Fifty billion. That’s how many burgers Americans eat every year. That’s three burgers for every American every week. Whoa! We sure do like our burgers, and not just the predictable ones.
These days Americans are redefining our most iconic dish. I know this because I spent most of last year eating burgers across the land while working on “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers” (available on April 1, 2014.)
In New York City I had “gourmet” burgers with all the trappings of a decadent steak, like black truffles and béarnaise sauce. In Boston I had fish burgers with tartar sauce. I found smoked chicken burgers in Atlanta. There were bison burgers in Denver and vegetarian burgers in Los Angeles.
Everywhere I went, in big cities and little towns, it was burger, burgers, burgers—of all styles and loose interpretations. Which got me thinking, what is a burger anyway?
I’m not convinced there really is a strict definition. Even hamburger purists disagree about which types of meat and buns qualify. Early versions of the “hamburg sandwich” actually used thinly sliced bread, so a burger has been a loose-goosey, ever-evolving idea since the beginning.
The picture above was taken at a café on Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay, while my son and I were doing a little research for the new book. We had heard that the café served an awesome cheeseburger, so we felt compelled to hop on a ferry and try it out.
The truth is, the burgers were not great, so I didn't include them in the book. What I did include are 160+ recipes for fantastic burgers and all the other things we associate with classic backyard fare, like hot dogs, sausages, brats, plus a lot of side dishes and drinks. Believe me, this book is big, juicy, and delicious from cover to cover.