OKC Fried Onion Burger Revisited

[Sept 2014] — We love the fried onion burger; beef, grilled onions and a requisite amount of grease. We first introduced the iconic Oklahoma burgers when we talked with OKC author and TV personality, Katie Johnstonbaugh. Katie gave us the rundown on the fried onion burger and list of burgers to try. We thought we would update you on a couple friend onion burger items.

The Great Food Truck Race Meets the Onion Burger

The onion burger does have in-the-know foodie following, and even it’s own mini burger festival, but the onion burger took a step outside its regional closet when OKC was a stop on the tv show, The Great Food Truck Race.

Food Truck racers from Lone Star Chuck Wagon learn from friend onion burger master at Tucker's. Image via
Great Food Truck racers from Lone Star Chuck Wagon learn from fried onion burger master at Tucker’s. [Image via www.foodnetwork.com]
In season 5, episode 4, High Steaks in OKC, the food truck reality show’s “truck stop challenge” called for contestants had to ditch their own menus and sell only fried onion burgers. After a trip to Tucker’s Onion Burgers to learn about the burger and  to gather ingredients (including 20 pounds of meat to grind by hand), the teams raced to see who could cook and sell 50 onion burgers first.

The Beach Cruiser truck handily sold their 50 burgers, winning the challenge. The onion burgers, however, beat the team from Madres Mexican Meals, eliminating them from the competition. In a post-episode interview the team spokesperson said, The onion burgers were not our friend.” Read more in the team’s exit interview.

Meanwhile, at Claud’s, in Tulsa…

One onion burger joint, Claud’s, has been frying up onion burgers the same way since 1954. Check out this Tulsa institution on Discover Oklahoma.


Burger Battle – Mammoth Lakes

Best of the Best Burger Battle – Mammoth Lakes, CA

Chef Jason Hoeltzel, of CJ’s Grill
Jason Hoeltzel won golden ticket to compete at World Burger Championship

(July 21, 2014)  The burger battle in Mammoth Lakes, CA was dubbed the 405 versus the 395. Featuring three chefs with restaurants along California’s Hwy 405, and one from along US 395, this “Best-of-the-Best Burger Battle” was part of the Mammoth Food and Wine Experience.

Chef Jason Hoeltzel, of CJ’s Grill took home the win for the 405, and earned a golden ticket to participate in the World Burger Championship this November in Las Vegas.

Hoeltzel’s winning burger tantalized the judge’s taste buds with its combination of red wine vinegar ketchup, Riesling onions, extra sharp cheddar, local organic tomato and a port wine reduction.

CJ’s Grill is owned by Hoeltzel and his wife Carrie. They serve fine, new American cuisine with a focus on cooking from scratch — sauces, dressings, desserts. The menu features fresh salads (with choice of 10 from-scratch dressings) and entrees like Wild Mushroom Marcella, Artichoke and Caper’s Chicken, steaks, fresh and sustainable fish, pasta, and of course burgers.

Classic Burger from CJs
Classic Burger from CJs Grill

The Classic Burger at CJ’s Grill is a half pound of certified Angus beef, served with fresh-cut fries. They serve their take on a California Burger, too. The same Angus burger comes topped with avocado, bacon, ranch dressing, tomatoes and sprouts. It’s served on a bed of lettuce; no bun. They also have a Burger of the Month — currently sounding suspiciously like Hoeltzel’s burger battle winner. They also serve a hommade black bean Veggie Burger, a Crab Cake Burger and a 1/3-pound Buffalo Burger.

Other burger battle participants included Chris Lucchese, of Off Track Cooking (and winner of the LA Times Battle of the Burgers  2012, 2013), food truck proprietor, Rena McCullough of Ohana’s 395, and  Craft BBQ sauce brewer (and grill chef Rock Creek Resort) Steve Miller.

Judges included last year’s winner, Matt Toomey, of Toomey’s Catering and Takeout, in Mammoth Lakes.

CJ’s Grill
343 Old Mammoth Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 934-3077

CJ's Grill on Urbanspoon

[Images courtesy Cj’s Grill and Jason Hoeltzel]


Stacy Lanson, Motorcycling Ghostwriter

Ghostwriting about Burgers, Bikes and Ghosts

Stacy Lanson is a foodie. She creates recipes, evaluates new products and writes about food.

burger enthusiast, Stacy Lanson
Motorcycling ghostwriter and burger enthusiast, Stacy Lanson, picnicking with a Sourdough Zin Burger, from Grapes, in Jerome, Az.

You might not know her name because she’s a ghostwriter — mostly for motorcycle mags — but she came out of the closet to give Best Burger Review readers on a burger (and biker) journey through the re-invented ghost town of Jerome, Arizona. Hailing from a long line of Midwestern cattle ranchers, Stacy has boundless enthusiasm for burgers. Best Burger Review talks with her about her best burger experiences.

BBR: What is your current relationship with burgers?
As a foodie
— I adore burgers! They just make me feel better. I am an emotional eater, and will eat burgers when I am feeling blue, festive, anemic…I really don’t need an excuse. The more vibrant they look, the more I want them. I eat with my eyes first, for sure.

 I make my burgers tall generally, and cut them in half to see their juicy souls.  ~ Stacy Lanson

As a ghostwriter — I mostly do my foodie ghost writing for motorcycle enthusiast publications, mainly Southwest destination touring stories, especially rally towns. The culinary coverage runs the spectrum from dive joints to the totally upscale. I have found exquisite burgers in all categories. There definitely are venue owners that add in love and take great pride in their burgers. It is really nice to see…and, taste!

As a consultant — I have worked with several food companies over the years. I evaluate new products and give feedback. I usually have suggestions for expanding their market, product line, or new ways for using their offerings. I’ve made cooking videos for their contests, too. A pre-shamed Paula Deen commented that I was “cute as a button” when she saw one of my videos. My 15 s-e-c-o-n-d-s of fame on a celebrity chef’s radar.

 As a recipe creator — I am always improving burgers at home. For my home cooking, I follow my whims of the moment, and am often inspired by what is peaking in my garden. No formal (burger) recipes, thus far.

BBR: What’s your best hamburger memory?
My best hamburger memory was when I was about four and I was going through my first drive thru car wash in my mother’s Mustang. I had my A&W burger, fries, and Baby (Root) Beer laid before me on the opened door of the glove compartment. The moment was an all sensory experience, and subconsciously I probably associate burgers with fun, new experiences. I do find I leisure-eat a whole bunch of burgers when I travel.

BBR: What’s the Best Burger in your current city?
The best burger where I live* is my own creation with a copious side of beer. I live in Sedona, AZ. We have the only McDonald’s with teal arches, which have been know to be stolen from time to time. There are many lovely burgers around town.

Sedona McDonalds has Teal arches
Sedona’s teal arches are popular with tourists and mischievous thieves

BBR: What makes a great burger?
What is important to me is that the ingredients are the freshest available. I am all about color, and I like to butter and toast or grill the buns. I frequently make my own guac, caramelize my onions, and I am so pro-bacon. I am not a huge fan of American cheese, when there are so many other hearty varieties on the market. I love quality condiments. I make my burgers tall generally, and cut them in half to see their juicy souls.

 BBR: What is your favorite burger?
Right now, my favorite burger is whatever my daughter, Scarlett, is making for me. She is 24, and I am glad she finds my burger enthusiasm contagious. Like me, she is very experimental in the kitchen. We iMessage our cooking photos to each other, and we are often surprised that we are making the same dish on the same day. Our taste buds are psychic!

BBR: Which burger is on your bucket list?
The one at the pearly gates, if I am so blessed. My halo is a little tarnished.

BBR: What burger do you love but are embarrassed to admit?
The magnificent In-N-Out Double-Double Burger..such a cliche. They don’t exist in Sedona, as yet, although a local business man claims he would give commercially zoned land, if they would build. If I am traveling through a town that has one, I stop! My daughter insists she will have an In-N-Out Cookout Trailer as catering at her wedding. I know that will bring out the +1s on the RSVPs!

*Update – Lanson is currently heading to live with the bikers and burgers in California.

[Image credits -Teal arches by Big slick69 at en.wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Other images by Joshua Placa.]