There’s nothing more American than the hamburger. When you ask people around the world to list some American foods, the burger is most probably on top of the list. People love them, and billions of them are consumed around the world. The hamburger is a much-loved sandwich that most people have craved for. It’s also very convenient. You can order it fast in a fast-food restaurant, and they are ready to eat. You can eat it anywhere – while working, while on the commute, while driving (but please don’t do that) – and it’s sure to fill you up with tasty energy.
While most people eat burgers regularly, only a few are familiar with facts about this quintessential food. So today, it’s time to learn about it!
1. Hamburger is American, but its name is very German.
Hamburgers got its name from Hamburg, Germany, where a cut of beef called the Hamburg steak is from. This is a popular dish in Germany brought to the US by German immigrants. This cut of beef evolved into what we know today as the burger patty, which is an essential ingredient of the hamburger. A precursor to the Hamburg steak is the Salisbury steak.
2. Hamburger was also referred to as the “Liberty Sandwich.”
After World War II, American soldiers wanted hamburgers to be called “Liberty Sandwich” to promote patriotism and to avoid any German name. The US government attempted to rebrand it, but unfortunately, the name didn’t really catch on.
3. Hamburgers first became popular in the US in 1904.
The hamburger was a well-kept secret until the World’s Fair in 1904, when a certain “Uncle” Fletcher David from Athens, Texas, set up a hamburger stand and sold burgers. Once people got a taste, there was no turning back.
4. Americans eat 50 billion burgers a year.
That’s how popular hamburgers have become. According to 2013 statistics, an average American eat three burgers a week, translating to around 50 billion per year.
5. Seymour, WI, is the official “Home of the Hamburger.”
A legislature of the state of Wisconsin in 2007 decreed the town of Seymour as the official Home of the Hamburger, attributing the invention to local legend “Hamburger” Charlie in 1885. As a result, the town of Seymour became the home of the world’s Hamburger Hall of Fame, which is a museum honoring all things about the hamburger.
6. White Castle was the first fast-food hamburger chain.
Before McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s, there was White Castle. It opened in 1921, and it still remains popular for its burgers. Back then, a hamburger costs only 5 cents.
7. McDonald’s serves 75 hamburgers per second.
The fast-food giant has branches all over the world, and it holds the world record of the restaurant that sold the most burgers worldwide. They sell 75 or more burgers every second.
8. The Guinness World Record holder for the largest hamburger weighs more than 2,000 pounds.
There were many attempts to break the record of the world’s largest hamburger, and many record-holders were Americans. But as of writing, the record is held by the nation whom the hamburger’s name is from – Germany. In 2017, a team from Pilsting, Germany, created a super large hamburger consisting of three meat patties, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, hamburger sauce, onions, and a bun. This enormous burger weighs 2,566 pounds or 1,164 kilograms.
9. The world’s largest burger commercially sold can be ordered at Michigan.
Mallie’s Sports Bar and Grill in Detroit, MI sells a beefy monstrosity that holds the Guinness World Record for the largest commercially available burger. This burger weighs at 1,174 pounds. To cook it, the restaurant uses its custom-made oven large enough to handle the hunk of meat. The patty starts as a 2,000-pound ground beef cooked down to a lean 1,774 pounds. Then, it’s packed with 300 pounds of lettuce, pickles, onions, and cheese, wedged in between a 250-pound bun. If you wish to order this burger, you have to give the restaurant a three-days’ notice, and you must know how to operate a forklift. This burger costs around $8,000.
10. The world’s most expensive burger is worth $10,000.
The world’s largest burger is priced high because it’s enormous, but there’s a regular-sized burger that’s even more expensive. The defunct uSocial.net celebrated its 4-year anniversary in 2012 with a one-of-a-kind, edible luxury burger worth $10,000. The value is in the ingredients, because it’s crafted with the world’s rarest and most expensive ingredients. The patty is made from Wagyu beef and white truffle, while it rests on a brioche roll infused with 24-karat gold, saffron, and black truffle. It’s flavored with Spanish JamonIberico, which is a ham made from Iberian pigs fed with a specialty diet consisting almost entirely of acorns. All proceeds were intended for charity.
11. The world’s most expensive burger that’s commercially available can be ordered in Las Vegas.
Most people spend around $10 for a decent burger. Some may even spend $20 if it’s from one of the best restaurants in America. But $5,000? No way. But in Las Vegas’ Fleur de Lys, you can order one. There are many uber-expensive burgers out there, but none can top the Fleurburger. This expensive, luxury burger is made with Kobe beef, topped with black truffles and foie gras. It’s also paired with a bottle of 1990 Chateau Petrus.
12. A super unhealthy, heart-attack-inducing burger is served in Las Vegas.
Nobody thinks of burgers as healthy food – not even those with fresh goods like lettuce and tomatoes. But one restaurant takes the harmful health effects to the next level by serving the worst and most calorific burger in the world. The Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, Nevada, offers a cardiovascularly-destructive fare with their signature Quadruple Bypass Burger. This burger consists of four half-pound hamburgers, with tons of bacon, cheese, caramelized onion baked in lard, lard, mayo, ketchup, mustard, and only eight tomato slices. This burger has a staggering 9,982 calories. The owner calls it nutritional pornography, and the food is served by scantily-clad waitresses dressed as sexy nurses.
13. McDonald’s burgers don’t rot because the beef is dehydrated.
Fast food critics love experimenting with McDonald’s plain hamburger. They let it sit out in the open and check for weeks (some even years) to see if the burger rots. And since the burger doesn’t rot, they conclude that the burgers are filled with so many preservatives and chemicals so it won’t decompose. The truth is that these burgers are dehydrated – and they basically turn it into a jerky.
14. The inventor of the burger still operates until today.
The answer to “Who invented the hamburger” is still murky, as many US cities claim it. As mentioned above, Charlie Nagreen from Seymour, Wisconsin, and “Uncle” Fletcher David from Athens, Texas, played a role in the history of the hamburger. However, the one credited by the Library of Congress is Louis Lassen of New Haven, Connecticut. He was known as the first person to serve beef trimmings between slices of bread to customers of his Louis Lunch café in 1900, giving rise to the hamburger. The Lassen family continued the tradition.
At their restaurant, the burgers are cooked in vertical cast-iron gas stoves served on toast. The only condiments used are cheese spread, onions, and tomatoes. Mayo, ketchup, and mustard are strictly forbidden. The customers caught trying to smuggle these to the grill are politely asked to leave.
15. Veggie burgers are not as healthy as you thought it is.
Health-conscious burger lovers tend to opt for vegetable-based burgers. These are readily available in fast-food franchises all over the world, particularly in places with a large population that don’t eat beef or pork, such as in India and Muslim countries. Unfortunately, studies have shown that the soy used in making veggie burgers are often made with hexane, which is an air pollutant that’s a by-product of refined gasoline.