Food - General
By: - at June 20, 2013

15 Interesting Facts About Burgers

BurgersMany types of food are well known throughout the world, but none are as strongly recognized as the hamburger. This simple combination of bread and beef has been copied, revised, enhanced, simplified, and served in over 150 countries. There are many reasons behind its popularity throughout the world, and especially in western countries. A hamburger is a versatile category of food, with a wide variety of different toppings and serving methods. There are many interesting and astonishing facts regarding hamburgers. Many people around the world are curious as to the origin of the hamburger and how many hamburgers are actually consumed on a daily basis. These tidbits will leave your curiosity piqued and your mouth watering.

15)  The Origin of the Hamburger
The direct term, "Hamburger" is from Hamburg, the second biggest city located in Germany. Burg in German means a fortified settlement or castle. The term hamburger can often be confused in English due to the fact that it also represents a German citizen who hails from the city itself. The term burger is one of many meanings, but it is firstly considered a sandwich. A hamburger will always be authentic if it contains beef, while many other sandwiches that call themselves burgers can contain, buffalo, venison, kangaroo, turkey; basically any other type of meat available for consumption within a country.

Burger OriginThe actual invention of the modern hamburger is one that is constantly disputed, but the origin of the creation behind the hamburger is relatively straightforward. The name of the burger originated from Hamburg, Germany. The word hamburger has been around since a bit after the Middle Ages. The Oxford dictionary had a reference to hamburger under "Hamburg Steak," which was actually a patty of ground beef that had been salted. The actual term "hamburger" didn't start popping up until years after the invention of the meat grinder. "Filet de boeuf a la Hambourgeoise," was sold in Boston in 1874, while Hamburger Beef Steak appeared on the Lookout House Restaurant menu in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the mid-1870s. During the end of the 19th century, the phrase hamburger started becoming more common. People in America were referring to hot beef sandwiches as hamburgers, and it was appreciated due to it being relatively easy to make and very cheap.

The hamburger that we know today started being created and sold during the First World War. One infamous restaurant, known as White Castle, opened in Kansas and started distributing the modern hamburger as early as 1920. By this year, burger joints were popping up all over the United States, and could be found in New York on the East Coast to San Francisco on the West Coast. It seems that the modern hamburger gained popularity throughout the U.S. first before spreading to other Western Countries.

14)  McDonalds Hamburgers
Known as the biggest fast food chain ever and the one that has distributed the most burgers in the history of mankind, McDonalds is almost always associated with hamburgers. There are some crazy and mind-bending facts associated with the burgers that are distributed by McDonalds. According to a popular food survey, their burgers simply do not decompose. A study was conducted, leaving a hamburger out in an open area, unwrapped. After 30 days, there were literally no signs of decomposition on the burger. The bun remained the same, and the meat patty remained the same as well. There are over 34,000 McDonalds operating in over 123 countries world-wide, according to the McDonalds website. Imagine how many burgers are eaten on a yearly basis. It's also stated that over 3,000,000 burgers are sold worldwide from McDonalds alone. This is currently hovering around 30% of the amount of burgers distributed in the entire food industry. At the current rate, McDonalds is serving 1% of the world population on a daily basis. This is an astonishing 65,000,000 people per day. The McDonalds brand received over $25,000,000,000 in revenue in 2012, according to Business Insider Magazine.

McDonald's Quarter Pounder:
McDonald's Quarter Pounder
By Corpse Reviver (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

13)  Secret to Cheesy Hamburgers
Putting cheese on a hamburger has always been a popular addition to this common food item. 40% of the hamburgers served in the United States contain cheese on them. It's one of those additions that compliment burgers so well. What isn't well known throughout society and burger grillers alike is that there is an additional way to increase the cheesiness of a hamburger. A trend that has been spotted recently with people, who like grilling their own burgers at home, is adding cheese into the actual patty itself. A survey conducted at the popular burger joint Red Robin, stated that over 70% of their customers wouldn't mind cheese being added into the patty itself. This creates an extra cheesy factor that a normal hamburger wouldn't normally possess. A strange piece of information that was gathered from Red Robin was that customers who didn't want cheese on their burger would rather prefer the cheese be stuffed in the meat itself.

Swiss Cheese on a Burger:
Swiss Cheese on a Burger

12)  Artisan Beef
Many people don't realize that some of their burgers don't actually contain as much beef as they thought a burger contained. A food research group in Seattle conducted a test on a simple McDonalds Hamburger patty and found out that the burger itself contains anywhere from 2.8% - 14% actual beef. Many other ingredients include a complex mixture of beef byproduct, as well as skin and bacteria molecules. The Artisan Beef Institute has been stating that Americans need to understand the value and importance of eating grass fed and well taken care of cows. These cows are reported to make beef that is tender and possessing a higher marbled effect. This marbling is a standard of the quality of beef, and although expensive, tastes much better than standard beef.

Artisan Beef

Because of this study, many people and restaurants alike are using Artisan beef as their choice of ingredients for burgers. Artisan beef is created by many small-scale and family farming establishments. The burgers created from Artisan beef are 100% beef, containing no strange ingredients or pink slime that has been reportedly used by McDonalds.

11)  The World's Largest Hamburger
777 Pound BurgerEveryone loves burgers. It's not strange to think that because of this occult love that many restaurants and corporations try to produce the world's largest burger. There is one burger that stands as the largest burger ever in the Guinness Book of World Records, created by Juicy Foods, LLC. This amazing burger weighed in at an impressive 777 pounds, considered a lucky number by the 1,000 guests that were at the Alameda Country Fair, where the burger was created on July 4, 2011. The custom grill that was used to cook it was over 72,000 pounds and took the creators 35 hours to make. If you're wondering how many calories a burger this big had, it's approximately 1.2 million. This is enough calories to fulfill one person's standard 2,000 calorie diet for 22 months. The Juicy burger has had no one else come close to its sheer size and weight, and we believe that it's going to stand the test of time for quite a while.

This burger is the undisputed champion in the Guinness Book of World Records, yet you will find many other establishments to claim that they have created the largest burger ever. There has been a standard set of rules as to what is considered an actual hamburger and which ones are available to compete. Many restaurants that claim to have the largest burger do not comply the actually guidelines that are created by Guinness.

10)  The Hamburger Festival
There is a festival that is shrouded in mystery to people all over the world. Fortunately, it has been gaining steam in recent years. This is the infamous Hamburger Festival. Located in downtown Akron, Ohio, this amazing burger festival is perfect for everyone addicted to the world's most famous food. Many have tried to create festivals, but none as varied as the Hamburger Festival in Akron. This festival contains hundreds of different varieties of burgers by the various establishments throughout the United States. Over 120,000 customers have been served over the course of seven years, and half a million burgers have been purchased.

Photo from the Burger Festival in Akron, Ohio:
Photo from the Burger Festival in Akron, Ohio

At the Hamburger Festival in Ohio, not only are you able to select a wide variety of burgers, you can learn about the random facts and history of the hamburger. A trend that is starting to show up in burger establishments throughout the United States but was perfected in Ohio is the way of cooking beef. Originally, hamburgers were thought to taste best if they were well-done. Over the years, the festival has been proving that medium-rare hamburgers actually pack a much better taste than their well-done counterparts. At the Hamburger festival you can also learn things like how during the Second World War, hamburgers were known as liberty burgers, in order to lose the association with Germany.

9)  Hamburger Harry
If there was ever a connoisseur of hamburgers both edible and inedible, Hamburger Harry is the most accomplished. A German immigrant living in America who has the largest collection of hamburger-related merchandise, he has collected over 1,000 different pieces of hamburger memorabilia which he displays once a year at the Hamburger Museum. Two more interesting pieces of hamburger awesomeness that Harry has collected are a Hamburger Harley and a cheeseburger shaped water bed. The Hamburger Harley is a trike that packs an interesting and tasty looking punch. It has been shaped to replicate a hamburger, complete with cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce, and tomato. The hamburger-shaped water-bed is another force to be reckoned with. Harry completely customized a waterbed to include the likeness of a manmade creation he truly loves: a hamburger. Custom sheets and custom bed skirts are just a few of the amazing things he has done to this waterbed in order to make it look akin to a giant cheeseburger. Harry is the best in the business when it comes to providing people with the look into the various things that have been created to honor this piece of meat slapped in between two buns.

8)  The World's Most Expensive Hamburger
666 BurgerHamburgers have always been relatively cheap at most establishments, but one chef wanted to change that. Franz Alique, the chef at popular 666 Burger Truck in New York, wanted to create a burger that just screamed, "douche." He invented the Douche Burger, currently the world's most expensive standalone burger. He created in order to mock the whole expensive burger phenomenon and does a good job at doing so. What Franz Alique said as the description of his $666 burger was, "It's just a f—cking burger and topped with rich people sh—t." The patty is a slab of Kobe Beef wrapped in gold leaf, foie gras, caviar, lobster, truffles, imported aged gruyere cheese, and then melted in champagne steam. It is then topped with kopi luwak barbecue sauce and Himalayan rock salt. That sounds like a tasty and expensive burger, indeed.

A very close competitor to the world's most expensive hamburger, but not on this list because you're purchasing more than just the burger, is known as the Fleurburger 5000. This extravagant burger has a tasty Kobe Beef patty with truffle sauce drizzled on top of it, served on a brioche truffle bun. The reason this burger costs $5,000 is because of the wine and glasses that come with it. The 1990 Chateau Petrus is one of the finest wines available in Las Vegas, and the glasses that are served with it are complimentary. So although the Fleurburger 5000 is $5,000, the stand-alone most expensive burger is still the Douche Burger.

Fleurburger 5000:
Fleurburger 5000

7)  The Heart Attack Hamburger
In Las Vegas, there's a grill that doesn't hide the fact that burgers can be quite unhealthy. Unhealthy enough to cause physical illnesses, in fact. The Heart Attack Grill in Nevada has a unique and fascinating method of attracting customers that we don't quite understand. The burgers are served under the names of single, double, triple, and quadruple bypass burgers. The Quadruple Bypass weighs in at an amazing 8,000 calories, with four patties and 20 strips of bacon. The controversy behind this restaurant is the nature of its scantily clad, nursed themed waitresses, and the inherent medical issues that can occur when eating the burgers. Two unofficial spokesmen for The Heart Attack Grill have died during consumption of the burger itself, and a woman had passed out while eating the Quadruple, smoking, and drinking alcohol at the same time. The restaurant has constantly been criticized because of its methods of marketing.

Inside the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas:
Inside the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas

6)  Burgers are Environmentally Damaging
There are a specific group of cows used for creating the beef associated with the making of burgers in the food industry. These cows produce methane, and they contribute to 22% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Pair this with the transportation methods of this beef to establishments throughout the US, and you can get an idea of the amount of gas emissions are being created. Stockholm University conducted a survey that proved these astonishing numbers. The production and distribution of hamburgers across the states accounts roughly to the equivalent of 19.6 million SUVs.

Cows producing methane gas

5)  Elvis Presley Loved Burgers
Elvis Presley Loved BurgersThe King of Rock n' Roll was a huge fan of hamburgers. Elvis would constantly go to every burger joint possible during tour and at his home in Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis was constantly creating different recipes for various burgers that he figured tasted delicious. According to an Elvis Presley biography, he would constantly add ingredients to his burgers such as bananas, peanut butter, syrup, and egg. One strange way that Elvis prepared his burgers is that he always required the inside of the buns to be burnt black to a crisp. When burgers were cooked at his house, he insisted that only fresh, lean ground beef be used and that there were an abundant amount of burger buns available, in case they were not prepared to his liking.

4)  In N' Out Secret Menu
The In N' Out food chain in California is known as the healthiest fast food burger chain in the United States. Their mantra is that a burger is such a common commodity in the states, and they should be served with fresh, unrefrigerated ingredients all the time. They also believe in serving their customers promptly and as quickly as possible. The first In N Out opened in 1948 and sold cheeseburgers for 25 cents. Now there are over 150 different establishments in three states.

One of the mysterious things about In N' Out is their secret menu. Nobody is exactly sure what exists on the secret menu, but more and more items have become well known as years go by. A "3x3" is a variation of their standard double double, but is not currently listed on the menu. Monster fries and monster style is a method in which they cover the top of a burger with a special topping consisting of caramelized onions, more cheese, and chili. Other secret items include the 10 x 10, yet another burger consisting of 10 burger patties and 10 pieces of cheese.

In-N-Out Restaurant
By Art Bromage (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons

In-N-Out Meal

3)  Variations of the Burger by Country
Every country has developed their unique standard as to how a hamburger should be prepared. The larger, more westernized countries have adopted their own methods and recipes in order to create a country-specific burger. In Mexico, they are referred to as hamburguesas, and served with an additional piece of ham on the top of the burger. Different types of meats are served on the burger, including chicken, and barbacoa, a shredded type of pork. In China, they serve hanbao, a burger with extremely sweet buns. In Japan, the burgers that are considered Japanese are typically served without a bun at all, and only use pure beef. Rice burgers have been popping up throughout all Asian countries, and are normal hamburger patties substituting a bun with sticky rice. In India, for religious purposes, burgers are created using only chicken and vegetable patties. In Turkey, Lamb and falafel burgers are common throughout the entire country. It seems insane that what was considered a western staple of food has been adopted and changed to fit the needs and tastes of other countries. We believe this shows exactly how popular the hamburger has gotten through decades of eating.

Burger Types

2)  Unusual Burgers

Cheese Burger in a can:
Cheese Burger in a can

Some burgers aren't exactly meant for normal and daily consumption. Over the years, some unusual burgers have been created for record making and fine dining purposes. Currently, the world's largest burger that is served on a daily basis is known as the Absolutely Ridiculous Burger. At $499, the burger is sold at Mallie's Sports Grill and Bar in Southgate, Michigan. It takes 12 hours to prepare and contains the equivalent of 50 patties of meat. A New York chef by the name of Daniel Boulud has created a burger that doesn't use the normal ingredients of a burger. It's actually a dish composed of layers of ground sirloin and caramelized onions. It's surrounded by wine-braised ribs and is shaped to represent the shape and appearance of a hamburger. Another ridiculous burger being produced in Las Vegas is the Kobe Beef and Maine Lobster Burger. This $777 decadent creation contains Kobe Beef, fresh lobster, with brie cheese and proscutto on top. It can be found in the Paris Las Vegas Casino. One recent invention is a cheeseburger, sold within a can. It's called Cheeseburger-in-a-can and is made by a German food producer. The burger is stuffed within a can and a hungry person simply needs to pop it in the microwave and they have a tasty cheeseburger ready in 30 seconds. The world has really gone crazy with the different methods of preparing hamburgers.

1)  Disputes Regarding Invention
Invention of the BurgerBeing such a popular and successful creation, there are a few disputes as to who actually gets the credit for inventing the hamburger. The first documented creation of the hamburger was by Louis Lassen in Connecticut. It was documented on paper that this man had used two strangely shaped buns and put a flattened beef patty in between it. Charlie Nagreen, a man residing in Wisconsin, had claimed that it was he who created the burger first. He put a large meatball in between two sliced pieces of bread. It was useful because customers could eat the meatball while holding the bread, which encouraged them to purchase it and continue walking around the county fair where his stall was. According to White Castle, one of the first established Hamburger joints in America, Otto Kuase was the inventor of the hamburger. It was a beef patty, cooked in butter and topped with a fried egg. It was popular with German sailors, who would change out the egg with pieces of bread. Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas claimed that it was he who invented the hamburger. He made a creation of a thing patty of meat, stuffed in between two pieces of bread, mustard, and onions. Two brothers, Frank and Charles Menches have claimed to be the originators of the hamburger. Originally pork sausage sellers, when they ran out of their stock, they ran over to a beef vendor and purchased beef. They then used pieces of bread to cover the meat and sold it, calling it a hamburger. The brothers claimed that it was coined a hamburger due to the fact of them being from Hamburg, New York.

Final Words

Play Burger Rush!
 The popular video game:

There are many burger facts revealed as you evolve through the game.

We love hamburgers, and it's apparent that rest of the world loves hamburgers. New burger restaurants are popping up at a fast daily rate throughout the world, and well known fast food chains like Burger King and McDonalds are always expanding into new territory. There is no other food that is sold at as large of a rate as hamburgers, and in multiple countries as well. In the United States, the burger is the most common food consumed, and we consume quite a few as well. Over 13,000,000,000 burgers are consumed per year in the United States, and that’s more than any other type of fast food. It's also enough burgers to circle the earth. Every western country has adopted the hamburger as a staple of food, and even smaller countries have seen the impact of the hamburger in their diets.

The food and restaurant industry is never going to get rid of the hamburger, despite some of its shortcomings. Without the hamburger, we're not sure what else could possibly replace its simplicity and tastiness. The United States continues to be the world's biggest supporters of the hamburger, with records being broken, people dedicated museum's to a beef patty and two buns, and memorabilia being created every day. McDonalds has based their success and rapid growth rate due to the nationwide popularity of the hamburger, and many other fast food chains provide hamburgers to take a piece of the action. Eventually, we believe that every country in the world is going to have a McDonalds, as well as variation of their own, country specific hamburger.





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