Slugburger! Ok, the first thing to establish is the meaning of ‘slug.’ No relation to slimy members of the phylum Mollusca. This delicious burger was ginned up during the Great Depression when it sold for a slug, aka, a nickel. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s get on with the prep of this little-known treat.
The Origin of the Slugburger
The existence of the Slugburger was brought to my attention by a FaceBook friend who wishes to remain anonymous, so we’ll just call him “Art J” for short. Art J hails from the birthplace of slugdom. That’s Corinth. Not the one in Greece, the one in Mississippi. And people in Corinth love them some slugburgers and after testing the living daylights outta this recipe I understand their devotion to the humble slug.
If you find yourself in Corinth slugburgers are served up at The Slugburger Cafe and White Trolley Cafe along with other venues. There is even an upcoming festival over July 4th weekend.
Themes & Variations
To use a musical expression there are themes and variations. The theme is meat stretched with filler. The variations are the kinds of meat – hamburger or pork; and the filler – bread crumbs or cornmeal, all fried up and served on a bun. I even made my own variation by serving it bunless with a side of hominy cooked with some chopped onion & red bell pepper.
And every single version tasted good so let’s get started:
What you need:
- ground chuck or pork
- salt, pepper & onion powder
- oil for frying (any kind)
- buns, pickles, & mustard
Get your ingredients together and mix gently with wet hands, roll into balls, then press out into patties as you see below:
Don’t overwork the meat and please note the irregular shapes of the patties. Perfectly round is not where it’s at with the slugburger. Those little craggy edges fry up as crispy as a potato chip so you don’t want to miss that extra flavor. If you do decide to accessorize with actual chips go for the Zapp’s which I’m linking here for totally free since they are the best chips on the planet, especially the Creole Onion & Pickle flavors. Just sayin’….
I was a little short on breadcrumbs so it only made seven burgers but a full cup would yield eight.
Pork v. Chuck
Ok, on this one I come out firmly for pork. They are both delicious but the pork version is utterly delicious so it wins the Carrie prize.
Crumbs v. Cornmeal
This one’s a wash. I think most people will prefer the crumbs but the cornmeal filler was surprisingly good. The graininess rocked a sort of falafel-like vibe. Reminded me of Dror, the little Israeli falafel cart guy that dished out deliciousness down in Greenwich Village back in the day. Try both or try one when you don’t have the other ingredient on hand.
You can see the previously mentioned Slugburger with Hominy below. And last night I used the final defrosted slugburger fried up, broken into pieces and tossed into spaghetti sauce. Tasted great too!
Things you can eat with a Slugburger
Besides Zapp’s chips and/or hominy, salads make a great side and Baton Rouge’s own Sensation Salad is good.
or a Spinach salad with blue cheese:
So that’s a wrap folks! If you miss the festival you can whip this up at home and enjoy.
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (or cornmeal)
- 1 lb. ground pork or hamburger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion (or garlic) powder
- ½ teaspoon celery salt (optional but good)
- vegetable oil for frying
- hamburger buns, pickles & mustard
- Lightly toast about 6 or 7 slices of white bread, crumble and whiz for a second in a food processor. If you are using the cornmeal as a filler add a couple of tablespoons of warm water to soften it up. Just enough to make a paste. You don't want it to be watery.
- Wet your hands and work the filler and flavorings into the meat, roll into balls and flatten. Don't overwork the meat. It should just be loosely rolled together.
- Fry in about half an inch of oil, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove & drain.
- Serve on a toasted bun with mustard and pickles.
Lilly Lavoisier says
The burger might be delicious, but, the association with slugs is an awful idea.
I’m not a bit of interest in trying the recipe.
Carine Clary says
Sorry Lilly! You’re missing out, but there are lots more recipes on my site with more socially acceptable handles. Give one of those a try!
Mark Boehler says
The slug reference has to do when the burger cost five cents, like a slug nickel, when a real beef burger cost 10 cents. Corinth, Miss. continues to play up the slugburger today for the uniqueness and the festival. Area towns call it a cereal burger or a dough burger, but slugburger is the common reference. There are no slugs in the burger and never have been. The debate locally is now much pork, beef and what type of filler to use.
Carine Clary says
Thanks for the background! It does have an interesting back story, but mostly it just tastes great.