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Ted's Steamed Cheeseburgers — Meriden CT

Ted's Steamed Cheeseburgers — Meriden CT
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  • Ted's Steamed Cheeseburgers — Meriden CT

    Post #1 - September 26th, 2009, 5:10 pm
    Post #1 - September 26th, 2009, 5:10 pm Post #1 - September 26th, 2009, 5:10 pm
    Of all the regional burger variants the steamed cheeseburger of Central Connecticut might be the oddest. These are not griddle-steamed like White Castle's but are cooked by vapor alone in specially constructed steam chambers.

    Meriden, midway between Hartford and New Haven, is in the heart of steamed cheeseburger territory and Ted's, in business for 50 years, is the town's best known vendor. It's a small place, maybe a few dozen seats, but really packs them in at lunchtime.


    It's fascinating watching the burger-making process; I've never seen anything like it. The cook places scoops of ground beef into small rectangular cooking trays and presses the meat in place. The trays are then transferred to a steam cabinet (visible at left).


    Blocks of white cheddar are similarly treated and the cheese trays go into their own smaller steamer.


    When the burger is cooked, most of the accumulated juices are poured off and the meatbrick is placed on a waiting bun. The melted cheese is scraped from the tub to the top of the burger.


    It's an imposing burger, no doubt about it. I was pretty skeptical about the whole steam cooking procedure and usually don't care for that much cheese so I didn't have the highest expectations. By the way, those hashbrowns cooking in the background looked spectacular. I wish I had ordered some.


    Somehow things work together to yield a pretty satisfying burger. The patty is a bit dry, having had its precious juices steamed out, but that's compensated for by the gobs of cheese, tending toward bland but with a bit of tang. Nice fresh garnishes help too. I'd be willing to bet most steamed cheeseburgers aren't as good as Ted's.

    1044 Broad St
    Meriden CT
  • Post #2 - September 26th, 2009, 10:22 pm
    Post #2 - September 26th, 2009, 10:22 pm Post #2 - September 26th, 2009, 10:22 pm
    Superintendent Chalmers: I thought we were having steamed clams.
    Seymour Skinner: Oh, no, I said steamed hams. That’s what I call hamburgers.
    Chalmers: You call hamburgers steamed hams?
    Skinner: Yes, it’s a regional dialect.
    Chalmers: Uh-huh. What region?
    Skinner: Uhh… Upstate New York.
    Chalmers: Really? Well, I’m from Utica, and I’ve never heard anyone use the phrase ’steamed hams.’
    Skinner: Oh, not in Utica. No, it’s an Albany expression.
    Chalmers: I see.

    [Chalmers bites into a steamed ham.]

    Chalmers: You know, these hamburgers are quite similar to the ones they have at Krusty Burger.
    Skinner: Oh ho ho, no. Patented Skinner burgers. Old family recipe.
    Chalmers: For steamed hams…
    Skinner: Yes…
    Chalmers: Yes, and you call them steamed hams despite the fact that they are obviously grilled.


    Looks great, Rene. Thanks for the post!
  • Post #3 - October 10th, 2009, 6:49 am
    Post #3 - October 10th, 2009, 6:49 am Post #3 - October 10th, 2009, 6:49 am
    My girlfriend's family is from Meriden. We used to live together in Chicago but grad school got in the way so now I'm in Minneapolis and she's back in Connecticut living with the folks. She'd never been to Ted's in her life so we went a few months back.

    Truly, it's a novelty. It's a historical point of interest. The burgers had a nice beefy flavor. And the cheese was overflowing. But really, it's nothing special.

    Now, if you want a tasty burger with, again, an unusual approach to the cheese, I'd recommend spot in CT as an alternative choice:

    Shady Glen in Manchester, Connecticut

    Shady Glen
    840 East Middle Turnpike
    Manchester CT 06040
    Homer: Oh, God, why do you mock me?

    Marge: Homer, that's not God. That's a waffle that Bart threw on the ceiling.

    Homer [contemplatively, to waffle]: I know I should not eat thee, but...[takes bite]
    ...Mmmmmm. Sacra-licious.