I saw these burgers made on YouTube and then saw them mentioned in the NYTimes. I love onions, and was intrigued by the idea. I went ahead and tried to make my own version, adding some slow-cooked, slightly-caramelized & red wine-braised onions into the mix, along with the traditional raw thinly-sliced onions. And wow, they are delicious!

The recipe below is intended to make 4 burgers.

And if you don’t like a lot of onion, that’s totally OK. But note that this recipe may not be the perfect one for you!

Oklahoma Onion Smash Burgers with Homemade Pickles

I saw these burgers made on YouTube and then saw them mentioned in the NYTimes. I love onions, and was intrigued by the idea. I went ahead and tried to make my own version, adding some slow-cooked, slightly-caramelized & red wine-braised onions into the mix, along with the traditional raw thinly-sliced onions. And wow, they are delicious!
The recipe below is intended to make 4 burgers.
And if you don’t like a lot of onion, that’s totally OK. But note that this recipe may not be the perfect one for you!

Ingredients

For the Quick Dill Pickles:

  • 1 small cucumber, (washed, cut into 1/8” thin pickle-width slices)
  • 1 clove garlic, (peeled)
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt

For the Oklahoma Onion Burgers:

  • 10 oz 80% lean loosely-ground burger meat, (gently formed into 4 2.5oz balls. )
  • 2 large white onions, (1 sliced 1/8” thick and 1 thinly shaved on mandolin. )
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 oz red wine
  • Kosher salt & freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 4 soft brioche or potato burger buns

Instructions 

For the Quick Dill Pickles:

  • Wash your cucumber and cut into 1/8” thick coins.
  • Combine garlic, ½ tsp red pepper flakes, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, ½ cup water, 1 tsp white granulated sugar, and 1 Tbsp kosher salt in a small sauce pot and bring to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour over cucumber slices in a bowl or mason jar and allow to sit for 4 hours in the fridge prior to serving.
  • *These pickles will stay good in the fridge for a week or more, stored submerged in the pickling liquid.

For the Oklahoma Onion Burgers:

  • Gently form the ground beef into four 2.5oz balls (spheres) of loosely-packed meat and set aside.
  • Begin cooking your 1/8” sliced white onion in 3 Tbsp butter in a medium sauté pan on medium heat.
  • Cook until the onions are very lightly golden brown, and add the red wine.
  • Cook until the red wine has been absorbed by the onions.
  • Remove onions from heat and set aside for later.
  • Thinly shave your remaining white onion as thin as you can on a mandolin or with a very sharp knife.
  • *Before slicing on your mandolin, you may find it easier to cut the white onion in half, slicing each half onion individually.
  • Heat your griddle or cast iron pan until it is very hot.
  • Divide the shaved white onion into 4 mounds on the griddle surface.
  • Add the sautéed onions finished in red wine on top of the shaved white onion mounds.
  • Salt your burger balls on the outside, and place on the griddle surface, with no added cooking fat.
  • Cook the beef balls for 20 seconds.
  • Scrape under the beef balls and flip them over, placing them on top of your mounds of shaved and sautéed onions, leaving the slightly cooked side of the burger balls facing upwards.
  • *Placing the slightly cooked side of the burger ball face up (on top of the onions) helps reduce the likelihood that your spatula sticks to your burger patty when you smash the beef ball down into the onions.
  • When the onions have cooked for 2 minutes and are starting to caramelize, use a large spatula to firmly smash the burger ball down into the cooking onions, where a small amount of shaved onion should be sticking out around the edge of the meat.
  • Gently tuck those exterior onions that are sticking out back in towards the meat.
  • Cook until the onions on the edges are very caramelized and brown in color.
  • While your onions are cooking, butter your burger buns with softened butter and toast in the oven or on the stove.
  • Set buns aside for later.
  • Flip your burger and add American cheese and cook for 10 more seconds.
  • Serve burgers with dill pickles and your choice of condiments.

Notes

These burgers are incredible, especially if you really love onions.