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Food - Drink
The Storied History Of Steamed Cheeseburgers In Connecticut
From food tastes to baseball team allegiance, there’s a significant cultural difference between east and west Connecticut, but that’s not to say the state lacks its own core identity. In fact, there’s something so distinctly Connecticut that it stands well apart from the greater cultural influences of New York and New England: steamed cheeseburgers.
Connecticut has been slinging steamed cheeseburgers since the 1890s, and while they were originally invented in Middletown, Meriden helped popularize the dish. During the Great Depression, steamed rolls with cheese were a popular, filling meal. After the Depression, people requested to add ground beef, leading to steamed hamburgers or “hamburgs” as the locals say.
The steamed burger is made in a steam box, resembling a small, stainless steel sauna, with the seasoned meat steamed for about 10 minutes and then placed on a bun and slathered with gooey, steamed cheddar cheese. When cooked right, the burger comes out moist and juicy without any char or grease, leading fans to claim steamed burgers are a healthier alternative.