In the 1920s in El Reno, Oklahoma, a restaurant named the Hamburger Inn created the onion-fried burger, now a signature dish of the Sooner State. Not merely a hamburger with fried onions, it is a patty of meat that has become one with its onions — a savory/sweet package with an especially enticing aroma. The onion-fried burger pictured here is on the grill at Sid’s Diner. Roadfood review
For each hamburger:
1/3 pound ground beef, about 80% lean
1/2 cup yellow onion, sliced paper thin
Form the beef into a sphere and slap it onto a hot, lightly oiled griddle or into a hot, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Place the onions atop the round of beef and use a spatula to flatten the onions onto to beef as you flatten the beef into a circular patty. Use the spatula to press down three or four times as you create a broad patty, changing the angle of attack each time you press, thus mashing the onions deep into the top of the soft raw meat. Once the underside is cooked to your liking, flip the hamburger so that all the ribbons of onion are now on the underside. Give it enough time for the onions to begin to caramelize, then carefully use the spatula to scoop up the burger and fried onions and place this patty on a bun, onion side up. Lettuce, tomato, mustard, and pickles are all optional.