Burgers | Who Doesn’t Love a Good Burger?

Burgers | Who Doesn’t Love a Good Burger?

Before you even take the first bite, your taste buds are tantalized by the juiciness of the perfectly cooked patty. The crisp, fresh smell of the vegetables enters your nose and your mouth waters at the tanginess of the pickles. This must be the best hamburger you’ve ever eaten!

Nothing screams All-American like the hamburger!

Without argument or doubt, the burger is an American classic. Who doesn’t remember 4th of July barbecues with the hamburgers right off the grill or a greasy diner burger with those to-die-for milkshakes when growing up?

While the origin of this fine cuisine, one of the most popular and widespread foods in the US, is still ardently contested, though its popularity and appeal are not up for debate. In some way, shape, or form, the burger can be found on almost every menu, from roadside stands to the five-star Michelin restaurants.”.

How Many Burgers Do the American People Eat?

According to PBS, more than 50 billion burgers are sold each year in the U.S. alone. If you do the math, that is approximately 3 burgers a week per person (I know a few people who eat that in one sitting). Made from beef, turkey, salmon, soy, and such, and whether you buy it served in a paper wrapper or on a silver platter, the burger continues to permeate our society.

America will produce more than 28 billion pounds of beef in the upcoming year. Approximately 12.5 billion pounds of this will be for hamburgers!

That is more than 38 pounds of hamburger meat per person! Just imagine that in one burger!

World Wide Fame from Humble Beginnings

It isn’t just the patriotic American devouring this delicacy either. The French have dubbed it “le hamburger,” and it is sold at three-quarters of all restaurants. Australia, Britain, and Russia all have their takes on the classic, while South Africa is rapidly catching up with the fascination of the burger chain franchises!

In recent years, while sandwich sales have gone down by as much as 2 percent, hamburger sales have gone up by 3 percent. The burger has more than proven its ability to stand the test of time!

Without question, the burger is the most popular food in the United States.

But one must ask…where did the hamburger come from? Who invented it? And HOW did it become SO popular?

The History of the Hamburger

While so much regarding the origins of the hamburger is up for debate, some details have proven to stand the test of time.

This topic is taken so seriously that even the Library of Congress has weighed in on the fact!

The true history of a hamburger is hard to obtain because there is a lack of written records on the subject and because much of the history is linked to the fast-paced vendors of the World Fair that occurred at that time.

It’s All In the Name

The name for the hamburger found its roots in the small town of Hamburg, Germany. In the 19th century, German and Austrian cooks began forming patties from ground beef and serving it like a steak.

Immigrants brought this version to America in the early 19th century. New York restaurants jazzed up the recipe a bit, and it wasn’t long until it was the most expensive item on the menu!

Interestingly enough, during World War II, the hamburger was alternatively called the “Liberty Sandwich” to avoid using the German name.

One thing is for sure – the New York Tribune put the hamburger on the map in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair when it was mentioned as “the innovation of a food vendor on the pike.”

In 2000, the Library of Congress officially named Louis Lassen as the creator of what we know as the hamburger. As many stories seem to go, it is said that Louis had run out of his typically preferred meal and substituted. He used ground beef trimmings pressed together and grilled, then placed between bread. However, hamburger fanatics across the country still dispute this claim.

As early as 1885, Charles Nagreen is alleged to have put meatballs between bread at the fair in Wisconsin. Yet, true connoisseurs will state this resembles the modern-day meatball sub more than a hamburger.

Another well-known claim comes from Ohio, where Frank Menches and his partner had run out of their pork sausages and used ground beef as a substitute. After adding a few ingredients and placing it between bread, these vendors have a large stake in the claim of the original patty. However, with no written record and many contradicting details, this claim is still undocumented.

As Varied as the American People

The general consensus is that the hamburger was a solid part of American cuisine by the turn of the 19th century and continues to grow in popularity faster than the years could count. The hamburger primarily consisted of some form of ground meat product between two slices of bread (the origin of the bun is a debate for another day!).

There are countless variations on what would have otherwise appeared to be a humble and simple meal. Fast-food restaurants held the stage for decades serving up a basic meat patty topped with a bun along with ketchup and mustard.

Recently, however, gourmet restaurants have taken the industry by storm! Burgers have become the latest rage, boasting garnishes like a fried egg, caviar, specialty cheeses, roasted peppers, and one-of-a-kind sauces.

The patty itself can range from the typical ground beef to a more exotic offering like buffalo, turkey, ostrich, salmon, veggies, soy, or even lobster!

The hamburger itself almost mimics the timeless American dream. A food of simple beginnings continuously being reinvented to be something more, something better, all while maintaining its true roots and therefore being undeniably reliable.

The Burger’s Road to Fame

In 1917, John Weeks first introduced the Chicago area to the burger. At the time, they sold for a nickel each. Nickels were often referred to in slang as a “slug,” and therefore, the nickname “slugburger” was born.

White Castle can lay claim to the oldest burger chain in American history. Starting back in 1921, they sold their burgers at 5 cents each! They would later create the renowned slider! Not only does White Castle have the claim of the oldest burger chain but also the first hamburger chain in America!

In 1924, Lionel Sternberger would create the cheeseburger, and by 1931, burgers found their way to comic history with the well-known J. Wellington Wimpy or “Wimpy”.

Fast-food was Born

While the McDonald brothers opened their first restaurant in 1937, it would be 11 years later before the iconic brand we know today would be born. The restaurant was closed for three months before reopening as a drive-thru with a simple menu of hamburgers, chips, and drinks.

Later, as French fries and Coca-Cola were added to the already successful assembly line strategy, McDonald’s would find its success! The first franchise started in 1953.

McDonald’s coined their system the “Speedee Service System,” which is what would birth the drive-in concept. The idea of receiving your food in your car became a trend for the American people and further spread McDonald’s popularity.

In 1954, Burger King would begin its rise to fame, and by 1957 the franchise had introduced the “Whopper” as a bigger and better specialty burger.

“Ronald McDonald” would become the franchise mascot for McDonald’s in 1963, and the “Big Mac” would begin to grace the menus from 1968.

The following year, Dave Thomas would deem he had what it takes and started up the modern-day Wendy’s to challenge McDonald’s. While many fast-food chains have themselves come under fire for various missteps over the years, the hamburger itself has remained a top choice!

In 1996, famous French chef Daniel Boulud would present the first-ever gourmet burger called the DB burger. The burger sold at the time for $32.00.

Burgers Stand the Test of Time

Whether it was through catchy phrases, toe-tapping tunes, or celebrities digging down, advertising has had its hand in the burger industry from the beginning. Yet, the burger’s timeless presence can be broken down into three main principles.

The burger is versatile. From the fast-food industry to the palace courts, the burger can be framed for any customer. The toppings are limitless, and the patties can be made from anything your imagination can create.

The burger can suit any budget. From McDonald’s famous dollar menu to the $5000 burger at Fleur in Las Vegas, there is a burger for every wallet!

The burger is convenient. Walking down the street, sitting at a table, or stuck in traffic, the burger can be eaten anywhere, anytime, and in any way!

The Big Burger, the Different Burger, the Extreme Burger

So, what about the record-breaking burgers? The biggest, the strangest, the most expensive?

Guinness World Records attributes the world’s largest hamburger to a group of Germans from Pilsting, Germany, in 2017. The burger weighed in at 1,164.2 kg (2, 566 lb 9 oz). However, this was a one-off event.

If you are searching for the biggest burger you can buy, you will need to head over to Mallie’s Sports Grill and Bar in Southgate, Detroit, Michigan. Their monster of a burger weighs in at 1,774 lbs and can be purchased if you give them three days’ notice and $7,799.00.

The most expensive normal-sized burger finds its home in Fleur restaurant of Las Vegas, located inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

This burger comes in at a whopping $5,000.00. Its ingredients? Wagyu beef, seared foie gras, and black truffle shavings are a sampling of the ingredients the chef is willing to divulge. This trickster is served with a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus bringing the actual value of this burger down to $70!

The truly most expensive burger (if we are going for the burger alone) is New York’s Douche Burger. This will set you back a total of $666. Made from a Kobe beef patty, it is topped with lobster, caviar, foie gras, and truffles, wrapped in 6 layers of gold leaf and (you will never have guessed it) 3 $100 bills! Your total…$366 (but I would wash that money first!).

If you are looking for a burger to break the bank without all the extra trimmings, look no further than New York’s Midtown Beer & Buns at St. Giles Court Hotel. This delicious Kobe beef patty is topped with caviar, white truffles, foie gras, and pancetta, rounding off the price at $250.

Are you more of the adventurer type? Take a look at Shortlist.com for some of the world’s strangest burgers. A black bun fried frog burger tops the list, while a cronut burger might be more your fancy!

But truly, you don’t need to go far to find great, high-quality, tasty burgers! Check out these top burger joints right here in Central Indiana!

Local Burger Delights

1. Oasis Diner

405 W. Main Street
Plainfield, Indiana 46168

Bite down into premium half-pound black Angus beef served on a brioche bun. With your choice of side and a pickle spear, you will not go wrong!

2. Jimmy’s Diner

3301 Shelby Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46227
Facebook- Jimmy’s Diner Shelby Street

Jimmy’s Diner is letting you create your dream burger by offering you 16 oz of beef on grilled bread and adding your own toppings!

3. Rohde’s Family Diner

1644 Orinoco Ave
Columbus, Indiana 47201

Rohde’s family diner is serving old-fashioned diner food, so you can’t go wrong with the classics! Half-pound and quarter-pound burgers will complement their homemade onion rings any day!

A Few More Things About Burgers

You can find a burger in just about any country, but the best hamburgers are sure to be right here in the US.

Toppings can vary from the ordinary ketchup and pickle to the extreme caviar and gold dust, but I’m sure you’ll find the best burger for your tastes and budget!

The Region Burger is a great place to check out in the Chicago area for this year’s National Hamburger Day. You will regret not having stopped in sooner! Just remember they are closed on Tuesdays!

If you are with us from the east coast, why don’t you grab a table at Brooke’s Sandwich House? But be careful, they are only open until 5 p.m.

Carm & Gia Metropolitan has taken Colorado by storm, and you won’t want to miss out on their specialty! Burgers are taking up a large part of the menu, and you will probably have a hard time choosing! Why don’t you get two?

Chez Fonfon is taking reservations in Birmingham if you are in the area! Their burgers are one of a kind and will have you coming back for more!

That’s A Wrap

As toppings and meat options get more extreme, so do the sizes and the prices.

Inexpensive or breaking the bank, pickles or not, beef or vegan; there is a burger out there for everyone!

Not interested in going out? Why don’t you check out some of these burger recipes for yourself and make a day of it at home?!

Have a favorite burger place you’d like to include in our list? Contact us, and we’ll add it to our next list!!

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