“I was always trying to perfect the at-home Krystal burger. I call mine the C-h-r-i-s-tal,” Chris Poston said.
“I spent a lot of time playing around with the shape, trying to make them square. But then I realized that wasn’t as important as the taste,” said Poston, senior vice president of Traton Homes, a leading new homebuilder at 720 Kennesaw Ave., off the Marietta Square.
The Poston family came to Atlanta from Valdosta in 1939 when Poston’s grandfather, Red, was promoted in his insurance job. Red and his wife, Nellie Clifford Gibson Poston, moved to Smyrna in 1952 to start Poston Realty & Insurance, later known as Poston, Guthrie and Fowler. In 1971, Clifford and her sons, Bill (Poston’s father) and Milburn and daughter, Marian started Traton Homes after Red’s death in 1963.
“The reason I love the (original Krystal burger) is the mushy bread. That was always my favorite part—the softness of the bread and that squishy onion mixture you always end up with,” said Poston, who is married to Melissa. The Marietta residents have two children Lauren, 7, and Christopher, 4.
Poston, who prepares the burger on a griddle, achieves the taste by steaming the bread during the cooking process and presoaking the onions, which lets off water. “That’s what gets you that mushy bread,” he said.
Using 80 to 85 percent lean ground chuck or sirloin is another key to taste. “You have to get the higher fat meat. Unfortunately, you can’t be as healthy when you’re making (Christals),” Poston said.
“The key is the right meat and the steaming at the end when you place the burger in the bag,” Poston said.
Poston and brother Clif have enjoyed cooking lessons at Rathbun’s Restaurant in Atlanta where “they teach you to think like a cook. I like cooking that way,” he said.
“I screwed up a lot of lot hamburgers trying to get the flavor of the Krystal I wanted. That’s my favorite thing about cooking is the trial and error. Keep trying until you get what you want,” he said.
“For all those people who can’t get their Krystal fix anymore, this is the way to get it at home,” Poston said.
80 – 85% lean ground chuck or sirloin
American cheese deli slice
Kings Hawaiian dinner rolls (or any other smaller bun) Pre-slice before you begin cooking
1 cup of water
Dill pickle slice
Griddle preheated to medium to medium high heat
Place diced onions in water and microwave for about 2 minutes until slightly soft. Take ¼ cup measuring cup and scoop slightly heaping scoop of hamburger meat for patties. Place the scooped balls of meat on a plate for future use. Place a tablespoon (or just a pinch) of onions on the griddle. Place the ball of hamburger meat on top of the onion and mash it flat with your hand. The flatter the better. Cook until about ½ way cooked through, and then flip the burger patty along with the onions. Place the top of the bun down onto the patty and put the bottom of the bun on top of that. Pour about 2 to 3 tablespoons of water around the burger to create steam. Lift up bun and place ½ slice of cheese on top of burger and return the bun to top of burger. Take your spatula and remove the burger from the griddle and slide the bottom part of the bun underneath. (For true Krystal replica add 1 pickle slice and a squirt of mustard) Place the finished burger into the bag it came in or another sealable bag. This will allow the burger to steam. Enjoy.