cook around 1 minute to let onions soften a bit. Add cheese slices over each and place the top of a bun over the cheese. Place bottom of bun upside-down over top bun so it steams a little in the onion vapors.
- When buns start to soften, remove bottom bun to a large plate. Add any condiments you'll be using now. Scoop up hamburger and the bun top and lay them on top. Repeat with others and serve.