Oklahoma may be known for its football and weather, but Oklahoma's true signature is the onion burger.

The onion burger is not only delicious. It also represents the people of Oklahoma.

The origin of the humble onion burger.

The Oklahoma onion burger was born out of necessity. Legend has it that during the Great Depression, onions were added to patties so that less meat could be used. Ross Davis, the owner of the Hamburger Inn in El Reno, which has since shut down, came up with this idea to conserve while also keeping his five cent burgers delicious.

Today, the tradition still lives on in El Reno at three eateries - Johnnie's, Robert's and Sid's Diner. Also, Oklahoma City's franchise Tucker's also specializes in Oklahoma's famous onion burger.

The rise of Oklahoma's onion burger.

Burger Scholar George Motz is one of the chefs that has been promoting Oklahoma's onion burger, and it has been found on menus of various pop-ups across the globe. So in 2023, YouTube channel First We Feast, did a full tour of Oklahoma's best burger joints while telling the legend of Oklahoma's fried onion burger.

Chef Motz and Chef Alvin Cailan visited Meers for a bison burger, had a Theta burger and Caesar burger at Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler, and the final stop was the grand finale - a classic fried onion burger at Sid's. While at their final stop, Chef Motz could only speak highly of Sid's owner Marty Hall for preserving history and cooking up his favorite burger.

Why is the Oklahoma onion burger so popular?

The delicious onion burger has been no secret to Oklahomans, but outside the Sooner State, it was mostly unheard of. That is until renowned chefs starting tasting it, talking it up and making it themselves.

The popularity of Oklahoma's onion burger is also thanks, in part, to television and the internet. Shows like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and YouTube channels like First We Feast with The Burger Show, have used their platforms to tell the story of Oklahoma's onion burger to millions of people across the country and around the world.

Of course, all this wouldn't have been possible if the burger itself wasn't so delicious that it's near life-changing.

But recently, burger-expert Chef Motz opened his new restaurant in New York City, Hamburger America, where he's cooking up Oklahoma onion burgers himself for the New Yorkers and people from all over the world.

Since then, burger pop-ups and restaurants across New York City began offering up their own versions of the Oklahoma onion burger, and they could be seen all over TikTok. Some New Yorkers are calling them "smash burgers," but only the real ones know they're just an Oklahoma onion burger - or, at least, they're trying to be.

@smashednyc In the making of our signature OKLAHOMA BURGER! #SMASHEDNYC #food #tiktokfood #yum #delicious #fyp #foryou #fyp #juicy #burger #onion #cheese #tasty #oklahoma ♬ original sound - Marsplutoedits

And some restaurants are even adding their own special sauce, instead of the classic way, which is no condiments at all. Some people add mayo or mustard, or mayo and mustard. Either way, condiments or no condiments all comes down to personal preference.

But the standard Oklahoma onion burger is just meat, onions, cheese and bread. Simple. Humble. Delicious.

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