What's a Slugburger?

Photo by: Kristie Denton
Also called doughburgers, breadburgers, and dudie burgers in regions of northwest Alabama and western Tennessee, where the sandwich is also popular, the slugburger came about during the Great Depression when meat was still considered a luxury item. Inexpensive pantry ingredients like soy grits, cornmeal, potato starch, or flour, often called extenders, were mixed into ground pork or beef to stretch the meal a little further. Shaped and flattened into thin patties, fried, and served topped with pickles, mustard, and onions on a soft bun, the burger could be yours by slapping a nickel down on a restaurant counter, then colloquially called a "slug."

The slugburger, like most great inventions, is a regional southern delicacy born from Depression-era necessity, but eat assured--it's free from garden-crawlers. Corinth, Mississippi, about 100 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, celebrates the curiously-named sandwich beginning July 11 at the 26th Annual Slugburger Festival. Local pride for the slugburger is fervent, and for good reason: chances are, you've never seen a burger quite like this. --Sarah McColl, Shine staff