One of the things we do right in Oklahoma (setting aside all food created in foreign countries and faithfully reproduced here) is beef. Yes, for all our cultural failings in the buckle of the Bible Belt, we make pretty good burgers and steaks. In the heart of Oklahoma City, about a 20 minute drive from where I’m currently writing this, is the historic “Stockyards City,” which still functions to this day. So you know it’s fresh!
In case you were wondering, the title of this article is a compliment. I wouldn’t dare name anything “the best burger in Oklahoma.” I guarantee that’s a major point of contention, mainly because there are so many different types! There’s the classic cheeseburger, onion burgers, chili burgers, some with sausage mixed into the ground beef. Some are served with thin, burned to a crisp patties, others with juicy, organic beef. There’s a different burger for every taste, so saying one is “the best” is like naming a favorite child. So please, let’s not. Even if there’s one you happen to prefer, the hope is that they’re all special in their own way. Having cleared that up, it is easy to say that S&B’s Burger Joint does have the weirdest, wackiest, and really most creative burgers I’ve had in or out of Oklahoma.
The place is located in the ground floor of one of the more unassuming office buildings in the city. It shares a parking lot with Best Buy and Home Depot. Needless to say, I hadn’t heard of it until this year. The first thing you’ll notice is the fun, kind of dive-y atmosphere. The bar is plastered with old Rolling Stone covers, Johnny Cash blares on the sound system, and there’s even a set-up for a DJ, though I never found out when they ever have occasion to use it.
The real reason to go to this place, though, is the menu. They have basically done for burgers what Big Truck Tacos did for tacos. It’s all creative, experimental, fun stuff that we don’t often think of putting on a burger. There’s the classic Oklahoma-invented Theta (mayo, hickory sauce, pickles, cheddar), and a whole host of other, more exotic burgers such as The Frenchman (mushrooms, Swiss, fried onions & French onion sauce), and The Asian (gingered onions, lettuce, tomato, miso-soy glaze & wasabi mayo). They offer the burgers in standard size or as sliders so you can try several. With the variety to choose from, sliders are probably your best bet. Though they have salads, your only options for sides are all fried, including sweet potato fries (yum) and fried spicy cheese cubes (questionable). There are even wine and beer pairings specific to each burger! Ah, to be twenty-one…
Anyway, while the family tried some sliders like The Columbian (sea salt & coffee crusted with smoked cheddar, avocado, & cilantro lime salsa) and The Chili Lime (chili paste, cheddar crisp, avacado cream & cilantro lime coleslaw), I went out on a limb. Yes, knowing I’d be writing about it, I got The Elvis. This appears to be your standard burger: lettuce, tomato, patty, but oh no. Beneath the bun, over a meaty crucifix of bacon, it’s slathered in peanut butter. I don’t know who came up with this strange concoction, seeming to push the boundaries of human decency. But while the parents didn’t like it, I have to admit it worked for me. Something about the sweet, sticky, fatty veneer of peanut butter enhanced the smoky meatfest of burger and bacon. I felt guilty enough after eating this that I decided to atone for my sins by doing some pushups, squats and lunges. That part I don’t recommend.
Beyond burgers and terribly mistimed exercise, the best part of the meal might have been dessert. S&B’s serves homemade pies (the menu claims they’re made daily, and urges you to order before they sell out), which on our visit included key lime, chocolate, and banana cream. We went with the banana cream, and all I can say is YUM. Imagine a banana split with wonderful, crumbly crust and a towering layer of whipped cream. Need I say more?
All in all, I would highly recommend S&B’s. The atmosphere may be a little funky for some, and I don’t know if you have any choice about the burgers being cooked a touch past “well-done.” But it’s definitely unique, and well-worth a drive up the dreaded May Avenue. Where else are you going to get a burger with peanut butter? You certainly shouldn’t try this at home.
*S&B’s Burger Joint is open for lunch and dinner daily