Those who follow Dixie Pixie Dust (my travels blog) may remember we spent our wedding anniversary in El Reno, Oklahoma, dining at Sid’s, home of the original onion burger. It’s a classic diner along historic Route 66.
Today I duplicated the experience in our kitchen. I need to tweak my technique a bit, but we were pleased with the results.
I toasted whole wheat hamburger buns, which I discovered hidden in my freezer, on the griddle while frozen fries cooked in the air fryer.
Using two quarter-pound burgers from the freezer and one onion, chopped, I grilled the onions first before adding the burger. Onion burgers are created by pressing the meat into the onions, incorporating the onions into the meat. Sid’s uses 3 ounces beef, which yields a thinner burger.
The onion burger was born in the Great Depression as an economic move to stretch beef. Like many recipes of that era it’s now a popular, beloved dish. Onion burgers are a way to reduce red meat and add a vegetable to a meal.Unfortunately, I already had 4-ounce patties. Next time I will use 3 ounces of meat for a better meat-to-onions ratio.
I can’t compete with Sid’s Diner, but this was a close knock-off. Not bad quarantine cuisine.
We limit our consumption of red meat, yet once a week we enjoy burger day. It’s either beef or bison, never veggie or turkey burgers. This one day it’s all about indulgence. We keep to four-ounce servings, but we buy the best quality burgers we can.
You can get just as creative with a quarter-pound burger, and you control the ingredients and toppings. Serving the burger on a slider bun and luncheon plate creates the illusion of a larger steakhouse serving size because we eat with our eyes first. (Old Weight Watchers® trick–use smaller plates)
This week’s burger day coincided with my jalapeño pepper plant yielding four beautiful red peppers (plus a couple of green), so I’ve added jalapeños in many of this week’s menus–including burgers. Here is my scaled down version of a local steakhouse favorite.
Sauté sliced peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
Grill burgers over medium heat for 6 minutes, turn, and cook 5 more minutes. A cast iron grill pan gives patties grill marks and drains away fat.
Melt 1 oz. Swiss cheese atop cooked burgers. Cheese serves as the glue for the peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
Use whole wheat slider buns to give burgers a larger feel. 😉
These jalapeño-mushroom-onion-Swiss burgers are our new favorites. If you can’t take the heat of hot peppers, substitute sliced banana pepper.
Have you ever eaten at Sid’s Diner in El Reno, Oklahoma? It’s part of historic Route 66 and famous for introducing the fried onion burger back in the 1920s. I’ll admit I haven’t because every time we get to El Reno, we have the bison burger. Love bison burgers! But my curiosity for the fried onion burger grew when my friend Chef Gary Straka made some for a cooking demo for the 360 Cookware skillet. He loves the onion burger, and so did his audience. So today I made fried onion burgers for lunch. Here’s how:
Finely chop Vidalia onion
Press onion into the meat
Grill onion side over medium-low heat
Carefully turn burgers and increase heat.
Serve on a toasted whole wheat bun.
Oklahoma Burger with a Georgia Twist
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 Vidalia onion
salt and pepper
Preheat griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Divide the beef in two equal portions and form thin patties.
Thinly chop the onion.
Salt and pepper one side of the patties. Press the onions into the meat.
Carefully place each patty, onion side down, on the preheated griddle. Salt and pepper the second side of each patty.
Cook for 7 or 8 minutes over medium-low heat. You want the onions to caramelize, not brown.
Carefully turn each patty (you may need a second spatula as a “helper”) and increase the heat to medium.
Cook burgers just until done, about 3 minutes or until juices run clear. Do not overcook.
Serve on your favorite bun (we like whole wheat potato rolls).
If Vidalia onions aren’t available, substitute any sweet onion.
We love bison burgers and have eaten them for many years. The meat is leaner than beef, and it has no antibiotics or added hormones. When we stopped by our favorite market today to pick up more bison burgers, we bought elk burgers instead. They were about $2.00 cheaper than bison, and elk is something we had never tried. I expected elk to taste like venison, which I like although it’s rather strong and gamey, but elk tasted mild in comparison. We had the burgers for lunch, with a side of baked beans and a baked sweet potato, and we will buy elk burgers again. Delicious!
2 ground elk patties, 1/4 lb. each, thawed.
2 whole wheat burger buns + toppings of your choice (I use lettuce, tomato, sweet onion)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper (I use McCormick Pepper Medley)
Preheat grill or grill pan over medium heat. (I use a Lodge cast iron grill pan.)
Combine oil, honey, and seasonings and rub mixture over both sides of each burger.
Cook burgers over medium heat 4 minutes. Turn using a spatula and cook an additional 3 minutes or just until juices run clear. Don’t overcook.
Serve on whole wheat buns. Add toppings if desired.