Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Delicious And Blissfully Messy Caesar Salad Burgers In Memory of The Split T in Oklahoma City

Years ago, when I would spend summers with my paternal grandparents in Oklahoma City, we used to go eat at a hamburger joint owned by a former OU football player, whose name has inexplicably erased itself from my brain. The place was called The Split T (in honor of the old college football play that is seldom used these days) and was located on Western Ave. in the older part of Okie City, just down the street from the biggest Catholic high school in OKC, Bishop McGuinness, which was on 50th. They only served their specialty burgers which included such delicacies as a Theta Burger and a Caesar Burger, as well as the best french fries you could find in Oklahoma City at the time, which was the early 1960's. Burgers, fries and Cokes ruled during this era. I seriously doubt that anyone could match those burgers and fries, to this day. But, I digress, since we always know how unreliable childhood memories can be, right?

Still, all these many years later, I catch myself comparing each and every burger and order of fries to my childhood memories of those that The Spit T cranked out. The place was phenomenal for its time, I assure you. Otherwise, how could it possibly stick so prominently in my mind, above all others? I mean, I was eating those burgers well into my teenage years, so my memory surely can't be that bad, right? Right? Hello?

A couple of years ago, Mr. Snoots and I traveled to Oklahoma for my family reunion and I couldn't wait to take him there. Sadly, it was gone, which made my heart sink into the pit of my stomach. I wanted one of their Caesar Burgers so badly that I could actually remember the taste of it. It made me produce buckets of drool, but don't dwell on that image, okay?

So, I turned around and made my way to the old Charcoal Oven, which was still located on Northwest Highway then. Unfortunately, they didn't offer Caesar Burgers so I had to compromise and order a boring old run-of-the-mill Theta sauce cheeseburger. I survived, but I still had Caesar Burgers locked into the somewhat-of-a-memory area of my brain.

Then one day, Voila! Eureka! At long last it dawned on me that I could at least make the burgers for us at home, even if I couldn't duplicate their french fries. However, no matter how good the Caesar dressing is, it just doesn't compare. I challenge all of you to make this burger perfect. Frankly, I didn't want to use ground veal but Mr. Snoots insisted so I eventually caved in. As an Ultimate Challenge, I present to you:

Caesar Salad (Veal) Burgers:

The Caesar Recipe:


1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved

3 squiggles (about an inch long each) anchovy paste, or to taste

2 egg yolks, coddled and slightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, freshly ground

1/4 teaspoon peppercorns, freshly ground

juice from 1 large lemon that is juicy (depending on the size, so adjust to taste)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 big fat cloves of garlic, or to taste, pulverized (we love garlic!)

homemade croutons (hubby makes his own but I can surely do without them on my burger, thank you!)

Since Mr. Snooty makes the Caesar in this household (his mom's recipe), then you must realize that he has improved this recipe many times over the last 30 years. This is as good as it gets.


1. Apply the anchovy paste directly to the sides of the bowl and add the torn pieces of Romaine lettuce.

2. Add the coddled egg, salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil, pulverized garlic, and shaved Parmesan cheese. Toss vigorously for approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

3. Top the grilled burgers with desired amount of Caesar salad and serve. I usually toast the buttered buns in the oven so that they are ready when the burgers come off the fire but you can also do them on the grill. I don't usually add cheese but it certainly doesn't detract from the overall deliciousness of the burger and it's really a complete meal, although you could add freshly made french fries for the bigger appetites.