Are you getting hungry by the mere sight of this burger? Well, it happens to some of us. The hamburger is by far, one of the most well-liked and beloved foods in our modern culture. The United States alone eats about 13 billion hamburgers a year and over the years, has become a universal staple amongst many. With its popularity, the sandwich has earned an annual holiday, with many celebrating National Hamburger Month throughout the month of May while some say commercially, May 28th is National Hamburger Day. It might sound like a joke at first but thanks to the status of it, the affordability, the ease of cooking and the fact that it’s fun to eat, the hamburger is worthy of a month in its honour!
A hamburger, or known simply as a “burger” for short is a sandwich consisting of a cooked beef meat patty placed into a sliced bread roll. Hamburgers are often served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese and condiments but over the years, the basic hamburger has attained widespread admiration and many have experimented with the norm and created gourmet burgers of sorts.
The term hamburger, derives from Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city from where many emigrated to America and though hamburgers were invented overseas, the concept of placing meat in a bun came from the good old USA. Hamburgers have become one of America’s essential foods and nothing seems more American than a big, juicy hamburger though many associate the term “burger” with many different types of sandwiches similar to a hamburger with other meats such as turkey, salmon, chicken, etc and to accomodate the vegetarians or vegans out there, veggie burgers which are made usually of lentils or soy.
To celebrate National Hamburger Month and Day, many enjoy hosting a backyard barbeque party with family and friends while grilling up different varieties of burgers but some also enjoy ordering from their favourite dine-in restaurants.
Now, I’m a meat and potatoes kind of gal. I would be quite content in life if I was provided with an endless supply of good burgers, French fries, a drink and good conversation with friends but c’est la vie! An endless supply would seem to be the unhealthiest thing to ever wish for but, hamburgers are great and fun food. I’ve had my share of burgers over the years, discovering new places and styles and they always spark my interest. I’m not quite sure why, but I think it’s because they’re a great symbol of Americana and represent a wholesomeness.
In honour of this day, I wanted to share a few of my favourite establishments that I would highly recommend. The beauty of finding a burger joint is basically, roadtripping. On most of my travels, finding a new burger joint is like finding gold and it's all good fun because traveling and trying out something new should definitely be added to anyone's list.
Here are some of my personal favourites that you should definitely check out, if not already:
Steak 'N Shake
Widely known for their Steakburgers, a trademarked term for their hamburgers, Steak ‘N Shake was founded in 1934 by Gus Belt in Normal, Illinois. Their Steakburgers see fit from Belt’s practice of grinding round, sirloin and T-bone steaks into burgers all while in full view of customers. The company stands by their burgers as they are made from the finest of steaks and they taste exceptionally yummy along with their thin ‘n crispy fries! With locations predominately in the midwest, Steak ‘N Shake has over 300 restaurants in over 17 states now. Their diner feel is comforting and fun, reminding customers of a much more simpler time. The restaurant is also known popularly for their various milkshakes, which are always a nice refreshing side to any burger! On my visit to Chicago last year, I was enamoured by Steak ‘N Shake. Their burgers were not just amazing through every bite but they have this engaging simplicity to them; my first time was with an Original Steakburger which left me happy. I don’t like when my meals are overpowering with toppings but theirs was just right.
A&W has always been a favourite burger joint of mine, since I was a kid. Originally part of the American A&W chain, it was sold to Unilever in 1972 and then bought out by management in 1995. There is no longer any connection from the Canadian franchise to the American A&W locations and is presently owned and operated by A&W Food Services of Canada Inc., based in British Columbia with over 700 locations across Canada which are nothing short of cute and have that old-time feel to them. However, A&W is all over the world and their menus vary across locations much like the global diversity of McDonald's. As for the Canadian A&W, their burgers have an amazing aroma, are very delicious and juicy; topped with ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles with light mayonnaise. The burgers at A&W are part of a burger family where customers can buy a Mama, Papa, Grandpa, Teen and Baby burger all with different toppings, appealing to a specific crowd and tastebud. The family has grown over the years; an Uncle burger, consisting of a sirloin beef patty topped with pickles and red onions was introduced a short while ago while the Grandma burger released this past year which is a prime rib beef burger with sautéed onions and mayo all on a fluffy bun. The restaurant also has a Mozza burger which is a beef patty with mozzarella along with their own versions of a chicken burger and a veggie burger.
Hero Certified Burgers
Hero Certified Burgers are just that – heroic! They’re big burgers and you don’t need to be dressed in a cape and tights to eat at this restaurant. They are the first Canadian franchise to offer 100% Heritage Angus Beef produced by a small group of ranchers in Western Canada. Besides their burgers being utterly juicy and have that fresh-off-the-grill taste, one of my favourite things about their burgers is that they contain no additives or preservatives and the meat is free of growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics and raised free range. Like the model used by Subway, you can dress your burger from a long list of condiments and toppings and not pick from the generic sort of toppings most joints carry; instead of iceberg lettuce you can pick spring mix or red onions over white onions – little perks like that that go beyond the average joint like exclusives such as zucchini relish or Portobello mushrooms and roasted peppers, seven different cheeses which make the experience all the most gourmet in a sense.
Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream
Personally, I have never been here but have heard great things about this place. Plus, watching Adam Richman tackling the Big Ugly Burger on Travel Channel’s Man v Food has tempted to me to visit such an establishment. Located in downtown Carmel, Indiana, just a half hour away from Indianapolis, Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream was established in May 2003. Their burgers are made from fresh, hand-pattied ground beef and their buns are custom made to fit their burgers perfectly, baked fresh at the local bakery. They serve a simple menu but make sure that all the ingredients and products are the best tasting and highest in quality they can find. Their Big Ugly Burger is an attraction; pre-cooked, it’s 22 ounces and after cooking, is one pound of ground beef served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and a pickle on the side. If you eat the whole burger in the designated time, you get your picture on the wall in their “hall of fame” of sorts! They also serve elk meat which is low in fat, calories and cholesterol but high in protein. Definitely a place to check out because, as far as reviews go from customers and fans, ugly never looked so good!
There are so many commercial burger chains and small-town diners that become a staple to many like McDonald’s and Wendy’s or Five Guys Burgers and Fries but whatever way you eat them or where, a burger is a burger! During the month of May, celebrate the diversity of hamburgers with your family and friends no matter where you eat them or if you decide to grill some up on your barbeque but be sure to pair it up with a cold, delicious soda or pop (whichever you prefer to call it), milkshake or beer and celebrate the beauty that is the hamburger.
With so many burgers from various restaurants and a plethora of toppings to choose from, which is your favourite burger joint? Be sure to vote in the poll and comment below with what your favourites from their menus are and recommend!
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