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Ground Recipes

Oklahoma Burger

The Oky Burger has been nominated as contender for the Perfect Burger title. Let’s see how it stacks up against the current title holder. As introduced by that fun-loving, fake-finger-burning YouTube clown George Motz this burger’s origins were a response to hard times with cheap ground beef extended with even cheaper onions and has” Only 5 Ingredients: beef, bun, onion, cheese, salt, pepper.” He fails to mention the target outcomes’ impossibility w/o the use of high fat ground beef (again always discounted in the old days before the popularization of Wagyu). Try it with standard 85% lean and find out: the trademark filigree of partly charred meat and onion won’t make it’s appearance. In it’s place you’ll discover a steamed, White Castle slider-like burger atop a mass of soggy onions.

Base camp requires modifying your ground beef to around 35% fat for this variation on a smashburger to work. Do the algebra and you’ll see that 4 oz of 85% lean ground beef require 0.92 oz additional fat to reach 35%. With grass fed ground it’s best use partly frozen grass fed beef suet minced by knife as fine as possible and spread evenly over a rolled-out square of ground beef on waxed paper. Roll the whole thing up into a cylinder (leaving the paper behind) , knead gently to mix and form into a loose ball.

This burger needs BTU’s aplenty, rendering all that beef fat and evaporating excess moisture in a hand full of super-thin sliced onion (I prefer red) ; all in the space of 5 to 6 minutes. A 2 3/4 inch gas burner top ring is marginal. 4 inch provides a safety margin. Heat your cast iron to smokin’ then plop in the beef ball. Top with a hand full of onion then smash all to around 1/4 inch edges and twice that in the center. I use a potato masher with waxed paper. Apply salt/pepper..

Stand back, start-up your commercial grade outdoor exhausting hood fan and try to breathe thru the haze of smoke. Turn once at the 3 minute mark and top with cheese of choice. Despite blanketing with buns it won’t melt except at very edges in the 2-3 minute final cook.

Is it worth the effort? In my experience, no. Results are quite variable. You can only do one at a time unless cooking on a sheet of iron atop a stack of burning tires outdoors. Very messy cooking. Maybe that’s why this burger has only recently been resurrected as fodder for the Blackstone crowd.

An indoor approximation is much more easily achieved by using regular 85% lean and pre-drying the onion in a dehydrator or air fryer to roughly 50% their original volume.

No match for the perfection of the Perfect Burger.

RETRY with Wagyu ground beef (Walmart) and partly dehydrated yellow onions: This works but the process is quite different than Motz presents. Dehydrate thin sliced onion to around 50% original volume as above. Pre-form a 1/3 pound burger to around 1/2 inch thick and salt/pepper one side. Heat your cast iron to below-smoking w/a little fat and add your onions to one side, forming a loose burger-size pile. After a minute or so add the burger to the other side and cook a couple minutes before flipping over onto the onion pile, lightly pressing w/spatula, and adding cheese slice. Finish cooking another minute or so and flip onto pre-toasted potato bun. The good thing about this is the onion’s reliability in flavoring an otherwise completely bland-flavored beef.