What’s a Slugburger?
There is a camaraderie around Grillax Nation that exhibits regional pride about all types of grilled foods. Memphis or KC ribs? Texas or Carolina barbecue? And, of course, burgers.
There is a little town in Northeast Mississippi called Corinth, and it’s claim to fame is the Slugburger — a burger patty mixed with flour and soy meal and then deep fried until well done.
As the story goes, the Slugburger was invented by John Weeks back in 1917 in Corinth. The burgers were originally called Weeksburgers after its inventor. After years of creating the grainy burger, its taste and style of burger grew in popularity to mammoth portions in Corinth, it was renamed to Slugburger.
The new name was from the old slang word for nickel, which was the price of a burger during early U.S. war times and The Great Depression. Locals say if someone is particularly sensitive to fried food or if they over-indulge in Slugburgers, they may feel as if someone slugged them in the stomach and some residents believe this is the origin of the nickname.
The recipe was specifically designed to stretch ingredients further during the times in the U.S. with limited beef availability. The soy meal gives the burgers a tender interior, crunchy exterior and a hearty taste.
According to Main Street Corinth, Slugburgers should be served hot and eaten immediately. If they are not and particularly in the days when they were fried in lard, a cold Slugburger could bear some visual resemblance to the garden pest that is in the nickname.
Originally these hamburgers were made using potato flour as an extender. Today, the beef mixture contains soybean grits. The Slugburger is made into small patties, which are fried in canola oil. They are traditionally served topped with mustard, dill pickles, and onions on a small 5-inch hamburger bun.
- Cooking oil or liquid shortening, for frying
- 10 loaves day-old white bread, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 gallon beef stock
- 5 pounds ground beef
- 50 hamburger buns, steamed (get ready to feed the neighborhood)
- 15 to 20 sweet Vidalia onions, chopped
- Cayenne mix
- 1/2 cup cayenne pepper
- 4 teaspoons hot paprika
- 4 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- Pinch of sea salt
- Preheat a deep fryer with cooking oil to 350 degrees F. You can also use a cast-iron skillet and fill halfway with cooking oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the crumbled bread. In a small mixing bowl, combine the salt, pepper and onion powder. Gradually add the seasoning mix to the bread, mixing until evenly distributed. Gradually pour the beef stock over the bread, mixing until the bread is moist and all of the liquid is absorbed. Add the ground beef and knead until thoroughly mixed.
- Take a handful of the mixture and roll it into a ball, then flatten out into patty and place it on a clean surface to flatten out to about a 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Fry the patties until cooked to desired crispiness, from 1 to 5 minutes.
- On each steamed hamburger bun, add a fried patty, some mustard, chopped onions and cayenne mix for heat.