We call counterfeit coins slugs; this sandwich filling is a culinary counterfeit posing as a burger. During the Great Depression, a lot of diners in the American South stretched patties of ground beef or pork with potato flour. These were deep-fried, giving them crispy exteriors and juicy insides, topped with mustard, slid between buns, and sold for a nickel, which back in that day were also called slugs.
John Weeks brought this recipe from Chicago to Corinth, Mississippi, in 1917. Weeks had his hamburger meat ground to specification by local butchers, which included potato flakes and flour. Originally called Weeksburgers, in the Fifties, soy grits replaced the potato and flour. Patties of the mix are fried in canola oil and served with mustard, dill pickles, and onions on a slider bun.
Slugburgers are very much a thing in Corinth, surrounding north Mississippi, and Alabama. Each year people from across the continent descend on Corinth for the annual Slugburger Festival, which began in 1988. For three weekend evenings in summer–its in July this year–the town celebrates the local culinary icon with music, a carnival, and The World Slugburger Eating Championship
For slugburgers, add two cups potato flakes and a cup of flour to one pound of ground beef, add a tablespoon each salt and pepper. Use your hands and mix very, very well. Form into patties, on the thin side. Some people—me included—dust the patties with flour before deep-frying in canola oil. Serve on a bun with mustard, pickles, onion, and a side of French fries or onion rings. This makes about 8 burgers.