Oklahoma style onion burgers just won a new place in our burger hall of fame. Named for a style that gave rise in the Depression-era 1920’s, when onions were cheap and meat was expensive, these griddled smash burgers are among the top three burger recipes we’ve ever made. Simple ingredients and method, powerful flavors. They key is thinly sliced onions, preferably using a mandoline (we like this one because it catches the onion). They caramelize on the griddle and steam the buns in the final minutes of cooking. Apparently the original Oklahoma onion burger joint, Johnnie’s Hamburgers and Coneys is alive and well in El Reno, OK just west of Oklahoma City. Road trip time!
As for the equipment, you could do this inside on a cast iron pan or griddle, but we prefer using our Lodge griddle on a Weber Kettle w/ some lump charcoal to give it a little more smokey flavor. Just be sure to use the flat side of a reversable griddle for maximum flavor – you’re not looking for sear marks on this one.
Oklahoma style burger recipeCourse: Recipes, Main, Lunch, DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
1lb Ground beef, 80/20 mix preferably
1 Large sweet or white onion
American cheese (or your preferred flavor, such as our Beecher’s Cheese Sauce)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Favorite rub to taste
Tools: Griddle or Cast iron mrill
- Cut the ends off the onion and peel. Carefully slice the onion on your mandolin on the thinnest setting. Set aside.
- Roll the beef into balls. Set aside.
- Split the meat into four equal parts or your preferred size (because, kids).
- Bring a seasoned griddle or cast iron skillet to a high heat. A drop of water should sizzle.
- Place each of the burger balls on the griddle and smash them down with a spatula. Be careful not to smash for too long, this should only take a few seconds.
- Cover burgers with a generous amount of onions and smash them into the burger.
- Dust with salt & pepper to taste, or your favorite rub. We love The Salt Lick Dry Rub personally.
- Once the edges are brown and crisping and the meat is sweating, flip with a large spatula.
- About a minute in, place American cheese (or your favorite cheese of choice) on top. Then immediately place the top of the bun on the burger, setting the bottom on the side. Both will steam from the burger and onions, the top melting into the cheese.
- Reassemble the burger by placing the bottom on a plate or tray, and then placing the burger with top bun, onions and all on top.
- You could dress with condiments but for us, just some fries on the side. Enjoy with your favorite beverage!