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Sonic Drive-In Hickory Burger

By Todd Wilbur


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Word quickly spread through Oklahoma of Sonic's early success in the 1950s. One day Sonic Drive-In founder Troy Smith noticed a man measuring car stalls that surrounded the restaurant. Troy went to see what was going on, and the man introduced himself as Charles Woodrow Pappe, an entrepreneur. Charles said he was trying to figure out why the stalls were different sizes and if this had something to do with the booming business at the restaurant. Troy explained that he lined up several cars from his friend's used car lot to lay out the stalls and that the varying stall sizes were not part of the business plan—the cars he used were different sizes. The two men hit it off after that, and Charles eventually became the first franchise owner of a Sonic Drive-In, in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1956. This burger variation is similar to the signature Sonic Burger, but with smoky BBQ sauce instead of mayo, and no pickle or sliced tomato.   

Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 large plain white hamburger bun
  • Butter-flavored spray or melted butter
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Kraft Hickory BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped iceberg lettuce
  • Do This
    • Instructions

      1. Shape the ground beef into a patty with approximately the same diameter as the bun. Cover the patty with wax paper and freeze it.

      2. When you're ready to prepare the burger, preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. 

      3. Spray some butter spray or spread a thin layer of melted butter on the top and bottom bun halves. Lightly brown the bun in the skillet or on the griddle, then set it aside.

      4. Cook the beef patty in the hot pan, and lightly season it with salt and pepper. Cook the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until done.

      5. As the patty cooks, build the burger by first spreading the BBQ sauce over the face of the bottom bun.

      6. Sprinkle the chopped onion over the sauce.

      7. Arrange the lettuce on the onion.

      8. When the beef is ready, stack it on the lettuce, and top off the sandwich with the top bun. If you'd like the bun warmer, microwave the burger on high for 10 to 15 seconds.

      Makes 1 burger.

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