It’s May and that means the start of the BBQ Season and a special tribute to one of America’s favorite foods: National Hamburger Month. With or without condiments, on or off a bun or bread, hamburgers are named after Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city from where many citizens emigrated to the US.
In German “Burg” means castle and in a wider sense fortified settlement. Somebody from Hamburg is called Hamburger. Comparably men from Frankfurt are called Frankfurter and men from Vienna (Wien) are called Wiener.
Originally, when people still took the time to sit down and eat from a plate, the patty was not between a bun. It still is a main staple of German cooking, in Germany named after the French words “Frikadelle” or “Bulette” and “Faschierte Laibchen” or “Fleischlaberl” in Austria.
Essential to a hamburger is chopping or grinding the meat. The mechanical meat grinder was invented by German inventor Dr. Karl Drais (1785-1851). He also invented the “Laufmaschine / running machine”, later called “Draisine”. The beginning of mechanized personal transport, this incorporated the two/wheeler principle that is basic to the bicycle and motorcycle.
He also invented the earliest typewriter with a keyboard in 1821, later also developed into an early stenograph machine. In 1867 Austrian Peter Mitterhofer developed the first fully functioning typewriter prototype that looks like what we would recognize as a typewriter today. The model can be seen in Vienna’s Museum of Technology.
The first printed menu that listed hamburgers was New York’s Delmonico’s in 1826.
In 1940 Richard and Maurics McDonald opened their restaurant in San Bernardino, California. The brothers began to franchise in 1953 and ever since then the golden arches conquered the world and have become a symbol of American culture worldwide.
Below are 31 unique burgers that range from classic to exotic, simple to refined – one to celebrate each day of National Burger Month.
BUTCHER BURGER: Prime dry-aged beef, English cheddar and fried onions (Shane Cash, Butcher and Singer, Philadelphia)
THE GILT BURGER: Beef burger, aged cheddar, house made pickles and crispy onion rings (Justin Bogle, Gilt, NYC)
CHEESEBURGER: Beef patty, raclette cheese and grilled onion (Art Cavaliere, Parc, Philadelphia)
HAMBURGUESAS DE KOBE: Mini burgers, smoked tomato, aioli and pickled red onion (Chef Ken Oringer, Toro, Boston)
ASIAN “BAHN MI”: Pork and shrimp burger, pickled daikon and carrots, herb salad, cucumber and sriracha mayo (Laurent Tourondel, BLT Burger, Las Vegas and NYC)
BIG DADDY MACK: Veggie patty, soy cheese, pickles, onions and special sauce on a sesame seed bun (David Murphy LaForce, Continental Midtown, Philadelphia)
HBG BURGER: A half pound of freshly ground Meyer Natural Angus Beef on a toasted Costeaux Bakery sourdough bun; served with Alexander Valley Gourmet pickles and roasted garlic mayonnaise on the side (Douglas Keane, Healdsburg Bar & Grill, Healdsburg, CA)
BRAEBURN CHEESEBURGER: Combination of ground beef chuck and plate, Vermont cheddar and oven-dried tomatoes on a potato roll; served with homemade fries (Brian Bistrong, Braeburn, NYC)
VEGETARIAN SOY BURGER: Soy patty, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and charred red onions (Steve Petrecca, Jones, Philadelphia)
SOLTORO BURGER: Ground sirloin seasoned with Mexican herbs and spices, Chihuahua cheese, guacamole, grilled onions, fire-roasted poblano rajas and bacon; served with spicy fries and ketchupeno salsa (Chef Edwin Mateo, SolToro Tequila Grill at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT)
CERTIFIED BLACK ANGUS BURGER: Classic Certified Black Angus beef burger, choice of cheddar, provolone, Swiss or blue cheese, with lettuce, tomato and onions on a brioche bun (Laurent Tourendel, BLT Steak, Atlanta)
SLIDERS: Pat La Freida short rib blend, Swiss cheese and bacon (Chef Michael Ferraro, Delicatessen, NYC)
BLACK AND BLUE BURGER: Beef patty with tobacco onions; served with sweet potato fries (Chef David Maini, 23.sportcafe at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT)
PORTOBELLO BURGER: Portobello mushroom, Havarti cheese and pesto ketchup on a brioche roll (Steve Petrecca, Jones, Philadelphia)
MESA BURGER: Beef patty, double cheddar cheese, grilled vidalia onion and horseradish mustard on a house roll; served with Southwestern fries (Chef Bobby Flay, Mesa Grill, NYC)
THE STRIP HOUSE BURGER: Eight ounce sirloin burger ground in-house with a 20:80 fat to meat ratio, and choice of Swiss or American cheese; toppings include a choice of bacon, sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and roasted red pepper; served with steak fries or fried onions (Strip House, various national locations)
KOBE BURGER: Kobe beef and white farmhouse cheddar; served with a trio of signature duck fat French fries and dipping sauces (Michael Mina, XIV, Los Angeles)
GOTHAM MAINE LOBSTER BURGER: Lobster, Alaskan king and peekytoe crab, spicy lemon-garlic aioli on a house-baked roll; served with crisp fingerling potatoes (Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar & Grill, NYC)
STRIPPER: No bun! Seven ounce Certified Angus beef burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, bell pepper and avocado (Laurent Tourondel, BLT Burger, Las Vegas)
PIZZAIOLA BURGER: Grilled all-beef burger, smoked mozzarella, tomato and salsa verde; served with signature pickled fingerling French fries (Michael Psilakis, Mia Dona, NYC)
BURGER SLIDERS: Beef sliders, choice of cheese, caramelized onions and mini-gherkins (Chef David Maini, 23.sportcafe at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT)
FORGE BURGER: Six ounce 70 percent prime hanger steak patty, cheddar, North Country applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, arugula, tomatoes, and housemade spicy peppercorn sauce on a homemade potato bun topped with fleur de sel and cracked pepper; served with custom tater tots and housemade pickles (Marc Forgione, Marc Forgione, NYC)
CONTINENTAL CHEESEBURGER: Eight ounce beef burger, creamy tomato relish, shaved lettuce, sauteed onion and sharp cheddar (Bryan Burger, Continental, Philadelphia)
LAMB BURGER: A blend of lamb and pork wrapped in caul fat, grilled and topped with feta and spicy pepper puree; served with French fries (Michael Psilakis, Anthos, NYC)
THE COMME CA BURGER: Certified Angus beef, cheddar, lettuce, onions and dressing (David Myers, Comme Ca, Los Angeles)
BURGER AMERICAIN: Ten ounce Certified Angus beef, choice of gruyere, cheddar, blue cheese, or goat cheese, with grilled red onions, beefsteak tomato and housemade pickles on a sesame seed brioche bun; bacon optional (Chef Bobby Flay, Bar Americain, NYC)
EL VEZ BURGER: Beef burger, Chihuahua cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and jalapeno mayo on a torta roll (Adan Trinidad, El Vez, Philadelphia)
LAMB MERGUEZ: Colorado lamb, yogurt sauce, cucumbers, olives, red onion and tomato (Laurent Tourondel, BLT Burger, NYC)
MEATBALL SLIDERS: Meatballs, provolone, tomatoes and arugula (Chef Tom Fosnot, ROCCA Kitchen & Bar, Boston)
PASTURE-RAISED BURGER: All natural grass-fed beef, applewood bacon and housemade cranberry jam on toasted whole grain bread; served with fries (Marc Meyer, Cookshop, NYC)
ONE SIXTYBLUE BURGER: Hangar steak burger, cheddar and caramelized shallots on a pretzel roll; served with housemade fries and a signature fried pickle (Michael McDonald, one sixtyblue, Chicago)