When I grill burgers, I usually go the Ron Swanson route. As the legendary meat-lover once said when he served dinner, “It’s a hamburger made out of meat on a bun with nothing. Add ketchup if you want. I couldn’t care less.”
I am firmly anti-gimmick burger. A well-grilled patty on a soft bun is already a fine dish that needs little embellishment. So every time I see a new version with foie-gras filling or doughnut buns, I cringe.
But I will always hold a place in my heart for the slugburger. A Depression-era hack meant to stretch meager meat supplies, the recipe combines ground beef or pork with potato flour. While that might sound unappetizing, the result is a beautifully crispy-yet-juicy patty.
The slugburger is not alone. From a Prohibition-era speakeasy that still slings bitters-filled patties to a roadside stand that’s carrying on a century-old tradition of steaming burgers, American history is filled with unusual burgers born of unusual times.
Yes, an unadorned burger can be a beautiful thing. But for anyone looking to mix things up at their July Fourth barbecue, here are six unique burgers that come with flavor and history.