Solving the onion ring/burger conundrum...
December 5, 2018 1:26 AM   Subscribe

I love burgers, I love onions, so onion rings on burgers should be perfect, right? But expectation verses reality is always a problem.

I really like onions on burgers, but not raw, or in relish form. You might think that onion rings and burgers would be a great combination, but reality always intrudes. You take the first bite out of your burger, and a long strand of onion comes out, like a worm out of an apple. Sure the crunchy ring is ok, but it's not the same.

So I tried what many recipes call an onion patty. It's batter with a bunch of onions mixed in, and I end up with what should be described as an onion pancake. Not bad, but not what I was looking for.

I'd like to get something like a tater tot, but made with onions, not potatoes. I've tried a few tater tot recipes substituting in onions, but the experiments come out badly. I'm guessing the starch in the potato is the glue that holds it together.

Anyone ever seen a recipe for an "onion tot" that just onions?
posted by Marky to Food & Drink (21 answers total)
 
I reckon if you tossed the onion rings in a thin coating of seasoned cornflour and then lightly fried them they'd be pretty good.
posted by h00py at 1:39 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


I'm with h00py, though I might try not onion rings, but a full (very thin) slice of onion, tossed in seasoned cornstarch, fried until crisp and golden. I've tried making onion tots before (I really like onions) and have never been especially successful.
posted by mishafletch at 2:11 AM on December 5


You could chop your onion rings into a few separate pieces before battering and frying, to prevent the onion snake phenomenon from happening.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:38 AM on December 5 [10 favorites]


I think I'd start with classic Indian Onion Bhaji recipes. Really good on their own, really crispy and can be formed into a patty instead of a ball. Clearly doesn't need to be Indian spices, you can adjust the spicing and seasoning to your preferences.

Now I'm hungry
posted by michswiss at 2:47 AM on December 5 [7 favorites]


Ooh, another idea. Really simple. Fried shallots. No need for a batter. Just thinly slice some whole shallots into rings. Separate the rings into pieces. Fry in a neutral oil until lightly browned. Drain on some paper towels and season with salt.

Crispy, oniony topping for your burger.
posted by michswiss at 3:00 AM on December 5 [9 favorites]


Alton has suggested leek rings instead of onion rings for all of your deep fried allium goodness.
posted by koolkat at 3:10 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


I would try chopping the onions, then freezing them in a ring shape ( or whatever shape you want) before battering and frying. You might even want to freeze them after battering so that the batter doesn't burn before the onions are warm and/or cooking the onion a little before freezing
posted by missmagenta at 3:21 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


You want fried onion strings, not fried onion rings. You get all the crunch and flavor of the onion ring without sucking the soft core out by accident. It helps if you can mix them into melted cheese to keep them in place.
posted by Candleman at 3:36 AM on December 5 [12 favorites]


This is true of a lot of burger toppings (bacon strips, tomato slices), and the solution is to make the topping smaller. For bacon, use bacon bits instead. For tomatoes, use diced tomatoes. For onion rings, the little fried onion straws are the obvious replacement, although the suggestion of cutting up your onion ring into a few pieces before putting it on your burger will also work.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:46 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


Have you tried cutting your Onion Rings into pieces before putting them on the burger?
posted by STFUDonnie at 4:39 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


That’s why haystack onions are the better burger topper, besides being generally tastier. I’d quarter the onion slices before battering to make sure they’re bite size. I don’t really see your onion tot idea having satisfactory results.
posted by catatethebird at 4:51 AM on December 5


I once had a burger topped with the same crispy caramelized shallots you get on Vietnamese dishes and it was incredible.
posted by Mizu at 5:26 AM on December 5


Nthing onion straws/haystack onions/crispy shallots.

Also caramelized onions. TRULY caramelized onions. I can't stand raw onions on a burger but will do semi-unspeakable things to get caramelized onions on a burger.
posted by cooker girl at 5:39 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Sounds like a job for onion straws!
posted by tomboko at 6:12 AM on December 5


There's always this recipe which has you forming the beef on top of a pile of onion then griddling. The full recipe is obscured (pay site) but the description alone should get you on the right track.
posted by komara at 6:50 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


The crispy fried onions part of this recipe seems like it would be perfect for your needs. I can vouch for them being delicious!
posted by Empidonax at 7:15 AM on December 5


I’ve had the exact burger you always hoped to have. The secret to the onion rings is that they have to be incredibly thin, like three millimeters or so, and they need to be from the out edge of the onion, where the layers are the thinnest. Battered and deep fried, they’re thin enough that they can be bitten through with little difficult. Incredible burger experience.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:55 AM on December 5


Have you considered those crispy onions-in-a-can people put on green bean casserole? It is possible to DIY these but it's a hassle.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:34 AM on December 5


I also came here to suggest fronch-fried onions. Or just funyuns.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:48 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Kenji's* technique for dealing with the "worm" problem is to freeze and thaw the onion slices - that makes the onion tender and also makes it easy to peel off the membrane between each layer.

*Kenji Lopez-Alt, aka "The Food Lab"

posted by O9scar at 11:48 AM on December 5


at in-n-out they'll sell you a burger that has small-chopped caramelized onions applied as a topping. The caramelized onion bits are basically glued to the inside of the bun with melted cheese.

The same principle would hold with crunchier onions (whether raw or bread+fried.) The idea is you need to have them in tiny bits first, so that bites can be taken without interference with each other. Then you can apply them - even in a thick layer - ideally glued in place with another condiment.

What you're talking about, an onion tot, could be achieved, but I don't think it would be worth the trouble. You'd have to chop and caramelized the onions; then form them into a patty with some sort of condiment glue, probably a roux or cheese mixture; then separately cook this patty; then put this patty into the burger and glue it in. Better to just get the onions in there and glue the whole burger together rather than make a separate onion entity first.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:05 PM on December 5


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