Sonic Drive-In Jalapeno Burger
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Sonic Drive-In Jalapeno Burger

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By 1978 there were more than 800 Sonic Drive-Ins in 13 states, but throughout the 1960s and 1970s there were no standardized procedures in place for franchisees. Recipes varied from restaurant to restaurant, so loyal customers never knew what their burger would taste like when visiting a new location. This inconsistency caused a sharp decline in business, and by the 1980s Sonic was in trouble. A new management team came on board in the mid-'80s and established standard franchise procedures and a Sonic Management School that turned the company around. Sonic redesigned all stores with a "retro-future" look, and today business is booming. These days a jalapeno burger that you purchase in Seattle, Washington, is guaranteed to look and taste the same as one purchased near Sonic's headquarters in Oklahoma City. How many jalapeno slices can you handle on your burger? Now you can find out.

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 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 6 to 10 bottled jalapeno slices (nacho slices)
  • 1/3 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 mustard over the face of the bottom bun.

      6. Arrange the jalapeno slices on the mustard.

      7. Arrange the lettuce on the jalapeno slices.

      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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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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