The original Strammer Max is a slice of bread, sometimes fried in butter, covered with ham and fried egg. The ham may also be pan-fried; it is also possible to replace the ham with a slice of roast beef, in which case the dish is sometimes called Strammer Otto. Cheese and tomato are sometimes used, but these are later additions to the original recipe.
Outside of the Berlin region, the term is also used for several other dishes. Regional variations of the term are not set in stone, and it is not always possible to tell in advance what dish will be served after ordering Strammer Max in a restaurant.