8 Things You Didn't Know About Hamburgers

8 Things You Didn't Know About Hamburgers
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8 Things You Didn't Know About Hamburgers

The hamburger is a staple in American cuisine. Read on to discover who invented it and more fun facts.

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How far back in history does the hamburger go?

The hamburger evolved from a long lineage of meat patty predecessors, going as far back as the times of Mongol emperor Genghis Khan. Khan’s horsemen would store flat patties made from meat scraps underneath their saddles, and after a day of battle the patty would be tenderized and ready to be eaten raw.

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Who invented the hamburger?

There are competing claims for the creation the first hamburger, but the debate also lies in whether or not sandwiching a meat patty between two slices of toasted bread counts. The first hamburger on a bun could be attributed to Oscar Weber Bilby from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who served grilled Angus meat patties on homemade yeast buns at his Fourth of July cookout in the summer of 1891.

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Others argue that serving hamburgers at a private party is like a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it. For these historians, the story of the hamburger starts with the establishment of White Castle, the first hamburger chain, by Billy Ingram and short-order cook Walt Anderson in 1916.

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White Castle's Custom Spatula

Ingram developed a White Castle custom creation, a spatula made from saw-blade steel perfect for flattening patties, which is currently housed in a temperature-proof glass case at the Ohio State Historical Society.

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How did McDonald’s start?

Brothers Dick and Mac McDonald originally ran a struggling movie theater, then opened a hot dog stand in Pasadena, California, called the Airdrome, moved operations to San Bernardino in 1940 to become a full-fledged restaurant that sold hot dogs, hamburgers and barbeque called McDonald’s Barbeque and finally reinvented the restaurant in 1948 to become the fast-food burger joint McDonald’s.

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How long does it take to make a Big Mac?

It takes approximately 15 seconds to assemble a Big Mac. Don't believe us? You can watch the YouTube video here.

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Remember Liberty Fries?

When World War I broke out, a hamburger was referred to as a “liberty sandwich” to erase its German roots.

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What's in a Vegetarian Burger?

The patty of a vegetarian hamburger usually contains a vegetable protein like soy, other vegetables especially legumes such as chickpeas and beans, grains, seeds, nuts and spices.

What makes a veggie patty taste so meaty? A more processed soy protein leads to a chewy, meat-like texture, and flavor agents like vegetable oil imitate the "mouthfeel" of beef fat.

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Now, try these great burger recipes!

All American Steak Burger

This all-American steak burger recipe is perfect for the Fourth of July!

Get the Recipe: All American Steak Burger

Cilantro Avocado Mediterranean Burgers

The lush, buttery texture and slightly nutty flavor of avocado contrasts nicely with the pungent cilantro and tangy lime juice in the sauce topping these burgers.

Get the Recipe: Cilantro Avocado Mediterranean Burgers

Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers

These meat-free burgers are filling and hearty enough to satisfy a serious hunger craving.

Get the Recipe: Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers

The Classic Hickory Smoked Barbecue Burger

Try this tasty burger from barbecue-guru Myron Mixon.

Get the Recipe: The Classic Hickory Smoked Barbecue Burger


Hamburgers are a staple of the American diet. We love our burgers so much that we consume about 48 billion every year, which averages out to about three hamburgers per week per person. While the origins of the burger are murky, the invention of the beef patty on a bun is an American innovation - one that has led to the growth of a multi-billion dollar industry and the globalization of this American iconic eat.

Check out the slideshow above to discover the hamburger's history and more fun facts.

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