The Odd History Of The So-Called 'Luther Burger'

In 2006, the American animated satirical comedy "The Boondocks" aired an episode revolving around "soul food," which refers to the type of cuisine usually associated with African Americans in the Southern regions of the United States. While the concept of soul food in the episode was played for humor, revolving around the question of just how healthy this type of cooking is, one particular dish prepared by the character Robert Freeman was known as the "Luther Burger," a bacon cheeseburger with two Krispy Kreme donuts in place of buns.

Soul food, according to Kitchen United Mix, consists of foods like fried chicken, cornbread, black-eyed peas, fried fish, offal (like pig intestines), and macaroni and cheese. It wouldn't be too far off to think the Luther Burger is nothing more than a fictitious and satirical take on some of the usual fried and fatty foods that make up soul food cooking. Surprisingly, the Luther Burger does, indeed, exist. 

According to Snopes, the Luther Burger was supposedly invented by R&B singer and music producer Luther Vandross, who created the sandwich after running out of hamburger buns. While it is a popular theory, however, there are other supposed inventors of this cheesy, meaty, sugar-sweet burger that still have yet to be recognized for their creation.

Who is the true inventor of the Luther Burger?

The Luther Burger, being a bacon cheeseburger smashed between two fresh glazed donuts, had to come from the mind of someone. If it was not Luther Vandross who put donuts to beef, then who was it?

According to Eater, there was a popular claim that Paula Deen, well-known for her Southern-style cuisines, actually invented the Luther Burger — or at least a version of it. The burger in question is known as the "Lady's Brunch Burger," something Deen claimed to have "accidentally invented" in 2008. Yet, Eater also reports that the Luther Burger dates back to 2003, with Deen's own sons claiming in an interview with The Daily Meal that she based the burger on an already-existing item sold at a minor league baseball stadium in 2006. This places some doubt as to Deen's claim of stumbling upon the donut hamburger.

Another theory, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press, is that a bar in Georgia known as Mulligan's invented the sandwich after running out of hamburger buns, similar to the Vandross theory from earlier. While there are a few bars and roadhouses in Georgia under the name "Mulligan's," none seem to outwardly claim to be the inventor of the burger.

If you want to try and make the Luther Burger, alongside another dish from The Boondocks known as "Fried Chicken Lasagna," Binging with Babish offers a full step-by-step guide on how to do it.