In the United States, the hamburger is one of the staples when it comes to American cuisine. In fact, other countries identify America with the hamburger, as it is one of the cultural icons in the US. A hamburger is considered a sandwich. It is usually made of cooked patties of ground meat, usually beef, that is placed in a sliced bread roll or bun. Burger patties can be grilled, smoked, pan-fried, or flame-broiled. Most of the time, hamburgers contain lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, bacon, and onion. Condiments are also added, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, mustard, or a special sauce. When a hamburger is topped with cheese, it is also called a cheeseburger.
The term “burger” can be applied to the meat patty itself, especially in the United Kingdom, where they do not use or rarely use the term “patty.” It can even refer to ground beef. The term hamburger usually implies beef. Therefore, to be clear, some are prefixed with the type of meat used, such as veggie burger, beef burger, chicken burger, or bison burger.
Hamburgers can be bought at diners, fast-food restaurants, and as well as high-end restaurants. Many grocery stores or wholesale retailers like Sam’s Club or Costco sell frozen hamburgers. There are also different versions of hamburgers in different places all over the world.
Different Claims for the Invention of the Hamburger
In our post about The Early History of Hamburgers, we’ve tackled the possible origins of the hamburger, which includes Asian to European origins. But still, the origin of the hamburger is unclear. This is because there are many claims of its invention. With this, let us take a look at the different claims of burger invention.
Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro states that the hamburger was first created by Louis Lassen in America in 1900. He was a Danish immigrant who owns Louis’ Lunch in New Haven. It is a small lunch wagon that was also believed to have sold the first hamburger and steak sandwich in the United States.
The story was that a customer ordered a quick hot meal in his store, but Louis was out of steaks. What he did was he took ground beef trimmings, made a patty, and grilled it. After that, he placed the patty between two slices of toast. However, according to critics, this was not a hamburger, but a sandwich since the bread used was toasted.
We have an article about the History of American Hamburgers, which talks about Charlie Nagreen. He was known to be the one to sell the first hamburger in 1885 at the Seymour Fair. He was credited by the Seymour Community Historical Society of Seymour, Wisconsin, and is now known as “Hamburger Charlie” because of the invention. He was fifteen when he was reportedly selling pork sandwiches at the fair. These sandwiches are made of a meatball between two slices of bread. Based on the Historical Society, Charlie Nagreen named the hamburger after the Hamburg steak, which is familiar with German immigrants.
White Castle, on the other hand, believes that Otto Kuase was the inventor of the hamburger. It’s because, in 1891, he made a beef patty cooked in butter and topped with a fried egg. Later on, German sailors omitted the fried egg.
Oscar Weber Bilby
The family of Oscar Weber Bilby also claims that the very first hamburger on a bun was served on Grandpa Oscar’s farm on July 4, 1891, and a yeast bun was used. Governor Frank Keating declared that the first true hamburger on a bun was made and eaten in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1891, and called Tulsa the real birthplace of the hamburger.
Frank and Charles Menches
Frank and Charles Menches claim to have sold a ground beef sandwich in 1885 in Hamburg, New York, during the Erie Country Fair. They said that during that time, they ran out of pork sausage for their sandwiches and decided to substitute it with beef. Their story also notes that the name of the hamburger was from Hamburg, New York, and not Hamburg, Germany.
Fletcher Davis from Athens, Texas, also claimed to have invented the hamburger. Based on oral histories, he opened a lunch counter in Athens in the 1880s where he served a burger of fried ground beef patties with mustard and onion between two slices of bread. In 1904, he and his wife ran a sandwich stand at the St. Louis World’s Fair. There was also a photo of Old Dave’s Hamburger Stand from 1904 as evidence of the claim.
There are indeed lots of claims for the invention of the hamburger. But no matter which of these is true, we are still thankful that it was introduced to the world. If you want to learn more about the history of hamburgers, you can also read our article about Burger Facts and History.
Different Types of Hamburgers
While beef is the main choice when making burger patties, some are using alternatives too. You can check out our list of Alternative Hamburger Meat Choices for some ideas. As mentioned earlier, there are different variations of hamburgers in different parts of the world. Here are some of them:
This hamburger has a patty that is made of half ground bacon and half ground beef. It is developed by Scott Slater for Slater’s 50/50 restaurant in California. In addition to that, there’s also another variety that is made of half kangaroo meat and half bacon.
This is a hamburger that is made using beef from Angus cattle, which is native to the counties of Angus and Aberdeenshire in Scotland. Many fast-food hamburger chains use the term “Angus burger” for one or more premium burgers that they offer. The term does not belong to a particular brand or company. There are also many sellers of pre-made frozen Angus burger patties out there.
This hamburger variation is popular in Australia and New Zealand. Some of its ingredients include canned beetroot, pineapple, and fried egg.
Bacon cheeseburger originated in some All-American Restaurants, in Lansing, Michigan in 1963. It is basically a hamburger with bacon and cheese. On the other hand, hamburgers with bacon but do not have cheese may be referred to as bacon burgers.
This type of burger originated in Toronto, Canada. Francis Deck is credited as the inventor of this burger variation. It was originally called Forest Hill burger. It is usually served in two pieces. The meat and cheese are on the bottom bun, while the vegetables are on the top bun.
This type of burger is prepared with ground beef, mixed with barbecue sauce and onions, and then grilled. After turning once, barbecue sauce will be added on top and grill until it caramelizes. The buns are also buttered and spread with some barbecue sauce before being toasted on the grill.
This type of hamburger originated in Denmark. It has the elements of a cooked ground beef patty that is placed inside a sliced bread roll. Most of the time, they can be bought from hotdog stands, traditional fast-food stores, and in traditional Danish restaurants.
A cheeseburger is simply a hamburger accompanied with melted cheese. In restaurants, American cheese is usually added to hamburgers. But there are times when other types of cheese are used, including blue cheese, Swiss cheese, pepper jack, cheddar, and mozzarella.
This one came from the Greek burger restaurants in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the 1950s. It usually consists of one or more patties, chili sauce, dill pickles, lettuce, tomato, and lots of mustard and mayonnaise. It is also often served with fresh-cut fries.
This burger variety was invented in Uncle Joe’s Hamburger in Seoul, South Korea. It looks like a typical hamburger, but kimchi is added in its preparation.
This can either be a hamburger or a cheeseburger that is prepared with one or more glazed doughnuts in place of the bun.
Rice burger is created in Japan by MOS Burger. In this type, the buns are replaced with rice cake. It was introduced by the fast-food restaurant chain in 1987 and become very popular in East Asia.
For places that are rich in different kinds of fish, like Alaska, they are used as an alternative to beef hamburgers. A salmon burger is made of fishcake that is made mostly from salmon in the style of a hamburger. It is also a great choice for those who are looking for a healthier alternative.
This type of burger is also called a garden burger or tofu burger. It usually uses a meat analog, which is a meat substitute like textured vegetable protein, seitan, Quorn, tofu, grains, beans, or a mix of different vegetables that are ground up and formed into patties. This is a great way for vegetarians to enjoy hamburgers. If you want to know if it’s worth it, read our post, Does a Veggie Burger Satisfy Like a Beef Burger?
These are just some of the different types of hamburgers that you can find all over the world. In fact, many people love to experiment when it comes to making burger patties. If you’d like to try making hamburgers at home, maybe our post, How Is Hamburger Made?, might help you.
Biggest Hamburger Chains in the World
In the present time, almost all fast-food chains and restaurants offer hamburgers on their menu. Around the United States, there are lots of fast-food hamburger chains that you can visit to enjoy different hamburger flavors. If you are looking for the best ones to try, check out our list of the Top 10 Burger Chains in the U.S. for options. If you want to look at the bigger picture and learn about the top burger restaurants in the whole world, then here’s a list of the biggest hamburger chains in the world.
McDonald’s is the top burger chain in the world and also the second-largest fast-food chain. The very first McDonald’s restaurant opened in 1940 in San Bernardino, California. Their signature burger is the Big Mac, which has been on their menu since 1968. At the present time, there are more than 38,000 McDonald’s restaurants in 119 countries around the world. You can read The History of McDonald’s for more information about how it became very successful.
Next to McDonald’s is Burger King, which is the second-biggest burger chain in the world. It is also the fifth-largest fast-food chain. Its signature Whopper burger was added to its menu in 1957 and is still very popular today. There are about 18,000 branches of Burger King in over 100 countries. You can learn more about its humble beginnings in our post, The History of Burger King.
Wendy’s is the third biggest hamburger chain in the world. It began in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio, and became popular in 1976. One of the popular items on their menu is the signature ‘Dave’s Hot n’ Juicy Single’ ¼ pound cheeseburger. Compared to McDonald’s and Burger King, the menu prices in Wendy’s is a bit higher. There are around 6,000 branches of Wendy’s in 30 countries around the world. Read The History of Wendy’s to learn more about its success story.
If you are looking for a classic diner-style menu and milkshakes, you can head to Sonic Drive-In. It is an American fast-food chain that offers a regular Sonic Cheeseburger as its signature burger. There are more than 3,000 Sonic locations in 46 states in the United States. If you want to learn more about it, read our Introduction to Sonic Drive-In.
Jack In The Box
Jack In The Box started as a hamburger stand in San Diego, California, back in 1951. It is popular due to its clown mascot. It is also the first one to introduce a drive-thru with a two-way intercom system. It is also well-known for its hamburger called the Classic Buttery Jack. There are around 2,000 locations of Jack In The Bo in 21 states in North America. If you are curious about its story, you can read our article, The History of Jack In The Box.
Compared to other hamburger chains on this list, Whataburger is much smaller. However, it is an iconic burger joint in the southern United States. It was founded in 1950 in Corpus Christi, Texas. It started as a family-owned business until 2019. It is popular for its signature burger, which is affordable and delicious. Even though it has only a few branches, it is still considered a cult classic in the United States. It has around 800 locations in the Southern United States, including Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. You can read more about this hamburger chain in our post, Introduction to Whataburger.
Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s
Carl’s Jr. was launched in 1941 in Los Angeles, California, while Hardee’s started in 1960 in Greenville, North Carolina. These fast-food establishments have the same parent company, and they both rank among the top hamburger chains in the world.
Hardee’s has its famous Thickburger, which is iconic. Carl’s Jr., on the other hand, has the Famous Star as its most popular hamburger. Hardee’s has more than 1,000 restaurants in the United States and 14 other countries. Carl’s Jr. also has more than 1,000 branches in the United States and 30 other countries. You can learn more about these hamburger chains on our post, The History of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
Five Guys is the tenth biggest hamburger chain in the world. It was opened in 1986 in Arlington, Virginia. A regular hamburger is its signature burger. Its pricing is also a bit more expensive, but many people still love its burgers. There are around 1,500 branches of Five Guys in the United States, Canada, Asia, Middle East, and Europe. Learn more about its story by reading The History of Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
Based on ratings, In-N-Out Burger is among the best hamburger chains in the United States. In fact, it is also the favorite of some of the most respected chefs and celebrities in the world. This restaurant started as a simple family business in Baldwin Park, California, back in 1948. Through the years, it slowly became popular. Though it has not expanded overseas yet, it is still among the most popular burger chains out there. You can discover more about its story by reading The History of In-N-Out Burger.
In addition to the hamburger chains in this list, there are many other popular burger restaurants out there, most especially in the United States. These include Smashburger, Habit Burger Grill, Bobby’s Burger Place, BurgerFi, and Fatburger. All of these places will surely satisfy your hamburger craving.
Hamburger is indeed one of the most popular food in the world, especially in the United States. It is a much-loved sandwich that many people have craved. It is also very convenient to make and to eat. You can eat it anywhere, even while commuting or working. Today, anywhere you go, it seems like the majority of fast-food restaurants and street stalls are selling burgers. And we are sure that its popularity will remain for many years to come. We hope this helped you learn more about hamburgers. If you want to discover more information about it, you can also check out our article that contains a list of Interesting Facts About Hamburgers.