Turns out Arizona may offer the best bargains for home barbecuers.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated July 04, 2019
Credit: Claudia Totir/Getty Images

Today (which is Independence Day in case you found this article via a Google search in October) is one of the biggest barbecue days of the year. You knew that. But what you might not have thought about is how much the cost of all those burgers can change based on what part of the United States you’re celebrating our independence in. Turns out the price of a simple hamburger can vary by nearly 60 cents according to a new study.

The team over at Simple. Thrifty. Living. — a site that likes showing people how to save money almost as much as they like periods — broke down the average cost of a hamburger in every state in the union. “We gathered local prices from national or regional retailers to find the average cost of each ingredient necessary for a standard, home-cooked hamburger,” the site explains. “This includes price data for 85-percent lean/15-percent fat ground beef, Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard, a sweet onion, hamburger buns, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, a tomato, pickles, and lettuce. We calculated the price for each ingredient in the quantity required for one burger, then summed these costs to find the overall cost of one burger.” Specifically, to keep things fair across the board, all the prices were culled from Walmart — and each state included prices from up to 10 zip codes in a mix of urban and rural areas.

Credit: Simple. Thrifty. Living.

In the end, Arizona came out as the best state for grillers. The research says you can make a burger in the desert for just $2.16. Meanwhile, as should probably be expected, Hawaii was the most expensive state: A hamburger on the island came to an average of $2.75. Overall, your five cheapest states are Arizona, Maryland ($2.18), Delaware ($2.18), Pennsylvania ($2.21), and Idaho ($2.23). The five most expensive states were Hawaii, Minnesota ($2.74), Alaska ($2.71), South Dakota ($2.66), and Ohio ($2.60).

Credit: Simple. Thrifty. Living.

“We also noticed some notable regional trends in our data,” Simple. Thrifty. Living. added. “Apparently, the Midwest isn’t the best place to be if you want to make a cheap hamburger. On average a burger will cost you $2.46 in this region, which is higher than what it would cost in the West ($2.39), Northeast ($2.36), or South ($2.32). In fact, six of the top 10 priciest states for a burger are located in the Midwest.” Yup, turns out Nebraska isn’t the utopia you thought it was! (Just kidding, Nebraska. This is your holiday too!)