Murphy’s Steak House | Home of Oklahoma’s Hot Hamburger

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Friendly Town Steak House

Murphy’s calls itself a steak house, but to us it looks more like a friendly town cafe. Sit on stools at the counter or in a bare-tabled booth. Waitresses do not introduce themselves by name. Nor do they wax rhapsodic about ingredients in dishes they serve. These ladies are pros who don’t goof around. The food they bring to customers, including the house signature hot hamburger, lets you know that the kitchen, too, is a git ‘er done sort of place.

The House Specialty

The menu does include steaks. The T-bone and ribeye will make any carnivore happy. Nevertheless, we recommend coming to this 1940s-era eatery just east of the Osage Indian reservation not for steak. Come instead for a hot hamburger.

If you have pictured in your head some sort of beef patty in some sort of bun, erase that image. Consider this: pieces of toasted white bread spread out on a plate. The kitchen tops the toast with a large hamburger that’s been hacked into pieces. They then top the burger with a mountain of French fries. Atop the fries, they pour a spill of dark, beefy gravy as rich as Mexican mole. The combination seduces meat-loving taste buds. We love the way crisp logs of fried potato soften in places where the gravy blankets them. Where soft, they imbibe a rich beefy savor. Add squiggles of onion (an optional component) and it gets even better. Many people who come for steak instead of a hot hamburger Know to order a side dish of fried potatoes with gravy.

Variations on the theme include a hot cheeseburger, hot beef, hot steak, and hot ham.

Words to Live By

The front of Murphy’s menu sports a motto that is one of our favorites: “Gravy Over All.” When anyone orders a hot hamburger, the motto becomes a question. The waitress asks, “Gravy over all?” We’ve been told that the couple who created the restaurant, now deceased, have been laid to rest under a headstone that reads, “And Gravy Over All.”

Directions & Hours

11am - 9pm
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

What To Eat

Hot Hamburger

DISH

Murphy’s Steak House | Home of Oklahoma’s Hot Hamburger Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Murphy’s Steak House | Home of Oklahoma’s Hot Hamburger?

5 Responses to “Murphy’s Steak House | Home of Oklahoma’s Hot Hamburger”

Deb Walter

November 13th, 2021

Kaarina, Thanks! I hope this works for you!

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Deb Walter

October 17th, 2021

This is for Alonnah. I wish your mom had gotten the recipe too. I grew up in Bartlesville and have missed everything about Murphy’s since I moved away. I’ve never found anything like it, which has sparked a lifelong crusade to figure how they make that gravy. I tried everything – making pan gravy, roasting bones, browning butter and flour, every recipe I could ever find – it was all so much work for not a lot of gravy. They sell so much of this gravy every day (I figure gallons) that I realized it has to be a simple recipe made with simple, easy to get ingredients. Did you ever notice that no matter how cold this gravy gets, there is never a fat layer on top like pan gravy? There is just a slight sheen of something, but not fat. To me that ruled out any gravy made with a fat base like pan grease or butter. Or did you notice how black it is? I tried recipes with coffee, browning butter in a roux – whatever I could find. It is obviously peppery, and I am sure salty, because I always felt like my blood pressure was spiking when I had fries with gravy. The problem with all my efforts was that they were time consuming and difficult to make a large amount. And often expensive. So it has to be made with simple, inexpensive, easy to get ingredients, and it has to be easy to make. One day I tried a can of Campbells Brown Gravy. Not black enough, too bland, no salty blood pressure spike. But it had the right consistency and had that same sheen that the real Murphy’s has. How to get it black was the problem. I happened to have a bottle of thick, black soy sauce in the fridge and I added enough of it to get that dark, black color. I tasted it and found it had the salt I was missing and was close to the right taste. The look was right too – still no greasy look to the top. I then ground up a lot of regular black pepper to a fine consistency and added that and I was really impressed. It had the look, the color, the consistency, the peppery bite and the saltiness. Add an order of Five Guys fries and it was like being home again. Any brown gravy recipe over good fries is a great thing, but this was the closest thing to Murphy’s that I have found. I have used Healthy Boy Black Soy Sauce, and Flower Brand Black Soy Sauce. Any thick, black, soy sauce will work, and regular is passable in a pinch. Black pepper looks nicer than white, just grind it fine. I don’t measure, but add the soy sauce to the Campbells Brown Gravy until you get the black color, (probably about 1/8 to 1/4 cup per can of gravy) then add the pepper. Make it a lot of pepper! My husband grew up with Murphy’s too and he agrees it is a great match. I doubt I will ever really know the true recipe, though I wish that one person in the world with it would share it, but try this sometime and see what you think. I hope you like it!

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    Kaarina Aufranc

    October 28th, 2021

    Wow! This is such helpful info. Thank you for your secrets.

    Reply

Alonnah Watson

September 5th, 2021

My mother made the gravy in the 70’s and early 80’s. I wish I had gotten the recipe from her. If anyone has it I would love to have it

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Craig Earickson

January 13th, 2012

Murphy’s is a true 60’s throwback. Chrome stools at the bar and booths. In fact, Murphy’s was destroyed by tornado in the 80’s and was rebuilt on the same footprint with virtually the same interior. If trendy, modern atmosphere is what you want, then Murphy’s is not your place. If great food, surrounded by friendly working people is what you want, then this is your place. If you get there around lunch or dinner time, be prepared to wait for a table up to an hour (it’s that busy). They have a waiting room to get out of the weather, but it’ll be full too. They also have a carry-out window if you do get there at peak time. Call your order in and show up 20 minutes later and avoid the rush. Get there before prime rush (5:15) or best wait until after 7:30.

Hot Hamburger is the signature dish. A spinoff of the old hot roast beef sandwich, it starts with toast on the bottom, topped with a hamburger patty, smothered with french fries, and a smooth, brown gravy. Variations are a Hot Steak, Hot Cheeseburger, with sauteed onions. The fries are freshly cut and rival anyones, and the gravy just finishes it all off. By the time you get to the bottom, you’ve almost forgot about the hamburger and toast. Other resturants in the area have added hot hamburgers to their menu’s, but don’t be fooled; none have replicated the fries and especially the gravy.

The original owners have passed on, and are laid to rest about 1.5 miles from the resturant under a headstone that reads “And Gravy Over All”.

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