There are few dishes that scream “America” quite like the burger. Whether you like hamburgers or cheeseburgers, the best burgers are the ones you share with family and friends. But how did burgers become an American staple?
Here’s everything you need to know about America’s love affair with one of its tastiest meals.
We can thank the Germans
Though Hamburg, Germany wasn’t the inventor of the Hamburger, their richly seasoned ground beef inspired Americans to craft the patty and put it on a bun. Once Germans began to immigrate to the United States, their “meat steak” dish was adopted by a multitude of chefs who wanted to put their special touch on the German classic.
This led to countless restaurants from various ethnic backgrounds experimenting with different toppings and styles of cooking. Burgers were loved by virtually everyone from every background. In the spirit of America’s melting pot history, this couldn’t make authentic hamburgers more authentically American.
It’s an on-the-run meal
Americas plunge into industrialized society meant that countless people needed a quick meal on the run. While many Americans loved Hamburg steaks, it was a difficult meal to eat when they needed to run back to work.
While there are multiple restaurants who claim to have invented the first hamburger, the overarching theme notes the importance of a quick meal on the go. Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, CT claims they’re the first inventor when a hurried patron needed a quick meal. By putting the steak patty between two slices of bread, there wasn’t a need for utensils and you could eat it with only one hand.
Others claim food stands and street vendors made the first hamburger for the ease of patrons who could eat it standing or moving. One worker at a Wisconsin fair claimed that few people ate meatballs as they walked around; when he pressed down the meatballs into a patty and sold it between bread, it became a hit. It seems that hamburgers were adopted throughout America around the same time, but the innovation truly came from the need to eat on-the-run, otherwise known as fast food.
Nowadays, hamburgers make up around 60% of all the sandwiches we eat. When you’re looking for authentic hamburgers cooked the American way, enjoy the best hamburgers in Houston at TJ Reed’s Better Burgers and Shakes.