February 1, 2023

Hamburger history: How it became an American staple and 5 places to go

7 min read


(CNN) – Whether you’re in the heart of the United States or around the world, when you crave American food, you’re probably sinking your teeth into a hamburger.

Although most Americans can’t remember a time without them, hamburgers began to become popular in the United States almost a century ago.

A few burger restaurants of the time offer burgers made with fresh meat every day. Very few people still serve these burgers the way they were made during the day.

George MotzA burger scholar, has devoted more than 20 years of his life to researching hamburgers in the United States. After producing, shooting, editing, and directing his 2004 documentary “Hamburger America,” Mootz published the state-by-state Burger Guide, and later in 2016 his first cookbook, The Great American Burger Book.

Most recently, he has hosted Burger Scholar sessions on Complex Media’s “First We Fest,” which is in its fourth season on YouTube.

“I mean, I’ve eaten more hamburgers than you,” Moitz said.

We have to agree: Motz estimates that he has probably eaten about 20,000 burgers in his lifetime, with no plans to stop anytime soon.

During his travels, Mootz has found burger joints that keep throwing their burgers the way they did a century ago.

While such companies are far fewer than their counterparts in countless fast food chains, they hold the key to American hamburger history.

Mootz has shared five classics. CNN Travel. But first, a little bit of hamburger history.

How Hamburgers Became an American Classic

Hamburgers have a good travel history.

According to Motz, the original story of the hamburger begins in 13th-century Mongolia, when the Mongols and Tatars were at war with each other.

“Apparently, the Tatars had a taste of raw mutton. They rode raw mutton all day under their saddles. When they finally set up camp, they would take this raw, hot mutton, cut it, maybe this I would add some spices or something, and eat like that. “

The dish eventually paved the way for workers and ports connected to the Baltic Sea, allowing it to reach more western parts of Europe, including Scandinavia.

From there it eventually made its way to the ports of Germany and Hamburg. Centuries later, when it arrived in Germany, the dish moved from raw mutton to slaughtered beef, as it is known today. Freakdalen.

Motz explained that while German immigrants were waiting for their ships, they ate Fricadelin as an option for cheap and delicious food. When they left Hamburg for the United States in the mid-19th century, immigrants brought with them knowledge of the dish.

Served with Freakdalen, the prelude to the hamburger, with a potato salad.

Served with Freakdalen, the prelude to the hamburger, with a potato salad.

JanSommer / Adobe Stock

“Freakdalen eventually moved to the United States, and I can imagine that for most people living in the United States, Frekdalen didn’t mean anything unless you were German. Had to do it in the style of a ‘steak’. Hamburg, or just, a Hamburg steak. “

As German immigrants moved west to farm across the United States, state fairs began to take place.

Farmers from all walks of life will attend these fairs to learn about different farming methods and implements. According to Mootz, German immigrants set up their stand to serve Hamburg steak, which was then considered an ethnic dish.

While hot dogs offer hamburgers as a fair meal, Motz says he thinks hot dogs encouraged in many places to eventually start putting hamburger steaks on bread, giving them hamburger sandwiches. And finally make a hamburger.

No one can say for sure who did it first.

“There were about 7 to 9 claims from Midwest, Texas to Ohio to Wisconsin. Too many claims, unfortunately, there’s no way to prove who first put the Hamburg steak on the bin,” Moitz said. Moitz said. “It happened everywhere at once, and no one was reporting it.”

From an American classic

The trend picked up, and restaurants began offering sandwiches. Hamburgers are now a source of pride in American cuisine, Moitz said.

“The hamburger is the only food in the United States that has been invented for the last 100 years. It started as an ethnic food from Germany, but we adopted it and made it different by putting it on bread.”

After enduring the ordeal of time, everything from the Great Depression to CoVID-19 and everything in between, some early burger restaurants still stand.

Whether you’re on a road trip or a hamburger trip, here are five burger joints that still offer fresh, real American hamburgers to see in the United States:

Louis Lunch (New Haven, Connecticut)

Louis's Lunch, located in New Haven, Connecticut, has been serving hamburgers since 1895.

Louis’s Lunch, located in New Haven, Connecticut, has been serving hamburgers since 1895.

Christopher Capozello / Getty Images

One of the oldest pairs offering classic burgers. Louis Lunch In New Haven, Connecticut.

Now in its fourth generation of ownership, the family-owned restaurant has been serving customers since 1895.

Using the ground fresh meat daily, Louis Lynch cooks his hamburger vertically (yes, you read that right) in his three straight cast iron boiler stoves from 1898.

A long-awaited dinner in New Haven, Connecticut, waiting for hamburgers to be cooked in an old, straight cast iron boiler stove at Louis Lynch.

A long-awaited dinner in New Haven, Connecticut, waiting for hamburgers to be cooked in an old, straight cast iron boiler stove at Louis Lynch.

Beit J. Harpaz / AP

In a grill basket, burgers are slippery in the oven and baked on both sides.

The hamburger was served at Louis's Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, on white bread with tomatoes, cheese and onions.

The hamburger was served at Louis’s Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, on white bread with tomatoes, cheese and onions.

George Mootz / Hamburger USA

Choosing your hamburger is not complicated either. “The Original Burger” is your only option, served on white bread. To enhance the flavor of the meat, you can simply add onion, cheese and a slice of tomato. If you’re hoping for ketchup, you’ll have to go somewhere else!

Celebrating White (Hackensack, New Jersey)

White Mina has been making classic hamburgers in Hackensack, New Jersey since 1946.

White Mina has been making classic hamburgers in Hackensack, New Jersey since 1946.

George Motz, Hamburger USA

Hackensack is located in New Jersey Celebrate white Gained local and national acceptance. White Mina was founded in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair, and later moved to Hackenzick in 1946, according to its website.

Famous for its sliders on Martin’s potato rolls, this old-fashioned dinner uses freshly delivered extra lean beef daily.

Famous white-faced sliders are cooking on the grill in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Famous white-faced sliders are cooking on the grill in Hackensack, New Jersey.

George Motz, Hamburger USA

With cheese and onion topping options, you can’t go wrong with this destination of burgers.

Powers Hamburgers (Fort Wayne, Indiana)

Powers Hamburgers has been serving customers in Fort Wayne, Indiana since 1940.

Powers Hamburgers has been serving customers in Fort Wayne, Indiana since 1940.

George Motz

Originally based in Dearborn, Michigan, before moving to its current home in Indiana, Powers Hamburgers has been serving the city of Fort Wayne since 1940.

Must have onions with all sliders, whether you’re cutting into a regular hamburger or a double cheeseburger. Don’t expect any garden toppings like lettuce or tomatoes, and it’s up to you to add ketchup, mayo or hot sauce after serving the burger.

Onions are essential on power sliders.

Onions are essential on power sliders.

George Motz, Hamburger USA

Powers owner and chef Mike Hall estimates that about 1,300 to 1,500 burgers come from the grill every day.

“There’s no real place like Powers. We offer a unique burger in a unique building, and it’s a place where people come to refresh their memories. Staying connected to it all these years It is a blessing. “

Cozy Inn (Salina, Kansas)

The Kozi, based in Salina, Kansas, has been serving hamburgers since 1922.

The Kozi, based in Salina, Kansas, has been serving hamburgers since 1922.

George Motz, Hamburger USA

The Cozy Inn Salina, Kansas, celebrated a century of customer service in March. Leaving the business as one of the few burger joints, with such a definition, Kozi knows a thing or two about making these delicious hamburgers.

“There’s a lot of love involved in making these things,” said Steve Howard, the owner. “It’s easy; lean meat, salt and pepper, fresh onions, and then we give you a choice of ketchup, mustard and pickles. We’ve been doing that for 100 years.”

Casual burgers are always cooked with onions.

Casual burgers are always cooked with onions.

George Motz, Hamburger USA

Smoky River Mats, a local butcher’s shop, serves fresh meat to the restaurant daily. Opened in 1922, Kozi claims to have a few stool diners left in the United States.

Hamburger Wagon (Memsburg, Ohio)

Hamburger Wagon has been serving hamburgers in Miami, Ohio since 1913.

Hamburger Wagon has been serving hamburgers in Miami, Ohio since 1913.

George Motz, Hamburger USA

Well before food trucks were one thing. Hamburger wagon In 1913 the wheels turned on the scene in Miami, Ohio.

According to its website, the hamburger wagon was originally built to feed the refugees of the Great Flood in Miami. After the floodwaters receded, residents asked for more hamburger wagon sliders, and this has been one of the city’s most important dining experiences ever since.

The hamburger vegan burger was served with pickles, onions, salt and pepper.

The hamburger vegan burger was served with pickles, onions, salt and pepper.

George Motz, Hamburger USA

Employees have been taking over this mobile restaurant for over a century. Like most burger joints in the country, the hamburger wagon menu is meaningless. Served either single or double, with pickles, onions, salt and pepper.

“No stinky cheese or dirty sauce!” Slap in the middle of the menu. If you are planning to go to Hamburger Wagon, be sure to bring cash.

Why Hamburger History Matters

Like many things since their inception, hamburgers have been commodified, ranging from patties and bun shapes to the practice of freezing patties.

So whether they know it or not, burger restaurants, like the ones mentioned above, play an active role in preserving the real American hamburgers.

“Hamburgers are a very important part of the working class’s roots in the United States,” Motz told CNN. “In the industrial age, every factory worker was fed hamburgers.”

Anyone who has doubts about the well-worn appearance of a restaurant or how they cook their hamburgers may be skeptical, says Motz. Are open

“Some of them look smooth, some of them look old, some of them look tired, but they really need to be appreciated, which is the real American hamburger.”



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