Sonic Drive-In Hickory Burger Reduced-Fat copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Sonic Drive-In Hickory Burger Reduced-Fat

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Driving through Louisiana in 1953, Troy Smith happened upon a cozy hamburger stand that had installed an intercom system to speed up ordering. Troy adapted the idea for his small chain of burger joints and hired nimble servers to bring the food out to customers quickly. The concept was a smash, with revenues for the chain doubling during the first week. Sonic was cashing in on the growing popularity of the automobile. Customers parked their cars in a stall, rolled down the window, and ordered from a speaker. The food was then brought to the car on a tray by a roller-skating carhop with extraordinary balance.

Today, Sonic has rejuvenated the carhop concept by serving customers the same way as in the '50s: with individual car stalls, speakers, and waitresses on wheels. The company is America's largest drive-in hamburger chain with more than two thousand units rolling in 1999.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size–1 sandwich
Total servings–1
Calories per serving–400 (Original–314)
Fat per serving–10.5g (Original–15.7g)

Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 1/4 pound super lean ground beef (7% fat)
  • 1 large plain white hamburger bun
  • Fat-free butter-flavored spray
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Kraft Hickory BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped white onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped iceberg lettuce
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
      Sonic Drive-In
    • Instructions

      1. Form the ground beef into a thin circle the same diameter as the bun. Cover with wax paper and freeze.

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

      3. Spray a light coating of the butter spray over the face of the top and bottom bun. Brown the faces of the bun in the skillet, then remove them and set them aside.

      4. Place the beef patty into the hot pan and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cook 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 sandwich next.

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

      Makes 1 burger.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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