A steak burger is a type of sandwich prepared using steak as a primary ingredient. In the United States, the first steak burger offered to consumers appears to have been invented in 1934. Beefsteak is typically used, although other meats can also be made into steak burgers. They may be prepared with various accompaniments and toppings, and several restaurant versions have existed in the past and continue to be prepared in contemporary times.
Use of the term "steakburger" dates to the 1920s in the United States. In the U.S. in 1934, A.H. "Gus" Belt, the founder of Steak 'n Shake, devised a steak burger and offered it to customers at the company's first location in Normal, Illinois. This steak burger used a combination of ground meat from the strip portion of T-bone steak and sirloin steak in its preparation. Steak burgers were a primary menu item at Steak 'n Shake restaurants, and the company's registered trademarks included "original steakburger" and "famous for steakburgers".
Beefsteak is typically used, although other meats such as lamb and pork may also be used. Ground, chopped, or minced steak is typically used in a steakburger. The steak meat may also be prepared using a food processor. In Australia a steak burger or steak sandwich always contains a whole steak fillet; ground meat would not be used. Steak burgers may be cooked to various temperatures, such as medium-rare. Some steak burgers are prepared using Angus beef.
Steak burgers may be served with standard hamburger toppings such as lettuce, onion, and tomato. Some may have additional various toppings such as cheese, bacon, fried egg, mushrooms, additional meats, and others.
Various fast food outlets and restaurants—such as Burger King, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Steak 'n Shake, Mr. Steak—, and Freddy's have offered steak burgers. In the U.S., some restaurants have offered gourmet steak burgers prepared from USDA prime-grade, aged beef. Additionally, many restaurants have used the term "steak burger" at various times.
Burger King introduced the Sirloin Steak sandwich in 1979 as part of a menu expansion that in turn was part of a corporate restructuring effort for the company. It was a single oblong patty made of chopped steak served on a sub-style, sesame seed roll. Additional steak burgers that Burger King has offered are the Angus Bacon Cheddar Ranch Steak Burger, the Angus Bacon & Cheese Steak Burger, and a limited edition Stuffed Steakhouse Burger.
In 2004 Steak 'n Shake sued Burger King over the latter's use of term Steak Burger in conjunction with one of its menu items, claiming that such use infringed on trademark rights. (According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Burger King's attorneys "grilled" Steak 'n Shake's CEO in court about the precise content of Steak 'n Shake's steakburger offering.)