It’s time to talk burgers.
These American sandwiches of ground meat and bread have been the stuff of legend and controversy since they were invented in 1900 at Louis Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut. That day, at his small lunch counter, Louis Lassen slapped some ground meet trimmings in his cast-iron grill and put the cooked patty in between two slices of white bread to please a hurried patron. Since then, burgers have gone high-brow, low-brow, and every way in between.
There are many ways to cook and eat burgers, and the only wrong way to do it is simply not to do it at all. These are some of the tastiest regional ways to enjoy burgers:
The Juicy Lucy: A Minnesota specialty, these burgers are filled with a pocket of cheese that oozes out in a molten dairy explosion as the burger is bitten. A variation, the Saucy Sally, stuffs the burger with secret sauce (a variation on Thousand Island dressing).
The steamed burger: A specialty of mid-Connecticut, these burgers are steamed in a specially made cabinet, along with what turns into a flowing river of steamed cheese.
The butter burger: This patty, popular in Wisconsin, uses butter not only as its cooking lubricant, but also as a condiment served atop the patty along with standard toppings like cheese, pickles, and vegetables.
The fancy schmancy burger: These burgers became prominent in the early 2000s, with chefs like Daniel Boulud and Hubert Keller putting luxury items like Kobe beef and truffles in their burgers, calling upon house-baked buns and specialized sauces. Today, the Fleur burger at Keller’s Fleur clocks in at $5,000, complete with a foie gras topping and a bottle of 1990 Chateau Petrus.
The slider: A tiny burger, usually that comes in packs of four or more. These burgers were popularized by chains like White Castle in the Northeast, where burgers come 10 to a bag and are steamed with onions on the patty.