I love burgers. In fact, I once considered changing my surname to Cheeseburger (I’m glad I didn’t…). I’m not the only one with an addiction to burgers, though…all around the world hamburgers are one of the most popular foods, and there are thousands of restaurants dedicated to serving up this simple yet addictive dish. America is undoubtedly the home of the burger, so I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the American Burger.
Where did American hamburgers come from?
Hamburgers generally consist of a round beef patty in between two pieces of bread of the same shape (a hamburger bun), and usually have condiments and fillings such as tomato sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and mustard.
The hamburger originated in America, and has since become a worldwide phenomenon. Several restaurants claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger, but Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut is generally considered to be the place where it all began back in 1900. The original hamburger was served between two pieces of toast instead of the traditional bun that is used at most restaurants these days. They continue to serve it between toast even to this day.
Since Louis’ Lunch served up their first hamburger, restaurants across America and the world have followed suit. Hamburgers are generally served in fast-food restaurants. Some of the largest and most popular fast-food chains in America that serve hamburgers are McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s, Harveys, In-N-Out Burger, Jack in the Box, Whataburger and Sonic. All of these restaurants primarily sell hamburgers, although do offer a range of other foods on the menu as well.
The Rise of McDonald’s and other Popular Chains
McDonald’s was founded in 1940 by Dic and Mack McDonald, and the first restaurant was opened in San Bernardino, California. It is now the largest fast-food chain in the world, serving over 48 million customers every single day. It serves up the world’s best-selling hamburger – the Big Mac. The Big Mac hamburger has two beef patties, a “special sauce”, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions between a three-part hamburger bun. The Big Mac was first created by an early McDonald’s franchisee -Jim Delligatti – in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was served nationally by 1968. In America, a Big Mac has 540 kcal and contains 29 grams of fat.
The second largest hamburger restaurant in America is Burger King. The first restaurant was opened in Miami, Florida in 1954. There are over 11,500 Burger King restaurants in the world, and 66% of these are in America. Burger King’s answer to the Big Mac is the ‘Whopper’, one of their most popular hamburgers. The Whopper consists of a quarter-pound beef patty, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and onion between a sesame seed bun. There is also a Whopper Jr., a smaller version of the original hamburger. The Whopper has 670 calories and 39 grams of fat; whereas the Whopper Jr. has 370 calories and 21 grams of fat. Burger King also has regional variations on it’s burgers, such as guacamole and salsa in predominantly Latin-American areas of America.
Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurants are also one of the most popular hamburger-selling restaurants in America. It was founded in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio by Dave Thomas and John Schuessler. It has over 6,700 restaurants worldwide, most of which are in America. Wendy’s doesn’t have a signature hamburger like Burger King or McDonalds, however they are best known for their square beef patties. The burgers are also fresh and not frozen like the other restaurants. Wendy’s offers two different types of hamburgers – the Single and the Junior. The Single beef patty weighs 4 ounces and the Junior beef patty weighs 1.78 ounces. One of their most popular hamburgers is the Big Classic, which is very similar to Burger King’s Whopper burger.
Types of Burgers
High-quality hamburgers are made entirely of ground beef and seasonings. Fast-food restaurants and cheaper hamburgers are made of a mixture of ground beef, flour, vegetable protein, and other fillers to minimize the costs of the hamburger.
One of the most popular variants on the hamburger is the cheeseburger (but you already knew that, right?!).
There are lots of toppings and dressings that are popular with hamburgers, particularly homemade hamburgers or ones purchased at more upscale restaurants. Lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, mustard, jalapenos, bacon and mushrooms are just some of the many toppings that can be put on hamburgers. The opportunities are endless!
One of the most popular ways to serve a hamburger is with a side of fries. Most fast-food restaurants offer value meals, which include a hamburger, fries and a drink.
As well as all the fast-food restaurants that serve hamburgers, there are many places that sell ‘gourmet’ burgers. The hamburgers are made using upscale ingredients such as sirloin steak or are handmade from ground beef. The hamburger patties at fast-food restaurants are usually mass-produced and frozen before delivery to the restaurants.
Alright, now I’m hungry. See ya!